The trick to fighting a rooster is to be another rooster. If you aren’t another rooster, the trick to fighting a rooster is to put as much real estate between that chicken and you as quickly as possible. A shameless retreat is a lot better option than having a rooster rip you a new one. And, believe me, a rooster can rip you a new one.

I used to know a rooster that mastered the art of grabbing you by the shoe laces with one foot and clawing your ankle to pieces with his other foot. There wasn’t a cowboy out West any better at staying on a bucking bronco than that rooster was at staying on a kicking leg.

His name was Chet – at least that’s what we called him around polite society and the clergy, and he lived on a farm that I worked on as a kid. I hated that rooster and he hated me, which didn’t make me special, because Chet hated everybody. The only thing was, he didn’t hate you all the time. In most cases, Chet ignored you. He preferred to mill about with the hens and peck at things on the ground than pay you any attention. 

When he did notice you, things changed. For reasons only Chet knew, you instantly went from being a non-entity to the vilest abomination on the planet. He took a monstrous dislike to you. Monstrous to the point your existence in Chet’s world could not be tolerated.

Of course, you had no knowledge of this change in status. You only realized something was up when you spotted a feathered Polaris missile coming straight at you at upwards of five hundred miles per hour. (And let me address this right now – anyone who tells you a chicken can’t run five hundred miles per hour has never been chased by an angry chicken). You’d be about halfway through your pre-holler inhale and, just like that, he’d have you by the shoe laces. Wham! Wham! Wham! He’d lay into your ankle.

Kick all you want. High-step it all you want. Cuss as blue a streak as you want. Nothing was going to dislodge that rooster.

Then it was over. He’d let go and dash back over to the hens. If someone came walking up by the time he got back to the hens, they’d think nothing ever happened. Peace reigned in the chicken world.

“What’s up with you?” they’d say. Hopefully, they weren’t a member of polite society or the clergy.

I have to tell another Chet story. There was a mini-gas station of sorts on the farm that was used to gas up the tractors. One day the farmer’s son, Ted, and I went to fill up a tractor and there was no gas. Ted called the oil company and asked why they hadn’t come by to fill up the fuel tanks? The guy who answered the phone told him, “My partner, Mike, is sick.” 

“It don’t take two people to fill up a fuel tank,” Ted told him.

 “It does at your place,” the guy told him.

 “What are you talking about?” Ted said.

“You know that old chair next to the fuel pump?” the guy said. “One man has to pump the fuel while the other man takes that chair and fights off the chicken.”

 Chet’s days came to an end when he finally attacked the wrong person. He went after the farm owner’s wife. She walked a dirt road around the farm every day for exercise and every day Chet ignored her. Then came the day he didn’t.

 Ted, who witnessed it, later told me, “You should have seen that little, fat woman move. I swear she was out ran that chicken for most the chase.”

 Ted’s mother was a genteel, soft-spoken, every Sunday Church goer who told Ted in no uncertain terms and, thankfully, out of ear shot of polite company and the clergy, to get his shotgun and make sure she never laid eyes on that rooster again. Thus, Chet ended his days as he lived them, with violence.

 Many of us agreed it was a fitting end.

We bring him up from time to time, those of us who knew him. We just don’t do it around polite society and the clergy.