Pecky Greenleg Chapter 8

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Pecky looked as shocked as a chicken could look and was, for once, speechless.

“What do you mean he’s the only one left?” asked Jake.

“I mean…they didn’t make it.”

The accidents. They were…fatal?

Gilbert simply nodded.

All three were silent for a few minutes. Even though Pecky could not remember his fellow chicks, he felt a sadness at their loss.

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Jake reread the note he still held.

“Wait a minute, did you see this?”

Jake pointed to the final line in the note. “Danger awaits them outside your doors.”

“So?” Gilbert shrugged.

So, it says that danger awaits them outside the hatchery.”

But the real danger was inside!

“Exactly,” Gilbert said grimly.

“That still doesn’t explain why you gave Pecky to us,” said Jake.

“You were the last to place such a large order. We needed to smuggle Pecky out of the hatchery as quickly as possible.”

Pecky nodded, but Jake still looked doubtful.

“How could you be sure that we could be trusted? You could have been sending Pecky into danger.”

“It was a risk, but we had to take it.”

A loud silence filled the room.

Now what do we do?

“We…wait,” said Gilbert.

Jake scowled at Gilbert.

“We can’t just wait around for someone to come after Pecky.”

No. I’m not the only one who would be hurt. I can’t put Jake at risk.

“There is something else we could do,” Gilbert said slowly.

Well, what is it?

“You’re not going to like it.”

“Just spit it out already,” Jake said rolling his eyes.

“We could set a trap.”

“A trap? What would we use as bait…oh,” said Jake turning to Pecky.

Me. I would be the bait.

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Pecky Greenleg Chapter 7

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Jake eyed Gilbert warily as he stepped into the office.

You can hear Pecky?”

He shut the door.

“Yes,” said Gilbert.

Jake was surprised. Not even his mom could hear Pecky.

Gilbert gestured to the chair in front of his desk.

“Let me explain.”

Jake carefully set the backpack on the floor before sitting down.

You might as well take me out of here. 

Jake looked at Gilbert, still a little afraid he might try to hurt or steal Pecky.

Oh go on. If he wanted to hurt me, he would have already. 

“I don’t want to hurt either of you,” said Gilbert. “It’s why I placed Pecky with you in the first place.”

Jake unzipped the backpack and Pecky hopped out with a ruffle of feathers and a quiet squawk.

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Now that we are all here, why don’t you start your tale.

“You are not a normal chicken, and you’re not the only one of your kind.”

My kind?

“His kind?” Jake and Pecky said at the same time.

Gilbert nodded.

Well then, you’d better start at the beginning.

“Right,” said Gilbert. “A few weeks ago, we found a box of chicks in the lobby. No one knew where it came from. It just appeared on the front desk one day. When we opened the box, we found 25 gray chicks with green legs. We’d never seen a breed like it before.”

“What do you mean it “just appeared” one day?” Jake asked.

“Exactly what I said, our secretary came into work and the box was on her desk with a note attached to the top.”

Gilbert reached in his desk drawer and pulled out a small wooden box, unlocked it and pulled a piece of paper out.

“We kept it, hoping that one day we would figure out what it meant.”

Jake cleared his throat and read the note out loud. “’These chicks are special and need your protection. Please take care of them and never let them leave the hatchery. Danger awaits them outside your doors.’”

“But, the note says to never let them leave here,” said Jake, looking at Pecky.

“I’m getting to that. For the first few days nothing unusual happened. We were all trying to figure out where the chicks came from and what kind they were. Then the accidents started.”

Accidents?

“At first, we thought they were just that. Accidents. But then we realized that they were only happening to the gray chicks. We questioned everyone, trying to understand why.”

And?

“They all claimed they didn’t know and two of the newer people left before we could question them.”

“They left?” asked Jake.

“Yep. We tried to track them down but no one knew where they’d gone.”

But, if you can understand me, why didn’t you just talk to the other chicks?

“Because,” said Gilbert. “I only found out I could understand you when I got to the post office. I’d already switched the boxes out once. I couldn’t very well do it a second time without raising suspicion.”

Why didn’t you just ask the others when you got back to the hatchery?

Gilbert paused and looked directly at Pecky.

“Because, you were the only one left.”

Pecky Greenleg: Chapter 6

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“I don’t understand. Why do you need to go back to the hatchery? We just bought chick feed last week.”

