Sunday, January 31, 2021

Bobbo: Chicken and Waffles

“I can’t believe we are going to eat here again,” Brooke said as she, Bobbo, Max, and Shala approached Nanny’s Chicken Shack. “It’s only been a week.”

“I ate here two days ago. And the day before that. And two days before that,” Max said, walking quicker than the others, excited to get to the restaurant. “It’s the best fried chicken in town. And I could eat waffles every day.”

“It almost sounds like you do,” Bobbo said.

They arrived at Nanny’s and Max pulled on the door. It didn’t open. “What’s going on? They are usually open now.”

“There’s a sign on the door. The health department shut them down,” Shala read.

“What? No!”

There was a figure moving inside the building. Max began pounding on the door. The figure, a large black man who was the Nanny of Nanny’s, nodded his head and walked to the door. “Hey, there, Max. Good to see you. I’m closed today and until further notice. Sorry.”

“But why? I don’t care about a couple of cockroaches or that layer of grease that seems to be on everything,” Max said.

Nanny laughed. “No, it wasn’t because of that. I run a mostly clean establishment. It’s my chicken provider. The health department found some shady stuff on his farm and shut us down until we can find a new chicken supplier. Darn shame, too. That was the best chicken I’ve ever cooked.”

“It really was. Well, I’ll still support you. I’m gonna wait right out here in protest until you reopen,” Max said.

“You don’t have to do that. I just have to throw out the chicken from my old supplier and find a new one. I’ll be back open in a week,” Nanny chuckled.

“I’m gonna run home and make a sign. ‘Chicken here! Chicken now!’ I’ll be right back,” Max ran off the way they came, back toward his house.

“Where did you get your chicken from?” Shala asked Nanny.

“I’ve been using them for years. Funkhouser Farm. At the end of Old Missile Base Road.”

“I know where that is. Were you told why you had to stop using their chicken?” she continued questioning.

“Nope. Just said I had to stop using it. It’s all I had so I had to close,” Nanny shrugged. “I have to finish cleaning up. See you, kids.”

“I wonder what happened,” Shala crossed her arms and tapped her foot. “We should go check it out.”

“What? Why?” Brooke asked.

“To see what happened at the farm. I think the customers of this establishment have a right to know what’s wrong with the chicken we’ve been eating,” Shala said.

“I’m sure they would tell us if the chicken was going to make us sick or kill us,” Brooke said.

“I still think we could check it out.”

“I’m game. I’ve always wanted to see a chicken farm,” Bobbo said.

“I don’t know why I came with you,” Brooke huffed as the three of them walked up the road toward the Funkhouser chicken farm.

It was a normal looking farm. There was a small house and a decent-sized chicken coop. Behind the house was a large barn and silo. A large shed was just to the east near the tree line where the property separated between the farm and the old missile base used during the Cold War.

“Is it me or does the grass seem tall?” Bobbo asked.

“It does look that way. Maybe the place went out of business and is abandoned,” Brooke posited.

“That doesn’t require the health department to shut down a restaurant,” Shala said. “Something else is going on here. Let’s check the chicken coops.”

The three of them went over to the chicken coop near the house. The door was open and it was empty. “There are no chickens in here. Where’s that clucking coming from?” Bobbo asked. There had been a light clucking since arriving at the farm but they had yet to see a chicken.

“It’s like we’re hearing the ghosts of the chickens,” Shala whispered.

“Yes. Thank you for that imagery as we wander alone and unprotected on an abandoned farm far from witnesses,” Brooke whispered back.

Back at Nanny’s, Max walked back and forth in front of the restaurant thrusting a sign in the air that read ‘Chicken here! Chicken now!’ on one side and ‘Stand with Nanny!’ on the other. “Health department unfair! Nanny should be in there! Serving us food! He’s a good dude!” Max chanted repeatedly. A few people stopped to watch but most just walked on by after reading the sign.

“What are you protesting? Does this place exploit immigrants?” a man looked at Max’s sign and then through the window of Nanny’s.

“I’m not protesting. I’m standing with Nanny’s after he was shut down by the health department,” Max said.

“Shut down? What was he doing in there?” the man lowered his voice. “Was it abortions?”

“What? No!”

“Then why was he shut down?”

“His chicken supplier had to close so he has to close until he gets a new supplier.”

“Then why hang out here? Just go home and come back in, like, a week.”

“Why don’t you just go home and come back in, like, a week?” Max mocked.

The man shrugged. “Okay,” and walked off.

