The Costume

 

By Ann Marie R. Harvie

I got the job as manager at the Boneless Chicken fast-food restaurant. The employee who usually wears the chicken mascot costume is out sick, and my regional manager is coming for an inspection to see the mascot out there bringing in customers. No one else can do it, so it’s up to me to wear the costume, but I’m claustrophobic.

 

I suck it up and decide to take one for the team. As I put on the chicken outfit, I try deep breathing exercises. I stare at the big chicken head. It’s dead eyes stare at me, mocking me, daring me to put it on. I begin to sweat. My deep breathing turns into full blown hyperventilation. Suddenly I hear “He’s coming!” from the front of the store.

 

It’s crunch time. I pick up the big, heavy chicken head and slowly start putting it on. The large, dark opening suddenly gets a lot smaller the closer it is  to my head. It’s only a couple of inches from my head and now the opening seems so small, I wonder if it would even fit. “Please don’t’ fit, please don’t fit,” I chant as I slip the head onto my own. For a split second before my eyes found their holes, I was in the dark, my breath bouncing off the walls of the chicken head back onto my face. The closed-in feeling made me breathe faster and harder. “I can’t do this!” I yell as I try to get the head off.

 

My hands are wrapped in the costume and I can’t get the stupid head off. I’m panicking now. I run to the front of the store and start screaming, hoping someone would help me get it off. I’m met by hordes of kids who came to the restaurant to see “Clucky” the chicken. My high pitched screaming only causes them to scream back with excitement. I hop around trying to get my coworker’s’ attention, needing them to get this thing off my head.

 

While I’m hopping, I’m waving my arms up and down. The heat in the chicken head is now unbearable. I have to get this thing off my head!  I jump up and down faster, waving my arms up and down and trying to get my hands to stop slipping on the head as I try to pull it off. To my horror, my co-worker yells, “Hey, kids!  Let’s join Clucky in his dance!”

 

My continued screaming elicits howls of joy in the children. I begin swearing at my coworkers, but my profanities are muffled into chicken talk.

 

While I desperately try to free myself from my perfectly molded prison, I wonder what God I pissed off to make him punish me this way. The children begin to jump all around me, getting closer. One of my idiot coworkers turn on music and the kids join me in my death dance, clapping their hands and reveling in my agony.

 

Soon the kids are getting too riled up. They are pulling at my costume, pulling me down to the ground. I’m helpless on the ground with a pile of kids in top of me. I’m screaming myself horse at this point. Finally the visiting general manager who is laughing so hard at me he’s crying, says “Okay, Kids. I think Clucky has had enough. Time to get up now and say goodbye.”

 

I think I blacked out for a minute because the next thing I know I’m on my feet in the back of the room with the general manager laughing and clapping me in the back. “What a show!  You are the absolute best Clucky I’ve ever seen!  I can’t wait to get back and report to the board. I think those parents bought over $500 in food just during those few minutes you were out there!”

 

As soon as the general Manager leaves, I am finally able to get my co-workers to help me get the chicken head off. Once I am released from my prison and see their smiling faces, I immediately begin beating them with the head.

 

And that’s how our restaurant got pick as the best franchise in the restaurant chain and I got my $2 raise.

 

Copyright 2017 Out of This World Publishing.  Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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