Jake shifted uncomfortably and tried to look his mom in the eyes.

“Well, I just want to ask a few questions…find out how a hatchery is run. For-for a-a paper, er, a story I’m writing.”

His mom looked at him oddly. He knew it was a lame reason when they’d just been there last week.

He sighed. “Ok, it’s like this Mom-“.

“Alright dear,” she said suddenly, turning to get the car keys. “I need to pick a few things up in town anyway, so I’ll just drop you by the hatchery first.”

Jake couldn’t believe his luck. Now, how was he going to get Pecky in the car without her noticing?

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An hour later, Jake’s mom pulled into the parking lot at the hatchery.

“I’ll be back in a half hour or so to pick you up, ok?”

Jake nodded as he climbed out of the car, carefully pulling a rather large, bulky backpack out after him.

He waved nervously at his mom and waited for the car to disappear around the corner before walking inside.

“Hi, I’m looking for Gilbert,” he said to the smiling woman at the front desk.

“Well hi there sweetie! Gilbert you say?”

“Y-yes. I have a few q-questions for him. For a-a story I’m writing about chickens.”

The woman smiled at him brightly and picked up the phone.

“Hold on there just a minute and I’ll see if he’s busy right now.”

Jake felt Pecky move slightly.

“Alright dear, Gilbert is just three doors down that way,” she said, pointing down the dimly lit hall.

“Thank you.”

Windows lined one side of the hallway. Jake looked out and saw row after row of chick brooders. Some were stacked in fives, others as long as a pool table.

Workers in white lab coats walked about, checking on the fuzzy yellow, brown and white chicks. A soft glow filled the room from the heat lights keeping the chicks warm.  It smelled like musty hay and ammonia.

When he reached the third door, he knocked timidly.

The man he’d talked to the week before opened the door.

Gilbert.

He looked at Jake with surprise and then resignation. “Oh. You’re back. Well, you’d better come inside. I’m sure you have a lot of questions.”

Pecky shifted in the bag, poking Jake in the shoulder with his beak.

Hmm. Well isn’t this interesting. He definitely knows something.

“Yes,” said Gilbert, glancing at the bag. “I do know something. Something about where your bird came from and why you mustn’t tell anyone about him. For his own safety…as well as yours.”

 

Pecky Greenleg: Chapter 5

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Jake wasn’t sure what to do next. The lead the postmaster gave them, while interesting, seemed like a big, fat dead end.

He’d already talked to Gilbert at the hatchery and had gotten nowhere.

You have to go back.

Jake shook his head, glaring at Pecky.

“Go back? How? Even if I could convince Mom we needed more chicks, there’s nothing more Gilbert will tell me.”

Pecky strutted back and forth in the pen, frustration simmering around him.

Use me.

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Jake looked at Pecky doubtfully.

No, really. Use me. Tell your mom that I’m not well. I’ll even act sick. 

“I don’t know…Mom already suspects something and I don’t like keeping things from her…”

Then tell her.

Jake snorted and looked at the determined glint in Pecky’s eyes.

“Tell her that the chicken I named Pecky Greenleg is actually a rooster who can talk? Tell her that I’ve already talked to Gilbert at the hatchery and the postmaster? Tell her–“

Ok, ok! I get it. But we have to come up with something. I don’t belong here. 

Jake looked down at Pecky and felt a twinge of sadness for him. How awful would it be not to know where you came from?

“Ok. I’ll figure out a way for us to get back to the hatchery.”

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Opportunities

When it rains it pours
The storm clouds rear
The lightning fierce and fast

The droplets plop
The thunder rolls
The skies turn dark and masked

The sun bursts through
Shiny, strong
Its rays pierce through the gray

All things are sparkling
Fresh and new
A bright and glorious day

Branching Out

Goals push us forward and help us grow. This year, my goal for my voice acting adventure is to branch out beyond audiobooks.

I’ve been playing around with video game narration. E-Sports is a huge and growing industry and there are so many companies…small starters to big leaders…coming out with new games and in need of voice talent.

Looking for script samples was fun. Voices.com had a nice variety, so I started with this adventure/fantasy script featuring a brave, strong and compassionate princess in a 17th Century silver mining kingdom.