“Should we go in the barn?” Shala asked.

“It was your idea to come out here and you’re worried about going into the barn?” Brooke asked.

“Maybe that clucking noise is coming from the barn,” Bobbo began walking to the barn. “What if all the chickens are just in the barn? Maybe Farmer Funkhouser is in there and we can ask him about why Nanny can’t use his chicken anymore.”

The three walked to the barn and Bobbo pulled the door open. “It seems…empty,” Shala said. She walked in and looked around. “The clucking is louder in here so this must be where all the chickens are.”

The three of them went further into the barn. Brooke peered into one of the stalls. “Hey, guys? What does a chicken look like?”

“Are you being serious? You know what a chicken looks like,” Bobbo said.

“Yeah, so this guy is clearly not a chicken,” Brooke backed away from the stall as a human figure stood up.

It was clearly a man wearing jeans and overalls. His skin had peels and boils on it and was a brighter pink. Hair was falling off of his body and he carried a pitchfork. Some teeth were missing and there seemed to be some kind of glow around his body.

“Is…Is that a chicken growing out of his head?” Bobbo asked, pointing to a small chicken head growing out of the left side of the top of his head.

“Farmer Funkhouser?” Shala asked but she got no answer.

The farmer stabbed his pitchfork toward the kids who easily dodged it and began to run away. When they left the barn, dozens of chickens, similar in look to the farmer were outside. The clucking was practically deafening.

“I guess we found out what’s wrong with the chickens,” Bobbo said.

“But what happened to them?” Brooke asked. “What happened here?”

“Two years ago,” Farmer Funkhouser croaked as he stood behind the three kids. “The government began using the missile base next to my farm to dump toxic waste. It has seeped into the ground and water. Over the last two years, we’ve been changing here and soon, we will change everyone. Those people from the health department were able to escape but you won’t.”

Farmer Funkhouser and the chickens lunged at the kids who all dodged as best they could to avoid the attack. “So, the health department saw what was going on and just left? Mutated zombified chickens have taken over this farm and they just went ‘Well, that was terrible’ and stapled a warning to the gate?” Shala yelled.

Bobbo shook his head. “Government, man.”

Farmer Funkhouser and most of the chickens went after Bobbo and Shala while Brooke took off toward the shed. “The shed is closer, maybe I can barricade myself inside. If not,” she panted, talking to herself “maybe I can make it to the house.” She got to the shed and threw open the door. Dozens of chickens were crammed inside. They didn’t look like the chickens that were chasing her. But they looked angrier. She froze in place, her eyes meeting those of the chickens. The chickens all clucked in unison and charged at Brooke.

Bobbo and Shala ran through the barn and out the other side. “What do we have chasing us?” Bobbo shouted.

“Just a few chickens. Most of them and the farmer went after Brooke,” Shala answered. “Where should we go?”

“I say we see if we can get into the house,” Bobbo said. “Maybe we can keep the chickens at bay in there. At least, maybe we can do that thing where keep going through a bunch of doors while the chickens follow us.”

They heard Brooke scream. “We have to go see what happened,” Shala said.

“You go one way; I’ll go the other. Hopefully we can still save her,” Bobbo replied.

As they turned around, they saw the massive hoard of normal chickens chasing and attacking the mutated ones. The farmer was on the ground swarmed by a dozen chickens. Bobbo and Shala ran over to Brooke who had ducked from the chickens and was now running toward Shala. “What in the…?”

“The mutated chickens locked the normal chickens in the shed. I accidentally let them go. I guess the normal chickens didn’t appreciate being locked up for several weeks,” Brooke explained. “I say we get off this farm as soon as possible and try to convince someone to maybe, I don’t know, air lift this entire property somewhere else. Like Florida.”

Bobbo, Shala, and Brooke arrived at Nanny’s Chicken Shack. Max was still in front of the restaurant with his sign but he was now sitting down on the sidewalk. “Hey, man. We found out why Nanny can’t use his normal chicken supplier anymore,” Bobbo said.


“Toxic waste from the abandoned missile silo seeped into the ground water and mutated the farmer and all the chickens.”

“Mm. That’s kind of what I was thinking,” Max said.

“Are you gonna stay here or head home?” Shala asked.

“I guess I’ll go home. There’s not much foot traffic now and my butt kind of hurts from sitting on this sidewalk,” Max looked up at Bobbo. “Can you help me up?”

“Sure, buddy.”

The four of them started walking home. “Mutated chickens?” Max asked.

“Yes, dozens of them,” Brooke said.

