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“Mike, the Headless Chicken”

June 18, 2010

Chris Garlasco, Owner & Managing Partner - Founders Insurance Group

“While I am away on my trek to the Arctic Circle I will be posting excerpts from some of my travel journals from previous adventures. This post is one of those excerpts, I hope you enjoy it.”CJG

May 16th, Grand Junction, Colorado 11:55pm.

Our short ride to Grand Junction turned out to be a minor tour. A full quarter tank of gas, and one coyote scare later, we found ourselves in the town of Fruita, with the darkness of the Utah desert lying in front of us. The hotels and motels where we had hoped to find a room were instead all booked for the evening. We stood, tired in the lobby of a La Quinta with our mouths open as it was explained to us that all of the area hotels had been booked in advance of the weekend’s big festival. In my ignorance, I simply could not fathom a local festival that could fill every hotel/motel in Fruita Colorado!

The two women at the front desk, without a hint of a smile explained that we had come upon “Mike, The Headless Chicken Festival!” I just could not wrap my brain around that one! A wave of absurdity engulfed me as she explained to Brother James and I that a local farmer, in an effort to save the largest possible chicken neck for his wife’s soup, had inadvertently cut the chicken’s head off while leaving behind a small piece of brain and one remaining ear. “Mike” as the chicken became affectionatelyknown, had somehow cheated death!

Being fed with an eyedropper to sustain him, Mike and the farmer attended various carnivals and fairs over the next 18 months all the while building up a large cult-like following. One night while staying at a local motel before a big performance the following day, Mike apparently choked after an eyedropper meal. At this point, now fully committed to the tale, I am wondering what it is that Mike is actually choked on? The farmer had rushed to Mike’s side in an effort to utilize the eyedropper in reverse fashion as a suction device.

Sadly, it was too little too late. Mike was gone. The chicken had choked!

Brother James had heard enough and was heading for the door. I informed the young ladies that all of my questions about what they actually did in this part of the country for fun had all been answered. As a nice gesture, they called a motel back in Grand Junction and they were able to hold us a couple of their remaining rooms.

There is something about motel clerks that work the overnight shift. They tend to be a bit “off center,” and this one in Grand Junction wasn’t any different. When I asked the clerk if he knew about “Mike, The Headless Chicken,” speaking very slowly, he began, with a similar story to the story we had heard in Fruita. However, he had lacked the ending and I was able to fill in the blanks concerning Mike’s death. The clerk was unaware of what actually happened to Mike in the motel room that fateful night. I had felt that I had done my part in continuing the tale and he thanked me for it.

It had been quite a day and I was anxious to shower off all of the “road grime” and sweat. I was looking forward to resting my muscles under the hot water and climb into clean clothes. Earlier in the week, while passing through Kansas, Brother James had bought me a souvenir t-shirt at a famous local hamburger joint. The shirt was white and since I can’t make it past a single meal in a white shirt, and it was so big it looked like a skirt on me, I thought it would make an excellent sleep shirt. I finally got cleaned up and pulled the shirt out of the plastic bag it came in and put it on my tired bones. In an instant, under the sheets, I and everything I touched smelled of greasy burgers. On the back of the shirt, it said, “scratch and sniff”. I give up! TODAY’S TOTAL MILES: 319

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