Meadow Breeze

Tyson says “Zippy von Cluck is a morally questionable fuck”.

You know Zippy, the mascot. The plump anthropomorphic bird who wears his baseball cap backwards, the one on the mural that’s splashed across the wall of any given Cowgirl Chicken Outlet in the brightest primary colors. For a while CGC place-mats came with a maze and an invitation for you to help Zippy find his way to Birdie Fun Land.

Tyson says, “I really don’t get it. Tens of millions of chickens, every year- flayed, fried, consumed. Zippy’s sisters and brothers. Why man?”

We’re walking up into the station. In this city the air is moist and solid, the opposite of a meadow breeze. At night it glows a sick chemical yellow, sucking it in it tastes like stale piss. Tyson is interrupted by the loud speaker.

We stand and listen, sweating like fools, enclosed by India.

“Did you”…

“Do I look like I speak Bengali?”

We’re still now. “Then where do we go?”

The station, like the street, is nothing but a swirl of ill-lit smells and languid poverty. People perch on sacks of luggage, squatting grandmothers sprawl on filthy tiles- there are reptilian dogs and lost children. It’s only now we’re still that I notice their eyes, and then they’re everywhere- ominous, accusatory, stark- in that moment there’s a thousand of them staring at us, probably more.

Above us the destination clicks over from Bengali into English.

I say, “platform six”, and we’re moving.

Tyson is following me. “That Zippy", he goes on “I don’t know how he lives with himself. He’s a traitor. He's probably emotionally destroyed, like, a chicken without a soul”.

I’m pushing through the mob, happy not to be still.

“Chicken whores and whisky" Tyson says, “I bet that’s what gets him through the night”.