September 27, 2014

A Small Favor

achicken.jpgIn the account books of friendship, a balance can never be struck. Favors are always owing. True, there's some sort of record and you can, if you really push it, get overdrawn, but the Bank of the Friend is very forgiving of minor transgressions and small inconveniences. You can be lounging about on a weekend morning with no intention of dressing and driving out into the cold, but the call comes in and you saddle up.

Ringtone: "Hello."

"I need help with my equipment I used in the sermon."

"I thought that was just going to be one telephone."

"It got more elaborate."

("Elaborate" is a word he uses when he let his imagination get the better of his judgement. In general, he believes in simple things: zen gardens, books of quotations or jokes, a single perfect leaf next to a perfect rock, wood floors instead of shag rugs. Over the years his friends have learned to fear "elaborate.")

"More 'elaborate' huh?"

"Well, I wanted it to be a memorable sermon."

(This was in response to an invitation to give a speech at a certain Seattle church's 50th Anniversary.)


"It started when I decided to give the sermon in the chicken suit."

(He owns three full-body yellow-feathered chicken suits -- with heads. There are full-body bunny suits as well and there was once, briefly, a full-body pink gorilla suit, but that's two other stories.)

"But they've already seen the chicken suit."

"That's exactly what I thought so I decided to dress it up."


"So I went down to The Love Connection by Lake Union."

(The Love Connection is a local "Adult" Toy Shop with a special line of lingerie, leather wear, and expensive, very large dildos for the truly ambitious.)


"I told the woman at the store that I needed a large size set of red sequined bra and panties. She nodded and looked me over." (He's a large bearded man.) "It was clear she got requests like mine every day."

"I imagine that she does, this being Seattle, the headwaters of the Gay Bear community of the Greater North West. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

"Yes, but I had to explain to her that size was an issue. It had to go over my full-body chicken suit."

"What did she say to that?"

"She said, 'Oooo, kinky!' and then she got me some really spectacular foundation garments."

"I've always said that it would take a man like you to make a woman like you."

"Hey, I wanted to make my sermon memorable."

"I see that you were well on the way, but where do I come in?"

"It started with the telephone. I had to get a prop telephone. So I went to Archie McPhee."

(Archie McPhee in Seattle is the ground zero for bizarre gifts, weird props, practical jokes and rubber chickens. It is where you go when you need something nobody has.)

"We've all told you time and again to stay out of that store. It's like smoking crack for you."

"I know, I know. But I needed a prop telephone quick. One with a body, a headset and a dial."

"Did you score?"

"Yes, of course. But when I was in the store I noticed that they had a cake for rent."

"A rental cake? Doesn't that get a bit stale?"

"Not that kind of cake, Jake. But a great cake. You know, the kind that strippers can jump out of."

"More elaborate, right?"

"Exactly. In one blinding instant I put me, in a chicken suit, wearing a sequined bra and panties, jumping out of a cake with a telephone in my wing. Memorable."

"Not easily forgotten, true."

"So I rented the cake."


"Well, it is a huge cake. Six feet around at the base, four layers, five feet tall. With casters. Weighs about 125 pounds. So I had to rent a trunk. Which is where you come in."

"I'm not shoving you around a church in your chicken suit inside a five foot pink cake. Let's get that straight."

"No, no. I got that handled. Did it all. Got the cake to the church, got inside, had myself pushed out on the stage, and jumped out of the cake in the chicken suit with the foundation garments on and gave that sermon last night."


"Yes, but I don't think they're going to ask me back any time soon."

"A church has to have some standards."

"Maybe, but these are Unitarians."

"Oh. In that case, they'll probably come around."

"Anyway, I got the cake back to Archie McPhee's fine, but now I've had to return the truck way out here in Ballard and I've got no ride back. Can you come pick me up?"

"Are you still wearing the chicken suit with the bra and panties?"

"No. Of course not. Do you think I'm crazy?"



"Okay, I'm on my way, but if I see so much as a feather within a block of you I'm driving right on by."

Posted by Vanderleun at September 27, 2014 2:07 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Wow. And I thought my friends were weird.

Posted by: Duffy at January 30, 2007 10:08 AM

Everything anyone ever needed, they can get at Archie McPhee's. What do people do, in towns where there is no such treasurehouse?

Posted by: askmom at January 30, 2007 10:09 AM

Gerard..Hilarious! You are my favorite storyteller. Am I mistaken to conclude the chicken suit was worn by another of my favorites, Robert Fulghum?

Posted by: ljones at January 30, 2007 11:29 AM

In one blinding instant I put me, in a chicken suit, wearing a sequined bra and panties, jumping out of a cake with a telephone in my wing. Memorable.

