Prompt: Write a story where a series of surreal, unbelievable events occur around a completely oblivious character who slowly munches on their chicken sandwich

Smith Lyleson is seven and a half years old. Mum’s working a double shift so she leaves him ten bucks for lunch. Smith rides his bike to the Church’s Chicken on 8th ave at precisely eleven fifty-eight a.m. Just in time for lunch.

The boy walks into the bright-yellow fried chicken joint with the intention of eating a delicious sandwich. Unbeknownst to Smith, he’s about to set off a chain of events resulting in a brutal military defeat.

“I’ll have a fried chicken slammer with gravy,” Smith says.

“Coming right up,” says the Church’s Chicken employee.

Outside of Church’s Chicken, a deep-state agent sweats it out in a compact bush. Reporting will mean the beginning of the end – the existence of this slaughterhouse will provide ample motivation for war. Agent Cluck isn’t sure he wants war – he’s got a good hen at home and a nice-looking batch of eggs waiting to hatch.

Cluck monitors the situation inside the restaurant and he watches as a human child sits at a table to unwrap a sandwich. Disgust rises up in Cluck’s gullet as he watches the human child take a bite of fried chicken. One of Cluck’s brethren, coated in flour and fried in oil. Watching Smith eat the sandwich with great pleasure proves to be the breaking point and Cluck radios in.

“Positive ID on the death camp. Poorly reinforced – I have no eye on troops. Good to go,” said Cluck.

“Copy that Cluck, stand pat, we’re comin’ in hot,” says the radio.

Smith eats his sandwich slowly, though he’s bothered by the manager in the back of Church’s screaming at an employee for dropping a soda in the cash register.

Knowing a chicken sandwich is always improved by some good music, Smith plugs in his head phones and starts listening to some sweet tunes on his phone.

A four foot motorized steel egg with big, off-road capable wheels pulls up outside of Church’s Chicken. A mechanized hatch lifts from the side of the egg and the Chicken assault unit rolls out. Major McNugget emerges last, a cubano cigar hanging from his gnarled beak.

“All right ladies, we’re hot in enemy territory so let’s make it quick. Go in hard, go in fast and cluck their shit up,” Major McNugget orders.

“Bakahh,” the others cry in chorus.

Corporal Cock L. Doodle leads the strike from cover of the door. He peaks around the corner with frantically searching eyes like black buttons.

“Caw-clear!” he caws, before forcing the door open with help of several feathered comrades. Once inside, the chickens spread out. They witness a human child, little more than an egg, eating a sandwich and listening to music with it’s eyes closed. One of the chickens takes a step forward, but Corporal Doodle holds out a wing. “Leave the little ones,” he says. The chickens moved passed Smith and scuttle towards the counter.

No one is manning the till, and Smith is the only customer in the store, so the chickens are given free reign to leap over the counter. They slide across the grease-slicked marble surface with curled talons. Private Poulet slips and falls awkwardly to the brick-tiled floor below. He doesn’t make it.

“No,” cries Corporal Doodle.

“Leave him,” shouts Private Poultry.

“Dammit,” says Corporal Doodle.

The trio of tactical strike chickens burst into the kitchen like Hades’ hounds unleashed at the gates of the underworld. Corporal Doodle jumps into the air on powerful legs, flapping his wings and pecking at flesh.

The manager of Church’s Chicken screams and runs for the back door, though the door is locked, and he’s slammed unconscious as he hits the unyielding steel frame going full speed.

“One down,” cries Corporal Doodle. “Press the attack.”

The remaining employee is Dodie, a sixty-five year old chain smoker who carries a brick in her purse in case ‘any man get’s too fresh.’ The purse, a product of paranoid preparation, proves to be Dodie’s saving grace.

She strikes out fiercely with the skill of a practiced warrior, hammering Private Poultry in the breast and sending the chicken flying.

“No,” screams Officer Oeuf.

“Attack,” Corporal Doodle commands. He leaps up and sinks his beak into Dodie’s rubbery flesh. Dodie cries and flails with the purse, striking her own wrist as Doodle releases his grip just in time.

“You little fuckers,” Dodie spits. “You’re food not fighters.”

“We want the freedom to choose our destiny,” cries Officer Oeuf. Dodie absorbs none of this message because Oeuf is a chicken. Instead she simply hears a chicken hissing at her in the back of a fast food restaurant.

Dodie’s eyes get mean and both chickens take cautious steps back. She starts swinging the purse in two semi-circles on either side of her body. “Come get some you cocks,” she says.

The chickens are forced back to the counter, where Private Poulet’s body has already attracted a horsefly.

“I want you to run,” Corporal Doodle says.

“But Doodle,” says Officer Oeuf.

“Just do it. This battle is lost,” Doodle says.

Officer Oeuf caws but finally nods his head.

“Climb on my back and jump – you should be able to make it.”

Oeuf claws his way onto Doodle’s back and leaps, flapping his wings. The small boost in height lifts the chicken over the counter where he sails on wings and hits the ground running. Oeuf doesn’t register Smith on his way out.

“No where to run now,” Dodie says. “I need to take care of you before the food inspector arrives.”

Corporal caws defiantly before flapping ineffectively into the purse’s arc. The brick crushes the bones in Doodle’s skull and he falls, another victim of the war on fried chicken.

Back at chicken high-command, an abandoned farm in the country, Oeuf reports the outcome of the mission to five senior cocks with grave expressions.

“Dammit,” says General Free-Graze. “They were three of our best. It’ll take years to train new ones.”

Oeuf hangs his beak in shame.

“No,” says General Free-Graze. “Never hang your beak, you did your best. We’re chickens god dammit, we were overmatched.”

“What are we going to do?” Oeuf asks.

General Free-Graze sighs. “Add the location to our black-site list.”

Oeuf walks over to a bulletin board that covers the entire wall and adds a black and white polaroid of Church’s Chicken to hundreds of other pictures.

Smith finishes his sandwich and pulls out his headphones. He leaves the wrapper and tray on the table. Mum would probably make him throw it away but she’s not here and he doesn’t want to do chores.

A trail of bright-white feathers leads outside from the counter. That’s weird. Smith walks out of Church’s Chicken and unlocks his bike. He gets on and starts peddling, but not before a chicken runs out from a bush and stops right underneath his wheel. Smith swerves to avoid the chicken, almost falls, but catches his balance and continues on. He looks back over his shoulder. Boy, Church’s Chicken has gone to seed, as mum likes to say.

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