The Mechanically Separated Chicken of the Woods
In the Norwegian Sea, there is the Kraken.
In Scotland, there is Nessie.
There is the Yeti in the Himalayas, and the Chupacabra of Latin America.
And Sister Madly: Chicken of the Woods, Northern Michigan.
Bing unnamed search engine. Thanks a heap.
As for just how long she had been a legend, she could not say, but Sister Madly is reasonably certain that it resulted from her less-than stellar camping skills. The locals, no doubt, speak of her cheerful disregard for historical relics and her pathological fascination for grilled cheese; of her ritual spaz-dancing and lamentations over long-lost fireflies. The sighting of this delinquent chicken can be confirmed by a Park Ranger, one whose liquid bronzer left him the color of a highway cone. He should be easy to find.
Why this case of the grumpies, Sister Madly? You’re a legend now, or on your way to be. You’re the Chicken of the Woods. It was one thing when you were just kindhearted, unfussy, angelic Sister Madly, but now that you are listed in the books of Northern Michigan Folklore, surely you must behave as such. You must give sightings. You must leave tracks. But most importantly: you must be featured in photos- but only as a vague figure, mind you- which experts will label as inconclusive evidence.
Because there are always experts when it comes to legends.
Now, Sister Madly is well-aware that Chicken of the Woods is a mushroom, even as
Bing unnamed search engine is not. To be fair, Sister Madly is not the first result to pop up under this search- she doesn’t appear for 8 pages, in fact (yeah, she checked.) Still, there is an insult in there somewhere, she’s certain of it, and one simply does not make fun of Sister Madly.
Sister Madly makes fun of you.*
*It was worth a shot.*
And so the Chicken of the Woods, sulking at this new development thus full of snark, accompanied Tallulah to the market to fulfill the mission of making Mr. Tallulah his requested bologna and cheese sandwich- yes, Sister Madly just outed her brother-in-law as a man with nostalgic tastes.
Some say that the best way to cheer yourself up is to do something for someone else. So she decided give a recitation for the shoppers in the deli, one featuring the ingredients of that delicacy, bologna.
Mechanically Separated Chicken…
There is something poetic in those words, for it conjured up the vision of a steampunked, bionic bird on the open range. But this also conjures up questions, for if a Mechanically Separated Chicken is, indeed, a steampunked, bionic bird, then bologna is not a package of meat but one of limited edition commemorative coins, which smell. Who wants Mechanically Separated Chicken breath fogging up their car windows on a cold winter morning?
Sensing the unspoken demand for an encore, she moved on to give a moving performance with her ode to authentic American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food.* Akin to a sheet of rubber, it will seal the hull of a ship if properly melted down- the tragedy of the Titanic could have been averted had it contained an 8 inch chunk of sun and a pound of American Cheese. Or a few extra lifeboats.
*Authenticity Test: unwrap a slice of cheese and throw it at the ceiling. If it sticks, it is authentic. This was a favorite pastime of Sister Madly’s as a child.
She was soon shushed up by Tallulah, who wanted to purchase a bottle of wine without the clerk denying her this luxury, and seem to think that reciting the ingredients of artificial food products to the shoppers would prove inebriation. Alcohol would be required of her to assemble this Mechanically Separated Chicken and American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food sandwich, her first since childhood. It was a task not included in her wedding vows, but she did it anyway.
That is True Love.
But who needs True Love when you’re the Chicken of the Woods?