|Here is Ostrich Ventress, the subject of my tale|
If you choose to acquire a naked-necked chicken, when it's winter, you will wonder if her neck is cold.
If you wonder if her neck is cold, you will begin to find yourself neurotically checking her neck every day to see if it looks cold.
If you check her neck every day, one day there will appear black markings on the neck and you will decide that the chicken has frostbite and is probably going to die.
If you decide that your chicken has frostbite, you will Google "chickens" and "frostbite."
If you Google "chickens" and "frostbite," you will find pictures of roosters wearing hats, accompanied by comment threads explaining how certain women put hats on their dear little chickens to protect the combs from cold. "Good idea," you will think.
If you find pictures of roosters wearing hats, you will post a request on Facebook that your friends knit your naked-neck chicken a muffler. "Sure," one friend will say.
If you ask for a chicken-muffler on Facebook, you will become impatient and, while you are waiting, you will cut up an old, black sock that belongs that your youngest child. Then you will snatch up the frostbitten chicken and wrestle her to the ground where you will place the sock over her head and scrunch that sucker down.
If you put a black sock onto your chicken, the dominant hen will go berserk. She will think that you have replaced her nice, docile little friend-chicken with a vicious, dangerous, black-necked cobra-chicken and she will chase it madly around the chicken run, trying to peck out its eyes. Feathers will fly everywhere.
If your top hen goes berserk, you will be forced to put a diaper on her and bring her in the house while you are trying to teach math. "Forget about the muffler," you'll tell her. She will walk into the kitchen, where she will helpfully peck out all the crumbs she can find hidden in various cracks.
If your hen is in the kitchen pecking at the tile, you will start thinking that you should take that sock-muffler off the other hen. This is going to get ugly, you will think, and so you will head out to the chicken run and pull that black sock off.
If you pull the black sock off, the next morning you will find that the frostbite is really a hematoma the size of a large grape, swollen and disgusting on your naked chicken's neck.
If you find a hematoma on your innocent chicken, you will panic and return to the internet.
If you return to the internet, you will find that hematomas are self-limiting but must be covered and so—you will go and get another sock. This time you will choose a white sock, in case that makes a difference to the murderous hen.
If you put a white sock-muffler on your chicken, the next morning you will find that she has partially unraveled it and that there is a loose string encircling her tongue, which is magically connected to the moist surface and inextricably joined together with her flesh. The bird and the sock, essentially, are one.
If you find a string wrapped around your chicken's tongue, you will spend the next twenty minutes extracting it, all the while apologizing profusely to your bewildered if docile bird. Finally, and with scissors, the string—and a small part of the tongue—will come loose.
If you free your bird from a tongue trap, you will abandon the idea of mufflers altogether and you will place your bruised and baffled chicken in the yard, where she will thoughtfully eat lettuce and forget everything you've done.
If you return the chicken with the hematoma unprotected to the yard, the next morning you will go out early, very nervous—and look carefully at her neck.