I’d never seen a country come together to view the wild joy of a strange chicken that liked sitting in shoes, not until last night. Kind of. Is a chicken’s impact on the world any less if that chicken only ever existed in the dreams of a weird English teacher in the Southwest United States? No, of course not. She still changed the world. The world just doesn’t know it yet. I will be the one to tell the story of Chorzo the Chicken even as it fades from my memory.
Our story begins during a storm for Chorzo was born of chaos and vigorous life. There was a beach house resting just out of reach from the tide. The house was of an indiscriminate size and was also maybe a little blurry. However, it is not the house nor the difficulty I’m having remembering what it looked like that makes this story one that should be passed down for millennia.
In a large, humid room facing the beach, a small gathering of bored-looking people sat. The room was lined with windows, so the early evening sun cast a dull gray glow on everyone present. I was sitting on the floor holding a shoe. The shoe was about the size of a watermelon and looked like one of my old running shoes back when I was optimistic about how motivated I was to work out. Lounging around the room were other people I knew to be “members of the community.
Most of them were sitting on chairs that had been flipped around with their legs around the back like they were each about to have a “real” conversation with some students that weren’t taking their unorthodox educational methods seriously. Standing in the corner of the room was a strange man with features that are as difficult to recall as the exact proportions of the house. I remember he was wearing a yellow raincoat and had a big poofy beard. Imagine Santa Claus lost at sea for a few years.
My peers in the room, from the chatting members of the community to wayward Santa, all were nervously looking out to sea. They were expecting something. I was still holding the big shoe. The next thing I remember was a sense of suffocating dread, like my brain had been convinced the air was going to catch fire. I remember feeling myself waking up because my brain wanted to get out of this suddenly-ominous beach house and get back to my cozy bed and angry chubby cat. But I did not wake. Instead, the shoe began to move, and from its pungent depths something was coming. The shoe trembled, the air grew still, and everyone in the room continued to look outside, completely oblivious to the developing shoe situation.
Then I saw it, or rather, I saw her. I don’t know if the shoe had internal lighting or if the proper chemical requirements had been met to irradiate the air to the point that the shoe seemed to glow with a warm yellow light. This light only lasted as long as it took for it to be blocked by a strange, possibly fluffy form filling the entrance to the shoe. It looked… like a happy basketball.
Her name was Chorzo, and she was a fat chicken shaped like a ball, sitting comfortably on her big shoe in the middle of a room that still had mostly not seen her. I remember being utterly awestruck the way you are in dreams when you realize you have magic powers or that attractive people are attracted to you too. I don’t remember anything about her appearance other than her entire chicken anatomy being compressed so that the only part of her that stuck out from the sphere of her body was her little chicken beak, her quick chicken feet, and her totally useless chicken wings.
For the moment, Chorzo was only with me. The rest of the room had not noticed her. She would change that with a performance that would bring the world to its knees.
The happy ball of chicken hopped out of her shoe, made a light chirping sound from her barely-parted beak, and began frantically running in circles in the center of the room. Every couple of steps, she’d fall and roll and yell angry chirps until she could get back in her blurry little legs.
On hearing her, the members of the community turned and saw Chorzo at work. She would break from her circle only to run under a chair or between someone’s legs. Someone started clapping in rhythm to Chorzo’s joyful chirps, but the atmosphere of innocent joy was not to last. The old sailor had a dark look on his face whenever Chorzo came near. He never moved, but somehow we were suddenly sitting next to each other at a dilapidated card table in the corner of the room. He was rubbing the rotten green velvet top of the table and staring at Chorzo running through the room. Somehow, the crowd watching her had grown significantly.
I remember the old sailor saying without preamble “Ay, it’s as the prophecy said,” and then he was outside on a boat slowly sailing out to sea, and I could hear him muttering “the prophecy” even though I was still inside and back on the floor with Chorzo.
A camera crew came to the house to film Chorzo at work. They caught footage of her running between legs and rolling back into her shoe. They said she’d be famous, the most famous chicken in the world.
Millions of people were in the room watching Chorzo. The crowd extended miles in every direction, and the walls of the room were distant concepts. Wars stumbled to a halt to watch Chorzo rolling out of her shoe. Strife and pain and disease and hunger all were lost as everyone in the world provided what everyone else needed so nobody would ever be away from Chorzo for long.
I was still on the floor holding the shoe. I had been for years.
Chorzo was making her rounds in the throng of eager feet when she stopped. The only time she had ever stopped moving was to sit in her shoe and accept offerings of bread and corn. Now, she stopped between the feet of some poor child who didn’t know their world was about to fall to pieces.
Chorzo coughed once, a weak, hoarse chicken cough sounding like air blowing through a brown paper bag.
She looked up at the rapt faces of her zealous fans, turned away from them, walked back to her shoe, lifted one leg in, then the other, sat down, ruffled her feathers a bit, and died.
I woke up as the world descended into grief-stricken madness.
What Chorzo’s story means, we can never know. The only thing it tells us for sure is this: it’s probably ok to cry a bit over a chicken you dreamed about if that chicken was cute enough.