Speaking as someone who gamboled down the parade route for San Antonio's Fiesta Parade, dressed in a foam rubber Silly Sally Strawberry costume, I can understand the impulse. This is just too good to be anything but the literal truth; thanks for the story!

Posted by: Mike Anderson at January 30, 2007 12:12 PM

I am appalled and humbled, simultaneously. And that's no mean feat.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at January 30, 2007 2:22 PM

I once frightened a library room full of homeschool children into apoplexy and/or lifelong issues of undetermined sorts when I burst into a small room wearing a full gorilla costume during a lesson on Africa. When they were screaming at the highest possible pitch, I thought I would reassure them by taking off the head of the costume and revealing (I thought) my well known face. But with mascara streaming and my hair plastered to my head with sweat, I only inspired greater heights of terror.

Only when my friends began literally screaming and yelling, "Get out! Get out!" did I know the extent of my mistake.

Shorter lesson.

Costumes rarely work.

Posted by: NANA at January 30, 2007 2:30 PM

Well, at least he didn't try to imitate the 12th imam jumping out of a well.

Posted by: Connecticut Yankee at January 30, 2007 4:41 PM

Will you be able to share the sermon text with us? With an introduction like that...

Posted by: Cris at January 31, 2007 9:43 AM

Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
I must admit that I am curious about the specifics of this memorable sermon.

Posted by: Ben USN (Ret) at February 1, 2007 4:18 AM

askmom: If they've got any sense, they go online.

Ah, friends. The reason for 4AM drives on ice.

Posted by: B. Durbin at February 1, 2007 11:17 AM

Hey, am I going to get a bra and panties for my chicken suit?

Posted by: marthabee at February 2, 2007 10:18 AM

Everything anyone ever needed, they can get at Archie McPhee's. What do people do, in towns where there is no such treasurehouse?

Spencer Gifts.

Posted by: James Cloninger at February 14, 2007 10:29 PM

Speaking of pink gorilla suits, you might enjoy this story.

Posted by: Julie at September 27, 2008 7:58 AM

I'm trying, without success, to figure out what the topic of the sermon might have been. Obviously something connected with the 50th anniversary of the church, but I'm at a loss after that. Please share the text if you can get it.

Posted by: waltj at September 27, 2008 7:59 AM

Spencer Gifts.

Maybe...but can you get a genuine Devil Ducky there?

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at September 27, 2008 8:02 AM

Now there's an idea for Obama's inauguration. What will pop out of the cake?

Posted by: james wilson at September 27, 2008 9:23 AM

There will be no Obama inauguration. If elected, he will have himself crowned. If defeated, he will incite his loyal hordes of "world citizens" to overthrow the U.S. so he can be crowned anyway.

He can simply make a few alterations to the Presidential Seal and the Coronation Columns of Denver and he'll be all set. I'm sure the storehouses at Castle Huffpo have a suitable tiara.

Posted by: askmom at September 27, 2008 9:53 AM

Heheheheheh! Had to go over to Fulghum's site to see if he had mentioned that. Had to be him. No-one else in the whole world would do that.

Posted by: CharleyMike at September 27, 2008 9:59 AM


"It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It"

Of course, the same Mr. Fulghum.

Posted by: Yanni.Znaio at September 28, 2008 12:23 AM

I never cared for the Rev's book "Everything you need to know..., it was held as a revelation rivaling the ten commandments by the Seattle progs when it was published. But anybody who will jump out of a cake, in a church, wearing a chicken suit with sequined bra and panties is aces in my book.

Posted by: westsoundmodern at June 2, 2009 11:18 AM

What a friend we have.

N. Jesus

Posted by: N. Jesus at June 2, 2009 12:39 PM

Yeh, but I bet they got you a dozen eggs for "gas" money.

Posted by: indyjonesouthere at April 27, 2013 10:53 AM

This is my favorite "story." Actually, I know someone who might have pulled this off. Great pick-me-up for a dreary morning.

Posted by: JeanMM at April 30, 2013 9:20 AM

"Maybe, but these are Unitarians."
Would you be surprised that I had guessed this before I reached this point?

Posted by: ap at September 27, 2014 3:40 PM

My uncle Letsgo Lozko, he woulda been proud. The part about the chicken suit that is.

Posted by: chasmatic at September 28, 2014 11:50 AM

This says more about the state of the people in churches today than anything. How do we start a spiritual fire that is necessary to turn this ship of fools around! WAKE UP AMERICA

Posted by: Arlie at October 1, 2014 2:54 PM