I’ll continue to play around with voices and plan to sit with the boys as they play their favorite card collecting video games to get a feel for voices and characters. I’m sure they will be only too eager to help with this “market research”.

Pecky Greenleg: Chapter 4

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Jake set out for the post office, a backpack slung over his shoulder.

Did you tell your mom where we, er, you were going?

“Of course I didn’t,” he whispered to the bag. “I just told her I was going for a bike ride to town.”

Pecky moved around in the bag, making Jake jiggle on the bike.

“Stay still! You are going to make me fall off.”

Sorry, I don’t have a lot of room in here you know.

Pecky had doubled in size in just a few days. Jake had to take everything out of the backpack just so he would fit.

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“We’re almost there. Just try not to move until I get off the bike.”

Jake parked his bike outside the door and walked into the building.

“Hello young man. What can I do for you today?”

Jake studied the jolly postmaster behind the counter. He looked friendly enough.

“Hello sir,” he said nervously. “I wanted to ask about a package we received a few weeks ago. I have the label right here.”

Jake pulled a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket.

The postmaster took the label and looked at Jake expectantly.

“What would you like to know? Was there a problem with the package?”

Clearing his throat, Jake recited the speech he and Pecky had agreed on.

“No…I mean yes. There was an extra chick in the package and I was just wondering where it came from.”

He glanced at the label and then back at Jake.

“It says here it came from McDougal Hatchery. Isn’t that where you ordered the chicks from?”

A flush crept up Jake’s neck. He didn’t want the man to know too much about Pecky, but he needed information.

“Yes, but I think we may have gotten the wrong package. We ordered 25 Leghorns and they sent an extra that doesn’t look like the rest.”

“Hmmm,” he said looking down at the label.

“Do you remember who delivered the package? Maybe I could ask if the boxes got mixed up or something.”

The man scratched his head and tapped his chin.

“Yes, there were several boxes of chicks. I remember because they chirped and peeped all day long,” he chuckled.

Jake’s heart plummeted. With so many packages arriving that day, it would be next to impossible to find out if any boxes were switched up.

“Oh!” exclaimed the postmaster. “Yes, I remember now. After the driver delivered all of the chicks, he ran back in with another box and said that he needed to switch it out. Said he made a mistake.”

“And it was this package?”

“It very well could have been, but I can’t be completely sure. The driver seemed very concerned about the swap.”

“And do you remember his name?”

The postmaster scratched his head.

“Sorry, I can’t remember. Wish I could—Oh yes! It was Gilbert! Gilbert from McDougal Hatchery.”

“Thank you sir!” Jake smiled.

“No problem young man. I hope you find what you are looking for.”

After Jake left the post office and was safely out of sight, he unzipped the backpack and looked down at Pecky.

Well? Does that name mean anything to you?

“Yes. Yes it does.”

And?

“Gilbert is who I talked to at the hatchery.”

Pecky Greenleg: Chapter 3

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Pecky and the rest of the chicks were growing at an alarming rate. They were outgrowing their first home so they’d been moved to new, larger pen.

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“You’ll be more comfortable out here,” Jake said as he watched the flock race around in their new pen.

I guess. Did you have any luck at the hatchery?

“Not really.”

What does that mean?

Jake sighed, remembering the rude man he tried to talk to about Pecky when he and his mom went to pick up more chick food at the hatchery.

“Well…I asked if they had any other gray chicks with green legs. Told them that we were thinking of getting a few more.”

And? What did they say?

That’s the strange part. The guy seemed…uncomfortable.”

Hmmm. That’s interesting.

That’s what I thought. He told me he didn’t know what I was talking about. That I must be mistaken.”

Mistaken? Didn’t you tell him you ordered from that hatchery?

“That’s just it. He insisted that I was wrong. Said I must have ordered it from another hatchery. Before I could ask any more questions, he turned and said he had to get some work done and I should just forget about ‘those chicks’.”

Pecky let out a frustrated squawk, startling the other chicks. They all ran to a corner of the pen and seemed to glare indignantly at him.

“So I guess that’s it.”

Pecky ruffled his feathers and looked up at Jake with angry eyes. Of course, thought Jake, chickens always looked angry.

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What do you mean ‘that’s it’? One dead end and you are ready to give up?

I don’t see what else we can do,” Jake said defensively.

Pacing, Pecky let out a series of cheeps and chirps.

Wait! What about the shipping company? 

