Henhouse High Jinx: Mr. Stevens and Friends

Overview

Mr. Dirk Stevens is a responsible rooster and the official leader of Farmer Johnston's Coop. He is organized, thoughtful and comb over wattles in love with the beautiful Sandra Thompson. She fully believes that Mr. Stevens spells success for all chicken-kind.

One day, however, the peaceful sanctuary of the farm is turned upside down as trouble arrives. Trouble in the form of Rick the rooster, an import from Farmer Beaton's barnyard.

Rick is the...

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Overview

Mr. Dirk Stevens is a responsible rooster and the official leader of Farmer Johnston's Coop. He is organized, thoughtful and comb over wattles in love with the beautiful Sandra Thompson. She fully believes that Mr. Stevens spells success for all chicken-kind.

One day, however, the peaceful sanctuary of the farm is turned upside down as trouble arrives. Trouble in the form of Rick the rooster, an import from Farmer Beaton's barnyard.

Rick is the toughest rooster the farm has ever encountered, and all the chickens take instant notice. The hens want to date him, and the roosters want to be him. Seeing through Rick's unique 'bad-boy' charm, Mr. Stevens smells trouble.

As Rick introduces the coop to cigarettes and Cockle-Doodle-Doo-Tube, the serenity of Mr. Stevens' barnyard turns to chaos. With Face-Beak erupting in mean-spirited gossip, and the level of hen drama reaching an all time high, Mr. Stevens' leadership is put to the ultimate test.

Will he be able to stop Rick's rise to domination, or will the escalating Henhouse High Jinx prove to be more than Mr. Stevens can handle?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466994928
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2013
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Read an Excerpt

HENHOUSE HIGH JINX

MR. STEVENS AND FRIENDS


By ROB DAVIES, ERIC COMEAU

Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Rob Davies
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4669-9491-1


CHAPTER 1

A faint ray of sunlight peeped over the horizon, illuminating Farmer Johnston's chicken coop. As the inside of the henhouse brightened, the ladies began to stir. A big day lay ahead of them, the last one before Farmer Johnston collected the eggs to take to market. Their job was to ensure the nests were stuffed to the brim. Gladys slowly rose and stretched out her wings.

As had become the custom of most of the hens in the house, Gladys began the day by checking out the news on Face-Beak. Face-Beak was the latest in land fowl social media. It gave the chickens the ability to send messages and pictures, share important information, and gossip with one another. This could be done by posting messages privately in individual nests or publicly on stall walls. Gladys smiled as she saw the post her best friend Janet had put up on her stall wall: A picture of the two of them playing Kanasta together. Underneath she had scrawled the letters BFF and surrounded them with a big red heart. Janet is the best friend a hen could ever have, Gladys thought to herself, her heart filled with joy.

As dawn continued to break, Mr. Stevens slowly roused himself and waddled out of the Rooster Club to his newly acquired perch on the fencepost. It was show time and he was the main attraction. Throwing a wing in the air like a seasoned rock star, he bellowed out a shrill, "Cockle-Doodle-Doo!" The sun was coming up and another busy day was upon them. The barnyard animals began to rise from their peaceful slumbers ready to begin the busy day ahead. Mr. Stevens stood on the perch enjoying the moment to its fullest. It was his third day of wake up call duty, and he was loving every minute of it.

Not every rooster shared in his newfound joy. Mr. Stevens' older brother Derek, was not loving every minute of it. Truth be told, he was jealous and downright resentful of his brother's newfound fame. The two had never seen eye to eye, and ever since Dirk Stevens had heroically saved the coop from an evil buffet titan, the animosity level had risen to an all-new high. As a result, Derek jumped at every chance to knock his younger sibling down a peg or two. Sensing a golden opportunity, he decided to pounce.

"Nice wake-up call," he cackled at Mr. Stevens. "Really well done."

"Thanks Derek," Mr. Stevens replied, oblivious to the sarcasm in his brother's voice. "I think I was a little high pitched, but I'm working on it."

