(The following writing is based on real life events, or at least that’s what I assumed it went like.)
Hugh Montgomery frowned. He pushed back his Pince-Nez eye glasses onto his nasal bridge and examined the objects strewn on the examination table. Hugh’s turtleneck felt like it was strangling him, so he loosened it around the neck. The heat from the Kentucky sunshine was blistering and he took out his pager; it was only eleven in the morning. Montgomery suddenly felt an irrational hate towards the sun. He was working for Christ’s sake. The remorse easily washed away, scientists knew better than to be unnerved by inanimate objects.
Montgomery looked at his associates. Cruz Guerrero was jotting something in his notepad, a grim expression on his dark face. Dicksworth was already asleep, and the Beastie Boys playing off his Walkman were clearly audible. Montgomery sighed.
“Dicksworth, Goddamn it!”
He woke with a start and looked at his boss.
“I think you’re cruzin’ for a bruising,” Montgomery chuckled at his own joke.
Guerrero was not impressed. He did not raise his head in courteous acknowledgement as expected.
“Let’s get to work boys,” Montgomery told them, “But I seem to be missing something…”
He looked at the examination table once more. The sternum was there, along with the pelvis and the clavicle. The fibula and the tibia were nowhere to be found…...
“This is our last sample boys” Montgomery looked worried, “Who has the drumstick?!”
Dicksworth, as usual, was clueless as to what was going on. Cruz Guerrero just shrugged. He went inside the house instead. Moments later, he emerged with a cold beer that had already been cracked open. Montgomery went almost frantic.
“Guerrero! Now is not the time, for crying out loud! We need to find that drumstick”.
Guerrero retorted, “But what am I supposed to wash the chicken down with boss?”
“You won’t have anything to wash any food down with ever again if we don’t find this God forsaken drumstick!”
Montgomery’s brow was sweating profusely.
“Because you won’t have a job,” Dicksworth interjected matter-of-factly.
He was ignored.
“Can’t believe I got a Doctorate’s degree in Osteology for this,” Montgomery muttered, almost woefully. He took out his handkerchief and wiped his forehead.
“Let me go ask Martha then, maybe she knows where it is.”
With that, Hugh Montgomery left the backyard in search of his wife. He found her immediately in the kitchen, with their annoying neighbor Debra, engaged in a heated discussion about competitive diaper companies. Hugh realized she was always around. Anyways….
“Oh!” Debra exclaimed as soon as she became aware of poor Hugh’s presence, “Let’s ask Hugh, he’s a doctor he must know!”
Montgomery replied curtly, “I’m not a diaper kind of doctor Debra and I’m truly quite busy now, I’m working.”
“But I smell barbeque in the backyard.”
“Yes, we’re working. Now please-”
Martha Montgomery, sensing her husband’s patience waning, decided to step in.
“Debby dear, Hugh here is working on a research paper for the University of Kentucky about chicken.”
“Now, Martha, it’s more complicated than that,” Hugh was clearly insulted by this over-simplification of his work and made no effort to mask his annoyance, “Me and my team are conducting a study about how the bone of modern meat-type chickens develops under typical commercial conditions and how it develops in genetic precursor stock.”
Debra did not understand.
“So, you eat the chicken?”
“Of course, to get the bones. Now I’m missing some bones and it is imperative that I get them.”
“Why don’t you buy another chicken and replace the bone?”, Debra suggested.
Hugh was fed up now. He hastily explained how the chickens were grown under specific conditions and only those chicken bones could be used for the study. After failing to find the drumstick, he went back into the backyard, defeated. Martha and Debra went on about how Huggies diapers could hold more pee than Snuggles diapers.
Dicksworth was at the barbeque stand, attending to the meats. He occasionally dipped his brush into the sauce container and ran it over the chicken with the grace of a Renaissance painter. Hugh lost it.
“Do you know how hard it was to get Barb from Finances to get the sauce expenditure into the annual research budget?! Take it easy there!”
Cruz Guerrero had finished his beer and was relaxing in the garden chair.
Two chicken frames lay on the examination table. One was complete, the other was missing a drumstick. They had already weighed them and noted the information. Ten birds had been provisioned to them by the university for the study; Montgomery, Dicksworth and Cruz Guerrero had eaten all but two. And those two were before them now.
“We’re screwed gentlemen; I couldn’t find the drumstick” Montgomery delivered the bad news.
“Ah, jefe, what are we to do now?” Cruz Guerrero looked genuinely concerned, “And our next study was going to be on pig bone structure, what misfortune!”
Hugh replied sadly, “You can forget about pork and bacon now Cruz. We’re going to get fired. In retrospect, we should not have eaten all those chickens. Anyway what’s done is done.”
“What if we just go with it like that boss?”
Montgomery screamed, “NO Dicksworth! You know how much that chicken’s worth to us without the darn drumstick?”
“Don’t. Por favor,” Cruz Guerrero pleaded.
“Dick’s worth?”, Dicksworth offered an answer.
“EXACTLY!”, Montgomery concurred. Bad joke at a bad time, he thought to himself. He needed to refrain from cringe…
As he was thinking of better jokes, he spotted a small auburn-haired head protrude momentarily from the corner of the house. It was a greasy, oily face he saw, although he could not be sure; It had only been a split second. Then it dawned on him….
Of course! Hugh Montgomery ran frantically towards where the ominous mystery head had been sighted. Cruz Guerrero and Dicksworth were in hot pursuit. As he turned the corner of his house, his heart sank. It was exactly as he had feared.
Cassie, Montgomery’s eight-year-old daughter who had just finished off the last meat off Hugh’s case study drumstick, was throwing the bone in Rufus’ meal plate in a bid to get rid of the evidence. Rufus emerged from his kennel immediately and gobbled up Hugh Montgomery’s tibia and fibula before he could say ‘Stop’. The drumstick was nothing but a memory at this point. Cassie - sensing that danger was eminent and a threat was looming in form of her father - ran into the house giggling.
Hugh Montgomery did not speak. He passed Cruz Guerrero and Dicksworth without a word. He went inside the house, grabbed his sweater and changed into his capri pants. He took his car keys and wallet and went outside.
Dicksworth immediately asked as he saw Hugh, “Where to?”
Hugh Montgomery looked at him then finally spoke.
“Come on gentlemen. We’re going to Walmart. To buy a chicken.”