Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mike the Headless Chicken

Sometime in September 1945, there was a little chicken named Mike who lived on a farm in Fruita, Colorado. One day, Mike was strutting nonchalantly when, much to his dismay, his master grabbed him and promptly removed his head via an axe. Shortly thereafter, Mike regained his wits and went about his day, sans head. This isn't uncommon, as poultry are known to continue kicking around for a while after their heads have been removed. Mike's owner apparently didn't think too much of this and left him alone. The next day, the farmer found Mike, and I quote, "sleeping with his head under his wing." The farmer decided that, since the chicken had apparently forgotten how to die, he would do his best to keep the thing alive. The farmer proceeded to use an eyedropper to drip feed milk, water and bits of corn into the tattered end of Mike's esophagus.

"Gurgle glub glub splutter." - Whatever was left of Mike's larynx.

Mike slowly became accustomed to life without a brain. There was a bit of a grace period, during which his movements were rather clumsy and awkward (on account of not having a goddamn head), but eventually he was strutting about like normal again. Unfortunately (and again I quote), "His crowing, though, was less impressive and consisted of a gurgling sound made in his throat, leaving him unable to crow at dawn." Mike's owner apparently looked at this pathetic neck-stump chicken zombie and decided that he could probably make some money off it. A week after Mike's beheading, the farmer packed his gurgling ass up and took him to the University of either Utah or Colorado (different sources cite different universities.). There, it was determined that the axe used to behead him had somehow missed his jugular. A clot had prevented him from bleeding to death, and he even had most of his brain stem and an ear left over from the ordeal. 

The farmer would tape the chicken's head on and pretend to be mortified every time it fell off. He was an asshole.

Mike's fame was eventually established and he found himself living the kind of life that most chickens can only dream of (Mike's own dreaming was somewhat hindered by the absence of his goddamn head). Mike was both valued at, and insured for $10,000, which in today's currency is a hell of a lot more than a gurgling stump chicken should ever be worth. Mike soon got a manager and embarked on a nationwide tour that saw him in almost every major city in America. Inspired by his fame, other farmers throughout the country decided to get a piece of the headless chicken fame pie, and proceeded to do so by beheading a shitload of chickens. Unfortunately, none of the chickens survived for more than a couple days. 

At some point in his nationwide tour, Mike and his crew stopped at a motel in the Arizona desert. In the middle of the night, Mike began choking. Unable to find his feeding and cleaning syringes, the farmer and his wife could only look on in horror as the life slowly drained out of their gurgling little money maker. Mike lived an astonishing 18 months without a head, and managed to gain around 4 and a half pounds in the process, which is absolutely hilarious in a deeply disturbing kind of way. 

Every single detail of this story is both incredibly wrong and incredibly funny.


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