“How to Dress for a Funeral” by Caleb Echterling

A man in a chicken suit staggered into baggage claim at LAX. A thumb and index finger pinched his beak and twisted his head down to sister level. “Couldn’t you dress appropriately for a funeral?” Chicken-man’s sister, in head-to-toe black, glared through narrowed eyelids.

“No can do, sis. I sold everything to follow my dream of being the first person to scale Mount Everest on a unicycle while dressed as a chicken. Which Dad always said he’d derail. Guess he finally kept a promise.” Chicken-man scooped a hard-edged garbage bag from the conga line of suitcases dancing down the conveyor belt.

A guttural growl vibrated from the sister’s larynx. “Too late now. Funeral’s in an hour. We can’t be late. Dad’s last wish was for you to give the eulogy.”

“But Dad hated me and everything I stand for.”

A hand slapped the back of the chicken head. “That’s horrible. Why would you think that?”

“That was the last thing Dad said before I left for Kathmandu.”

An hour later, at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a unicycle carrying a man in a chicken suit whizzed between pews of mourners. The wheel lurched sideways on slick carpet. A feathered bowling ball crashed into lily ten-pins. Chicken-man popped to his feet and spread his wings like Christ the Redeemer. The obligatory ‘ta-da’ went unsaid.

Chicken-man shook water from his feathers. A creased cocktail napkin topped the lectern. He plucked reading glasses from under a wing and wiggled his tail feathers. “All I can say about a man I haven’t spoken to in twenty years is to pass on the best advice he ever gave me. Don’t eat yellow snow.”

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Caleb Echterling is a talent scout for the Intercontinental Dust Bunny Rodeo. He tweets funny fiction using the not at all clever handle @CalebEchterling. You can find more of his work at http://www.calebechterling.com.

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