“The farmer had a chicken growing out of his head,” Shala revealed.

“Really? I wish I could’ve seen that. I should’ve gone with you guys instead of hanging out here all afternoon.”

“That reminds me,” Bobbo said. “We should call the police. We just kind of left all the chickens to roam the farm. That’s probably dangerous.”

“I regret not going with you,” Max sighed. ▩

If you would like to support my writing or research, you can buy me a cup of coffee over on Ko-fi.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Trump Street

Mason City, Ohio was founded in 1805 along the Great Miami River. The original plat of the town had 13 square blocks with streets from north to south named for the states as they were admitted to the Union with the exception of the central business district street which was named Constitution Avenue. The east-west streets were numbered from 1 to 13 with the exception of River Street which ran along the river.

The city grew relatively quickly and today the city boasts 228,643 people and the state streets range from Delaware Street to California Street and 1st to 46th Street. In 1913, the city council and voters voted to rename the numbered streets after the United States presidents. 1st would be renamed Washington Street, 2nd Street would become Adams Street, and so on. At the time, the numbered streets went to 17th, or Johnson Street. As the post-war boom exploded Mason City's population, the city quickly grew and by 1957, the numbered streets had grown to 30th Street, or Coolidge Street.

As the city grew, the streets got to 42nd Street by 1977 so they stayed as numbers until a president was elected. When there was a naming ceremony, the city would symbolically send a letter to the president being honored and invited them to attend the ceremony and tighten the screws on the sign and pole. The invitations began with Richard Nixon in March of 1970 with 37th Street. An invitation was extended to Gerald Ford (March 1975), Jimmy Carter (March 1978), Ronald Reagan (March 1982), George Bush (March 1990), Bill Clinton (March 1994), George W. Bush (March 2002), and Barack Obama (March 2010).

Sadly, growth of Mason City slowed greatly after the Great Recession in 2008 so it was thought that a 45th Street would not be annexed into the city. With the construction of I-66 through the southern part of Mason City, a small country road--Stutley Road--was annexed and renamed 45th Street in February 2017. A letter was sent to President Donald Trump in March 2018 to attend the renaming ceremony. Many citizens of Mason City objected to his invitation but in 48 years of invitations, no president had attended and only four had even responded (Carter, Bush, Bush, Obama). Surprisingly, President Trump not only responded but agreed to attend the ceremony. As the media got ahold of the story, many thought that the city was honoring Trump, not knowing all their streets were named for presidents and that Trump was the only president to attend the ceremony. The ceremony was scheduled for August 15, 2018 and the president sent a staffer to prepare the city for his visit. It was explained repeatedly that the ceremony was small, short, and was just going to be the president tightening a couple of bolts on the sign. He still showed up.

I-66 had to be detoured at the Pennsylvania and Illinois exits and Constitution Avenue shut down south of Obama Street. It was a clear, hot, and sunny day as a crowd of about 75 people huddled around the intersection of Constitution Avenue and what would become Trump Street. The landscape sloped slowly down into a creek and since very little had been built south of Obama, it looked pretty desolate. President Trump finished tightening the bolts on the sign, gave a short speech, shook a few hands, and then left. The crowd dispersed and the sign remained lonely, almost abandoned, for a few months. It became a tourist attraction, people wanting pictures of a street sign named for either the greatest president of all time or the worst president of all time. In November, the sign was stolen and replaced a couple weeks later. It was stolen again in May of 2019 and vandalized with swastikas in October. The sign was moved to the light pole, higher and harder to get to, where it has been shot at a couple of times.

In March 2020, the land south of the interstate on the west side of Constitution Avenue was bought with the developer proposing a mixed retail and residential plot. With the purchase of the land, the plat of the development showed a park directly across from Trump Street named "Women's Park". The entrance to the land would be placed at 46th Street. As of June 2020, construction hasn't started on the development—the road network was completed in November, but there is also nothing that has an address of Trump Street.

~ ~ ~ 

I wrote this a few months ago but it was something that I've had in my head for a couple of years. Usually when I doodle, I doodle maps and I create cities and sometimes I come up with a history and stories for the city. I drew a city who named their streets after states and presidents and thought about how a Trump Street would work. I honestly believe that Trump would truly consider a purely ceremonial street name to be a great honor. Just like he thought the purely ceremonial electoral vote count could actually be changed. I figured I would post it in honor of Trump's last couple days as President of the United States and the 13th anniversary of this website.

The above picture is of Trump Street in Solvay, New York taken from Google Maps.