Vicki Doudera here, with a classic locked door puzzle that happened last week, right here in Camden. So close to home that I was still in my p.j.’s when I discovered the body.
I will probably never know the whole story, but let me tell you what I do know.
At approximately six a.m., I trudged across the dewy lawn of my backyard and unlocked a small door. It swung open to reveal a scene that made me exhale in horror.
Penny lay still on some cedar shavings, her eyes closed. A few of her roommates milled nervously around her body, while others peered down from their vantage point high in the corner. I asked what had happened, but no one was talking. Finally I released the seven roommates (or should I say, suspects?) into a holding pen and turned my attention to the corpse.
My first thought was that an intruder had forced his way into the small structure. Glancing at the exits, I saw no sign of forced entry, and all windows were closed.
I then examined Penny for bruising or signs of blood. She looked untouched, her feathers golden in the early morning light.
In fact, she looked so good that I lay my hand on her breast, looking for a heartbeat. Nothing – and yet her body was still warm. Whatever had happened to this poor chick had taken place only minutes before I arrived.
Sitting back on my haunches, I tried to figure out why she’d died. Was she pushed off the perch? Was this a case of murder most fowl?
Was it merely a misstep? Had Penny plunged to her death accidentally before the other hens’ horrified eyes?
Or was Penny simply sick and tired of being cooped up in her luxurious hen house? Had she
made the fateful decision to end it all on that sunny summer morning?
Here’s the bigger question, and one I know what you’re all wondering — did I eat her for dinner?
I did not.
Instead, I trudged back across the lawn in search of a spade, dug a hole amongst some hostas, and gave poor Penny a proper pet burial. She was a good chicken, and a reliable layer, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed roasting her (not to mention plucking all those feathers.)
I have a theory as to what happened. What about you? Care to solve the Case of the Cold Chicken with me?