Poultry In Motion…a funny short story from your wacky motivational speaker

Okay, usually I follow the motivational speaker handbook and bring my readers something deep and thought-provoking. But not today. Today I want to take you to Prides Hollow, my tiny little town about a mile and a hair past nowhere – the place where my career began. Remember that novel I told you about? The one I’m writing? Well this town is where it all takes place. I’ve been thinking that it’s time I start introducing you to these folks. And what better introduction than the story of the time the senior citizen bus hit the chicken truck up Route 29. Please excuse the typos and blaring grammatical errors. Just look at this as if you are getting the uncut unedited version. Hope it brings a smile! Love, Kelly

Poultry in Motion… by Kelly Swanson

It was another quiet day at the Fix ‘N Stitch Medical Center when we got word that a bus full of senior citizens had run into a chicken truck up Route 29. This was big news to a small town whose last major excitement occurred when Harvey swallowed his hearing aid at the potluck supper. (He won the bet, by the way, but unfortunately couldn’t hear the applause.) Apparently, the seniors were returning home from their vineyard tour and were already in a mild wine-induced state of hysteria over having lost Mertice at the rest station. She had wandered back on the wrong bus and instead of heading home to meet her family at the Denny’s for a birthday celebration, found herself sitting tall in her daisy-covered cardigan with matching change purse, chatting amicably with a group of cross-dressing pageant queens from Buncam who, according to Mertice, may have been gender-challenged, but certainly knew the right shade of foundation to minimize a five o’clock shadow. Edsel, who was driving, did not have time to dodge the chicken truck or the lone chicken that hit the windshield first in what some are now calling a suicide mission. And that’s how the chicken truck ran into the senior citizen bus up Route 29, causing a commotion that would have caused traffic to back up for miles – if we had traffic to begin with.

Ernestine Finglebottom, who was sitting on her front porch writing in her diary when she witnessed the whole thing, said there was a horrendous screeching of tires, clashing of metal, and great gnashing of teeth, whereupon chicken feathers blanketed the scene in what she titled in that day’s diary entry: Poultry in Motion. We questioned her on the “gnashing of teeth” part and she admitted that she wasn’t sure what that meant, but she’d been waiting for years to use it. Ernestine was a self-appointed wordsmith with a vivid imagination considering that at the time of said accident both vehicles were traveling at the speed of my Great Aunt Lilly pushing her walker through the drugstore. Nobody was seriously hurt, but our victims did not know this yet and were taking full advantage of this opportunity to panic. We were low on ambulances so we borrowed some hearses from the funeral home next door. You can imagine the victims’ distress when they saw the line of somber hearses coming up over the hill, and they started looking for pearly gates and placing bets as to which side of the proverbial line they would fall.

The double doors of our medical center opened and the screeching sound of gurneys announced the end to our quiet afternoon and the beginning of what could only be described as chaos dressed in blue hair and orthopedic shoes. “All hands on deck! I repeat! All hands on deck!” Barb screamed amid the sea of wandering cardigans and disoriented chickens. Barb, head nurse, thrived on drama. She was only working at the medical center until she finished her online real estate course – a fifty-seven-piece box set that guarantees upon completion you’ll make over 100,000 dollars a month. We all agreed it showed more potential than her last project, which was producing her own exercise video. I’m still shuddering at the image of Barb in a thong leotard and leg warmers yelling, “Crunch those buttocks. Crunch those buttocks!”

Getting them all to their rooms was like herding cats, which happened to be Barb’s forté, as two years prior she was an integral part in creating the first ever feline circus (Paws for Applause) which unfortunately had fatal results with law suits still pending.

“Am I dead? Is this heaven? Just tell me! Am I dead?” Harvey yelled as I tucked in his sheets.

“No, Harvey, you are not dead,” I said. “And this is not heaven. See? Rectal thermometer is still here.” Harvey’s roommate Ethel broke out into a passionate rendition of Are You Washed in the Blood – in a shrill voice that was a full octave higher than dolphins and had caused a handful of dogs to gather outside the window.

Harvey stared at her in disbelief, grabbed my hand, and whispered, “Kill me now! Just kill me now!”

Flora Joy wouldn’t take her pain medication because she was convinced it was a conspiracy to turn her brain to mush so men could have their way with her, like she saw on that women’s channel. I took pity on the soul who would resort to having his way with Flora Joy – a woman whose mission in life was to bring facial hair back in style. Betty McAllister was upset because in all the chaos her lips had made contact with a chicken beak and now she was convinced that she had that dreaded bird flu and come to mention it, her lips were feeling a bit numb. But she didn’t want any of that conspiracy medication either, thank you very much – the last time she let a man have his way with her, he stayed for a month. Mrs. DeWitt kept yelling for room service because her sheets were a little scratchy, and could we please bring in one of those sweet little Vietnamese ladies to come do her nails. Loretta Cash was screaming for a piece of paper to write her last wishes, making it quite clear that she did not, and I repeat, did not, want anyone to pull the plug – by golly, she wanted to live. It soon became obvious she would be in the minority on that vote. Five minutes around that woman and you wanted to pull the plug. Please, let there be a plug.

Buster Tate, who was so inebriated we had to strap him into his bed, needed stitches – not from the car accident, but from racing the gurneys down the hall. He took out two food carts, a ficas tree, and a feeble old lady before crashing into first place. The old lady was okay, but would forever need therapy to handle the flashbacks of Buster’s hairy rear end smiling out from the slit in his gown like a monkey. We had no choice but to let MayBelle do his stitches. MayBelle was 82, had been a candy striper for fifty-seven years, and had actually been laid off a decade ago, but nobody had the heart to tell her. Being an avid quilter, she was our backup plan when stitching was necessary even though her sewing skills far outweighed her ability to see. But that didn’t keep her from stitching her phone number across Booker’s chest. Maybelle was secretly looking for husband number three and could be unabashedly forward when it came to pursuing men.

The lobby soon filled with tearful relatives carrying casseroles and fighting over who would sing at Grandpa’s funeral and who would get Granny’s set of ceramic pig bookends when she took off for that giant bingo table in the sky. And just when the chaos hit a crescendo, the clock struck four and the senior citizens froze in mid-sentence, looked at each other, and bolted – for nothing can light a spark under a group of well-meaning senior citizens like the call of the early bird special. The mother ship had called them home. And just like that, they were gone. And all was quiet again as the doors closed on the last patient and all that lingered behind was one chicken feather drifting to the ground like a streamer left behind after New Year’s Eve. And we settled back into the tranquility of small town living, every now and then stealing a longing glance out the window towards the horizon – wondering what would come next to break the spell.


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
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  1. Hysterical. Brilliant. Very very VERY funny pictures you paint there Ms. Kelly. I LOVE this and hope to see a whole book of these fabulous stories… Love, love, love.

  2. Thank you Ms. Linda!!! Glad you like it! It was a treat for me, because I wrote it, gosh, about ten years ago, and found it by accident in my story file. Forgot I even wrote it. So I got the thrill that few writers have – to read what they’ve written as if for the first time.  Now I remember why I love these characters and I love that town. Now I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. I have come full circle.


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