“Shipping company? What would they know?

They’d know if the chicks came from that hatchery. And, if they didn’t, they’d know where they came from.

Jake went into the garage and rummaged through the recycling, looking for the box the chicks came in. When he found it, he could hardly believe they were ever small enough to fit in the little box. He took it back to the pen to show Pecky.

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“Here it is. They were shipped through the post office. I remember Mom going to pick them up.”

That’s it then. We have to go to the post office.

Pecky Greenleg: Chapter 2

(For Chapter 1 click here.)

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Chapter 2

The next morning, Jake sat on the edge of his bed staring at a pair of socks.

Chickens can’t talk. Can they?

Of course not!

And yet…

Shaking his head, Jake finished dressing and headed down for breakfast.

“Good morning Mom!”

“Morning sweetie,” she said as she poured him a glass of juice. “What did you dream about?”

Since he could remember, Jake and his mom started the day sharing their dreams. Sometimes they were silly, sometimes scary and sometimes just plain weird.

Of course! It must have all been a dream!

With a sigh of relief, Jake launched into his dream, attacking his plate of eggs.

“Thanks for breakfast, Mom! Can I go out and play with the chicks?”

“Just be careful and don’t squeeze them too hard,” she said smiling.

Jake bounced out the garage door and peeked into the large tub that was the chicks’ temporary home.

“Morning girls!” he murmured cheerfully.

I told you, I’m NOT a girl!”

So much for it being a dream.

Jake reached in and picked Pecky Greenleg up. All the other yellow chicks scurried from his hand. Not Pecky, she–er–he stood his ground.

Hey! Stop tickling me!

“Sorry! I just don’t understand what’s going on here? Why can I hear you in my head?”

Pecky shifted uncomfortably in Jake’s hand.

“Pecky?”

I’m not sure. Where I come from we can all understand each other. These birds just cheep, eat and sleep.

“What do you mean where you come from? Aren’t you all from the same farm?”

Pecky glared at Jake and ruffled his feathers.

No! We do not ALL come from the same farm. I’m from…from…well, I’m not sure. But I know it’s not from the same farm as these other chicks!

“You don’t know where you came from?”

Well I’m only a few days old, you can’t expect that I know everything.

Jake slowly shook his head.

“I guess we’ll have to start with the hatchery we ordered you all from to figure this out.”

I doubt very much I came from a hatchery. 

“We’ll see.”

Yes. We will.

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Pecky Greenleg: Chapter One

Reviving an old story. Take a listen!

“What should we name this one, Jake?”

Jake studied the small chick with a thoughtful expression.

It’s gray feathers stood out in the sea of fuzzy yellow.

“Hmmm,” he murmured. “How about Pecky?”

“That’s a great name for a chicken,” his mom said with a smile.

“Wait,” said Jake. “Look at its legs.”

Jake’s mom peered at the tiny legs and noticed green feathers. “How odd,” she said.

“Her name is Pecky Greenleg!” crowed Jake.

His mom grinned and headed for the kitchen door.

“Are you coming in? It’s about time to eat lunch.”

Jake held the tiny chick in his hands, careful not to squeeze.

“In a little bit, I need to talk to Pecky Greenleg.”

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The chick stared up at the little boy, not sure he liked the name he had been given.

I don’t have green legs! And…I am not a hen!

“Not a hen?” said Jake with surprise written on his face.

The chick stared at the boy. The boy stared at the chick.

“Ha,” Jake said with a shake of his head. “I must be imag–“

You can hear me?

Jake gaped, wide-eyed at the chick.

“Y-you can talk?”

Well of course not!

B-but, I can hear you!”

Jake’s mom peeked out the door. “What was that sweetie?”

Startled, Jake nearly dropped Pecky Greenleg.

“N-nothing Mom.”

His voice was hoarse and shaking. His mom looked at him with concern.

“Are you sure? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

He looked at Pecky and could have sworn the bird shook his head.

“Ha,” he laughed nervously. “No really, I’m ok.”

“Ok, if you’re sure.”

“Yep, I’m fine.”

“Well, why don’t you come in and wash your hands. It’s time to eat. “

“Ok, be right there.”

When his mom shut the door, he looked back at the chick.

They stared at each other for so long that Jake thought he’d imagined the whole thing.

You’d better go in for lunch.