Chickens and cake

Robata Grill & Sushi

CHEAP EATS I put the chocolate chip cookies in my purse and of course forgot about them. There were three, homemade and perfect, and the small plastic bag that they were in immediately entangled itself with feed store receipts, directions to junkyards, takeout menus from restaurants I've been meaning to eat at for 14 years, a barrette, some lipstick, and hand cream. The pills, pen, loose change, and wads of ones go without saying, I presume. And the sunflower seeds.

My chickens, who will go to their skillets believing that grass falls out of the sky, have more of a sweet tooth than I do. Which is saying something if you know anything at all about chickens. And especially if the thing you know is that they don't have teeth. That's why they need stones and grit, to churn around in their gizzards, like nickels in a purse, and grind up the wads of grass, grain, bugs, and birthday cake that make up their diet. And sunflower seeds.

Oh, and grass does fall out of the sky, by the way, if you are one of my chickens, and you live in the woods, and the floor of your woodsy world is redwood needles and dirt but you are lucky enough to have a caring and dedicated farmer whose time, in defiance of tens of thousands of years of human thinking on the subject, is not valuable. Meaning she will happily goat around every day in greener environs, on the "other side of the fence," pulling up grass and throwing it over to your side.

Long pause.

Even longer pause ...

As long a pause as you will let me get away with without losing you to your horoscope or the page with pictures of even sexier trannies than me.

Then: birthday cake?

Well, yeah, what were you expecting? Chocolate chip cookies? Didn't I tell you I forgot about them? And that they were perfect? Whereas the cake, on the other hand, was already leftover when it was left at my shack by some superheroes. And that was more than a week ago. And my birthday isn't until May. And I don't have a sweet tooth or a sweet gizzard.

Still, I would have eaten the whole, huge, three-quarters of a cake, instead of none of it, in the interest of having healthier chickens, and therefore healthier eggs, and therefore being healthier myself ... except that the superhero who made the cake, first time ever from scratch, insisted that it sucked.

If it doesn't taste good or have nutritional value, I'll still eat it, but not if it's cake. I'll leave it on the counter until it's almost moldy and then, at the risk of one day getting my head chopped off by chickens, I'll let them eat it. As the saying goes.

I set half of three-quarters of the homemade chocolate cake on the ground and watched them treat it the way any small group of women would. Chickens see one thing out of one eye, and something else out of the other. They looked and they looked, with adoration and with horror, and then finally one took a peck and ran away. Then came back. Then they all started doing that, eating, retreating, chattering. And then they didn't bother to retreat or chatter — they just chowed down.

I put the rest of the cake in their coop, closed them up with it, and went to the city, half-expecting to come home the next morning and find them not only dead, but dead on the ceiling instead of the floor.

As we speak I am inventing spaghetti-cue, lest anyone think me a slacker. There's a bag of cookie crumbs in my purse, a carton of post–expiration date milk in the fridge, and chickens in my yard, alive, well, and running. Like every day, they have left me a nest full of eggs, some smudged with chocolate frosting.

My new favorite restaurant is Robata Grill & Sushi in Mill Valley. Not that I ate there. They let me use their phone and ladies room when my engine popped en route to the city.

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