"A little High pitched?" Derek scoffed. "I should say it was. By the screech you let out I figured someone was squeezing your wattles." Derek laughed as he cracked open a bag of salt 'n' vinegar chips, and smirked rudely at his brother. "Sounded like the farmer jabbed you with a pitchfork or something."

Mr. Stevens opened his beak to respond, but then thought better of it. On top of being a chip-devouring ignoramus, Derek was also a petty and bitter bird. Engaging in a war of words was exactly what he wanted. Responding would start off yet another riff between the two. Mr. Stevens chose the high road and ignored Derek's comments. Besides, it was almost time for the morning feed, and he didn't want to be late. There was nothing quite like a dose of fresh mealworm to get the day started off right.

All the coop's chickens assembled at the food trough, drooling at the beak in anticipation of the day's first meal. As Farmer Johnston marched across the yard, they were surprised to see he wasn't carrying the usual sack of grub. Rather, he carried a rough and tumble looking rooster under his arm. Gently, he set him down on the ground.

"Everyone," the farmer announced. "This is Rick. He has come to us from Farmer Beaton's up the road. Please give him a warm welcome while I go finish preparing your breakfast." The farmer smiled down reassuringly at Rick, who returned his look with an icy glare.

The entire coop stood and gawked. Rick was unlike anything they had ever seen before. There was a menacing look to him that the roosters found quite intimidating. Although somewhat frightened, they all envied his tough appearance. Rick's presence, was having the opposite effect on the hens. They all stared at him in star-struck awe, captivated by his bad-boy image. It could have been the tattoos that covered his wings, the piercing through his comb or the fact that he wore a studded leather vest. Whatever the reason, Rick's sudden arrival had caused quite a buzz in the barnyard.

Mr. Stevens was the first to approach the farm's newest resident. "Welcome to the coop," he said warmly, extending a wing. "I'm Mr. Stevens."

Rick stared at the coop leader like he'd just had a bowel movement in his nest. "Get preened you tool!" he snarled, rudely pushing his way past Mr. Stevens and heading towards the Rooster Club. "Come get me for lunch," he demanded without even turning around. "You idiots have tired me out already. I need a nap."

The whole brood stood in shock. Rick had just scornfully pushed by their leader without batting an eyelash. No rooster had ever done anything so brash and brazen before. Mr. Stevens was too stunned to even be upset. "He must be feeling a little uneasy in his new surroundings," he announced, a slight trace of embarrassment evident in his voice. "Let's give him some time to settle in."

The chickens stood and stared at Mr. Stevens for an extra moment before carrying on with their daily business. Derek, who had watched the entire episode, stood giggling by the food trough. When the others were out of earshot the chirping began. "Nice job pal. Three days in and your authority is already being usurped. By a dude who has only lived here for two minutes, I should add. Stuff like this never happened when Mr. Thompson was in command."

Mr. Stevens, normally very adept at controlling his temper when it came to his vindictive brother, suddenly exploded. There were certain touchy subjects, and the comparison his gluttonous brother had just made was one of them. "Have another chip you voracious imbecile!" he exclaimed angrily. "I hope you choke on the next one!" Turning in a huff, he stormed off to give his rattled nerves a chance to settle.

Derek grinned as Mr. Stevens stomped across the yard. He, like a bothersome tick, had finally gotten under his brother's skin.

CHAPTER 2

There were a few less fowl present when Farmer Johnston returned with his well-rounded breakfast of mealworm and corn niblets. Most of the hens had bolted back to the henhouse immediately following Rick's introduction. Extra calories were the last thing the young ladies needed if they wanted to capture his attention. Or so they at least believed. It would certainly take a little extra fluffing and preening to successfully seduce the coop's newest beau.

The roosters took advantage of the hens' absence and stuffed their beaks with the delicious eats. Chomping down on the fresh kibble, they talked non-stop of the rebellious young ruffian that had just taken the barnyard by storm. "Did you see those gnarly tattoos?" Darryl asked his good buddy Dwayne.

"Sure did bird," Dwayne replied. "Dude is sporting some serious ink. I like the one of the skull and cross wings."

"Me too!" Darryl remarked, bobbing his head back and forth. "I wish I had the wattles to get tattooed like that."

