Prophecy of Fried Chicken
I hadn’t seen or talked to my father in a while. Realizing I needed to, I made a plan.
My father has a single friend. His friend is intelligent, but, since the passing of his wife, has slipped into a pseudo-reality of conspiracies and mysticism. I sometimes find this friend’s conspiracies and mystic interpretations entertaining. Like, if you’ve ever looked at the headlines of those sleazy celebrity gossip rags and wondered, “who in the fuck came up with that?” Shit like: Hillary Clinton’s Secret Lesbian Love Letters Exposed!!!! The outrageousness or absurdity of those headlines are often glorious. Same with the old Weekly World News. Anyway, there are enough surprises that come from this friend’s connecting the dots of his various conspiracy theories that I’m often amused, unlike my father who has little tolerance for his batshit craziness. My father has no tolerance for it, but I find it more amusing than the majority of my father’s lazy musings.
So I came up with a plan. A plan to buffer myself from my father’s boorishness by offsetting it against his friend’s wackiness, while buffering my father from the instigations of his friend’s craziness. I figured me and my father together could reign in too much the craziness as a tag team, relieving my father of the sole burden for once. I figured the plan was win-win. And even if it fell apart, there was still gonna be cold beer and the state’s best fried chicken.
I suggested we all meet for dinner at this little tavern in a tiny Catholic town not too far away from any of us. It’s a place that’s frequently listed as having the best fried chicken in the state. And it’s in a tiny town we’re all familiar with, so I figured, “why not?”
I called my father the day before we were to meet to re-confirm the time. My father confirmed, but said he’d been on the brink of cancelling.
I asked why.
He said he’d spoken to his friend a few days ago, who explained he’d had an epiphany while watching a flock of birds. He said the configuration of those birds in the trees were a sure sign of the End of Days. Armageddon. Worldwide disasters. Pestilence. Plague. Etc. Hearing this, I was pretty sure, in the mind of his friend, it was significantly tied to current political events.
My father said he thought about cancelling since he wasn’t sure how much more of that nonsense he could tolerate in such a short span of days.
I told my father it was funny, cause I’d recently had an epiphany too.
“What’s that?” he asked.
I told him after arranging for us to meet for the friend chicken, a few days later I stumbled across a slideshow on the internet. The slideshow listed the best places for fried chicken in every state. And, as it’s frequently awarded, the place we’d decided on was again listed as the best for Indiana.
“I came across that article by chance and took it as a sign it was meant to be. It must be cosmically predetermined that we get our fried chicken tomorrow. That’s just too much alignment for it to be coincidence.”
“I guess,” my father said.
“See, the End of Days can’t come before tomorrow,” I said. “Cause I’m pretty sure our destiny for getting friend chicken trumps his coming of the End of Days.”
“I suppose that makes sense,” my father said.
“So get your kicks in before tomorrow,” I said. “Cause the shithouse could explode any day after that. But I’m pretty sure we’re good until tomorrow.”
We met the next day. We got our fried chicken. I didn’t mention the impending End of Days. I wanted to ask about it. I wanted to know about the birds and all of it. But I knew doing so would piss off my father. We were enjoying cold beer and the best fried chicken in the state. So why fuck it up? So I didn’t ask.
Still, I couldn’t help but notice how his friend voraciously tore through his chicken backs. The impending End of Days sure as shit didn’t seem to have much of an effect on his appetite. The way he inhaled the chicken and mashed potatoes and green beans didn’t seem like the forthcoming hellfire and brimstone that was set to descend upon him and his children and grandchildren was weighing too much on his mind and certainly not on his stomach. But, in fairness, I gotta say, it was some pretty damned good fried chicken. Certainly the best I’ve had in the state. And that can trump a whole lot of other stuff.