One Thursday not too long ago, my cousin Kenny and his chum John drove to North Bay from Sault Ste. Marie. We were renting an overnight ice hut on Lake Nipissing that weekend.
It just so happened the stars aligned for me to scoot into Sudbury for a business meeting, leaving my Sportage behind to carpool with coworkers. It gave me a chance to see my folks before jumping in with the duo from the Soo, the entire day perfectly timed to get a visit in without having to drive the three-hour return trip.
Little did I know the Missing Chicken Mystery would begin just two hours after leaving my mom's place.
It was fluke luck my coworkers wanted to converge at the Sobey's grocery store in North Bay. It gave me the opportunity to do much-needed grocery shopping to feed the guest stomachs while also being close to my bank with a drive-thru window.
Little did I know my stop to withdraw cash would add a potential crime scene to the growing list in the disappearing poultry case. Other locations of interest include the parking lot and my hacienda itself.
After going through the checkout, Kenny testified he grabbed the bag with the cooked chicken and then deposited it on the passenger front seat of my Kia before the two vehicles split up. He and John were going straight to the house in Corbeil while I deked over to the Royal Bank. I saw him putting bags into my car and I seem to recall the delicious smell of barbecue-spiced barn birds, but it all seems so blurry now.
I do remember that both drive-thrus were closed with the entire area taped off like it was a construction site, complete with snow banks shoveled in as a large, square barrier. I circled around and then parked near several others who also needed to use the bank machines inside.
That's the last time I recall seeing the chicken.
There was a small measure of chaos after I pulled into the hacienda driveway and found Kenny's big F150 blocking my "garage." It's just one of those temporary tarp sheds, otherwise known as kites if you don't secure them to the ground somehow. Mine is up on pieces of an old telephone pole so there's about a foot of extra clearance. Some people put them on cinder blocks.
Anyway. I've got immediate parking issues and end up pulling on by to the back steps. I got out of the car not sure what I was grabbing, more concerned with telling the cuz to move the damn truck.
We decided to make the switch before unpacking and it gets a bit blurry from there.
It wasn't until we were on our second or third beers and we started getting hungry that the curtain went up on the Missing Chicken Mystery.
Picture the three of us all taking turns retracing our steps, each vehicle being searched twice or three times. The hacienda was chickenless, as far as we could tell, without a good explanation.
It was with some reticence that I put a couple slabs of frozen salmon in the oven. We were already down a dinner and I was jinxing the trip by eating fish for our last land meal. It could be an affront to the minnow world.
After consuming most of the beer and several cookies, we ate some salmon anyway.
In the morning, it was expected to find the chicken outside resting on a snowbank, likely torn apart by nocturnal critters and ravens.
But no. There wasn't a chicken bone to be found, although there seemed to be some kind of poultry curse in the air.
Head-scratcher for the rest of the day as we drove back toward other potential crime scenes.
THE WRITING OF THIS STORY WILL CONTINUE ...