"Agreed," Dwayne concurred. "Imagine how tough that would look. The hens would be all over us for sure!"

Both friends stood, chomping their meals, when a sudden thought struck Darryl. "We should go get him for the feed," he suggested. "That'd put us in his good books right off the bat. Maybe he'd even be kind enough to give us a few tips on how to be awesome."

Dwayne nodded in agreement before suddenly being struck with a brainwave of his own. "I have an even better idea," he replied with a grin. "Let's take him his food personally. There's nothing like a little breakfast in the nest to get on a fella's good side. He'd totally think we were 'the giblets' if we did that."

Darryl jiggled his head and chirped his support of the plan. The two quickly scrounged up some mealworm to take to their new hero.


* * *

In the henhouse, a surge of energy was bubbling through the female population. The hens had all settled back in their stalls for some frantic self-beautification. Rick could walk by at any moment thus they needed to look their very best. First impressions meant everything when it came to chicken attraction. Make-up was slopped on by the gallon as each young lass tried to outdo the next in a quest to capture Rick's love and affection.

"No way could I eat breakfast today," Gladys piped up. "Can't afford to let a few extra calories ruin my chances with Rick."

"Totally," Janet replied. "I think I'm going to go for a little run around the pig pen before I settle down for the day to lay my eggs. Hopefully shed a few ounces in case he saunters by."

"Oh Janet, you look great already," Gladys called out to her BFF. "Say, be honest, do these saddle feathers make my rump look fat? I oiled them up so they don't stick out as much, but I can't tell."

Janet took a quick peek at Gladys' huge rump. "No," she lied. "Not at all. That extra grease has had a real thinning effect on your back end. You look like a million bucks. Irresistible!" As Gladys smiled at her friend's praise, similar dialogue was running rampant throughout the henhouse. Every hen wanted to make sure she looked hot and sexy to impress Rick.

Well, maybe not every hen. Sandra Thompson stood back and watched the foolishness, shaking her head in disgust. As the ladies complimented each other, she was well aware of the underlying aura of deceit weaving itself through the various conversations.

I wonder if these gals have considered the fact that they are prepping themselves to attract the same rooster? she asked herself doubtfully. If this turns into a competition, things could get very messy.

Sandra stared up at the 'High Jinx Alert Meter' that sat above the door leading out to the yard. There were five distinct colours that carefully measured the level of hen drama in the henhouse.

Green meant all was wonderful.

Blue indicated that slight tensions were present.

Yellow gave notice of a growing negative energy.

Orange signified a major issue had developed and a serious crisis was looming.

Red represented full-scale Henhouse High Jinx. A meltdown was unavoidable.

The needle was slowly shifting from green to blue. Although safe for the moment, Sandra was deeply concerned that a competition for Rick would have a negative impact on the brood. She had seen hen drama escalate before, and the chaotic results were never pretty. Sandra vowed to watch the meter closely and report to Mr. Stevens immediately if things appeared to be spiraling out of control.


* * *

Darryl and Dwayne arrived at the Rooster Club and carefully approached Rick, who was relaxing in his stall. Drawing closer, they noticed rings of smoke passing above him. "Is he smoking?" Darryl asked Dwayne curiously. He had never seen a rooster smoke before. For that matter, he had never seen a cigarette before either.

"I think he is," replied Dwayne nervously. They had always been taught as young cockerels that smoking was a very nasty and unhealthy habit to take up. As a result, Farmer Johnston's coop was of the non-smoking variety. Tobacco of any kind was strictly taboo.

"Uh, Mr. Rick, sir, we brought you some food," Darryl stammered, breaking the ice. "Where would you like us to leave it?"

Rick slowly turned around, cigarette hanging from his beak. "You boys are bothering my 'lone-time'," he barked. "Just leave it on the floor there. I'll get to it when I get to it."

The not so dynamic duo stood and stared at Rick with admiration. His voice was awesome, so gravely and tough. His movements were awesome, the way he shrugged them off like they were tiny mounds of sheep dung. Rick, and everything about him, was awesome.

"Did you guys hear me?" Rick snarled. "I said, leave the food over there. What are you, stupid or something? Do I need to talk slower or spell it out for you?"

