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What you are about to read is the only true and reliable account ever of the short life, brutal death, miraculous resurrection, and then concluding denouement of the prized pullet named Cosmo. Other events have possibly happened as startling as this, but none will be found within the confines of this esteemed newspaper that possess so peculiarly all the characteristics of such weighty subjects as life, death and second chances.

The facts of the case, as nearly as your favorite columnist could determine them from the conflicting statements of eyewitnesses -- mainly my second cousin, whose given name was Charles but for reasons lost to posterity, everyone called Tick -- were as follows:

It seems Tick decided that his small ranchette in some woods just outside of Clifty would seem more picturesque with a few chickens around. He purchased 10 chicks and let them have the run of his place. As they grew, he gave them names for various magazines from his childhood, and thus the sole rooster of the bunch was christened Playboy, while one of the hens ended up named Cosmo. After almost a year, Tick won $800 playing Break the Bank and promptly used his winnings to purchase a young Rhodesian Ridgeback hound dog that didn't have papers but did come with a studded collar free of charge.

The first morning after bringing the young dog home, Tick heard a cacophony of cackling and shrieking, and upon running outside, saw the limp body of Playboy dangling from the mouth of the tail-wagging Ridgeback. Scolding the dog harshly and giving Playboy a quick burial -- wrapped inside a 13-quart kitchen bag scented with fresh linen -- he thought the matter had been settled with the dog. Unfortunately, two more mornings went by, and two more fresh linen-scented bags were pressed into service. At this point, Tick called the high school friend from whom he had purchased the dog to discuss a possible price reduction; instead, the friend suggested a time-tested cure for the Rhodesian assassin. "The next time he kills a chicken, pick it up and beat the dog vigorously with the body in the face. Afterward, he'll never come close to killing another chicken."

Poor Cosmo was the next victim. Grabbing Cosmo's limp feet with one hand, Tick grabbed the hound by its collar with the other hand and commenced swinging. Once the hound got the gist of the situation, it started squirming, and Tick started hitting himself in the face with the prone pullet more than the Ridgeback. It was then that Cosmo apparently was shocked back into life and gave out a mighty cackle. Hearing that, the hound lunged at the revived hen. Instinctively, Tick swung Cosmo defensively at the incoming open jaws, thereby abruptly and unceremoniously ending Cosmo's second chance.

But such is life. Having a redo doesn't always end like we might think, contrary to some popular movies and wishful thinking in general. Let us all take warning by this solemn story and let us endeavor so to conduct ourselves so that when we come to die, we can do it decisively. And not be chicken about it either.

Sey Young is a local businessman, father and longtime resident of Bentonville. Email him at [email protected]

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