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A timely spring romance

Caitlin E. Dorsey
04.14.03-Sunset Park-BROOKLYN, NY

Monday, 4/14/03.
A timely spring romance
It was a Health PlusT Easter Celebration at the community health center in which I work. The good people of Health PlusT (a managed care corporation) had sent a man in a chicken suit to rile up the kidyels in the waiting rooms.

My own relished task from the hours of 11:00 to 1:00 this day was to take polaroid photos of the kids with the chicken and hand the pictures out with freebies,

at my own personal discretion. The little ones got crayons. Those I liked got flashy blinking light trinkets. The pushy kids got plastic pouches for their photos. For my own excellent behavior, I awarded myself ten Health PlusT pens. It was a nice break from the norm, and a beautiful day. I was looking and feeling aiight, debuting a brand new shirt.

I didn’t get a chance to see the man behind the mask before the event began. My chicken was tall and lean with a discernible Brooklyn accent. As a big yellow chicken, he was outstanding. The kids followed him like an avian messiah. He bent over and stretched his wing around a squirmy six year old for a photo op. After the photo, the humorous fellow remained in the bent over, outstretched pose for a full 30 seconds afterward. The chicken sat on peoples’ laps. He chased them through rows of chairs. He did the chicken dance and backed his ass into the crazed children.

I bit my lower lip with desire.

During a lull, we got to chatting. Apparently, the facilitated enroller employs this man pretty much full time to do mascot work throughout the five boroughs of NYC. His large, saucerlike eyes belied no reaction or emotion and this, too, was intriguing.

Things began to heat up as his chicken claw came undone and I reattached the Velcro® with a stapler. A little later, I bent down to pull his red knee sock up, as it had fallen to expose a heart-stopping length of calf. A few times, we managed some meaningful eye contact through the slits on either side of his beak.

Towards the end of our time together, we took a photo of ourselves. Blushingly, I commented on how much hair I had. “What are you talking about?” he said in the manner of speaking which denotes an unspoken “Your hair is lovely.” The chicken and I took turns gazing at the photograph.

How nice, I thought, it will be to show our future chicken children this polaroid of the spring day on which we met.

At 1:00, his red rubber glove shook my hand and he went to change out of the suit in the bathroom. “I’ll see you again before I leave,” he said.

I could hardly wait to see the chicken man in person. I scurried to the employee bathroom to check out the state of my lip gloss.

Then, I hovered around the medical assistant station to catch him before he left. The door opened…

Eh, it was some skinny, red haired, middle-aged guy. What was I expecting? The guy does freelance clown and chicken work. I shook his hand with a hearty, professional, people-skills grin on my face.
“Take care.”

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