Darryl and Dwayne shook their heads and carefully placed the food tray on the floor of Rick's stall. Both looked back at him hopefully before Darryl finally mustered up enough courage to speak. "Listen Rick," he said uneasily. "You may not have noticed the signs, but this is a nonsmoking coop."

"Really dumb rule," Dwayne quickly added before Rick could respond. "I hate it."

"Totally dumb," Darryl agreed. "But, uh, I'd hate for a cool bird like you to land in any hot water because of some ridiculous regulation."

Rick glared at the two simpletons and took another haul off his cigarette; blowing a waft of foul smelling, second hand smoke back in their faces. "I saw the signs just fine," he retorted with a sly grin. "All six of them. How could I not see them? Blasted things are posted everywhere. However, I chose to ignore them," he snarled. "I tend to ignore a lot of things that I think are stupid. It's amazing I haven't chosen to ignore you two idiots yet."

Darryl and Dwayne stood silently; sporting their trademark, blank gazes. The two were definitely not the sharpest roosters in Farmer Johnston's barnyard. Combined, they sported an IQ roughly equivalent to that of a dead skunk. They weren't really sure how to respond, so they just tilted their heads, opened their beaks, and stared at Rick.

Rick stared back. Finally realizing he wasn't dealing with the intellectually gifted, his tone lightened a little. "Listen fellas, you two seem like you have the potential to not be lame," he finally remarked. "And, you did bring me food. So here, I have a little something for you." Rick reached under his wing, pulled out a couple of cigarettes and held them out for the boys to examine. "Have a smoke boys," he offered. "It'll help you digest your mealworm, and make you a lot less gassy."

Dwayne looked at Darryl, Darryl looked at Dwayne, and Dwayne slowly nodded. "Sure man that would be great. It's been awhile since I was able to enjoy a good smoke," he lied. Truth was, like Darryl, Dwayne had never seen a real cigarette either. But, in fear of looking like a loser in front of Rick, he extended his wing and graciously accepted the freshly lit gift. He wasn't really sure what to do with it so he stuck it in his beak and sucked in deeply.

Dwayne realized, almost instantly, that smoking wasn't his cup of tea. As he drew in the foul tasting poisons, his lungs began palpitating, doing their best to reject the toxic sludge. Dwayne's face reddened and his cheeks bloated out like a puffer fish. Eyes bulging, his comb involuntarily shillyshallied back and forth spastically. With a loud sputter the cigarette shot out of his beak like a cannonball and landed at Rick's feet. Dwayne keeled over, hacking up a stream of yellowy mucus; his body trying to rid itself of the grimy tar that had just infiltrated his bronchial tubes.

Rick chuckled as he picked up the glowing cigarette with his wing. "Guess it must have been a real long while since your last smoke," he scoffed. "Like maybe never?" Dwayne was too busy wheezing and coughing to disagree. Shaking his head in disgust, Rick turned his attention to Darryl.

"How about you, rubberneck? You any more suave than this moron?"

Darryl responded with a vigorous nod. "Uh, well, ya, for sure," he chirped. "I smoke all the time. Can't get more suave than me."

"Sure," Rick replied sarcastically. "We'll see about that."

Darryl's smoking experience turned out even worse than Dwayne's. As he inhaled, a burning sensation festered in his lungs. The taste in his beak could be likened to that of cleaning a public toilet with his tongue. Collapsing to the ground, he choked and sputtered, as his body tried to stop the convulsions in his trachea and nasal passage.

Rick leaned over, reclaimed the glowing stick from Darryl, and stuck it back in his own beak. "Here I thought you guys could be cool. You're nothing more than a couple of losers. Get your sorry combs out of my stall! Beat it!"

Both Darryl and Dwayne tried to pull themselves together, still gasping and gagging. Both dropped their heads in shame. They really were a couple of idiots. Fools. There was no way they would ever be cool enough to hang out with Rick. He was way too awesome for them.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from HENHOUSE HIGH JINX by ROB DAVIES, ERIC COMEAU. Copyright © 2013 Rob Davies. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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