Cockfight or Flight, by Kristen Rary

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From an interview with James Nix, conducted in June by Kristen Rary of Action News Jax, in Florida.

james nix: How can I help you?

kristen rary: We got a police report saying that a rooster was beaten.

nix: I mean, this guy is harassing me. The chicken is, hold on—how did you get the report?

rary: We get certain reports sent to us when things happen.

nix: Okay. I know every river’s got two banks. He’s got his side of the story. He’s got this chicken. It’s like a pet. A couple months ago, I’m walking with my dad and the chicken comes and hits him in the back of the leg and cuts through his jeans. His leg was bleeding. I think the chicken was a fighting chicken.

I go to my mailbox another morning and there’s the chicken out there in the street. I say, “Oh boy, here we go.” I walk back to my place, and now the chicken’s in my yard, and he’s trying to jump up at me. So, I move a little bit quicker than my dad, who he assaulted. I pick up a stick, and I try to hit it, but the chicken’s jumping up at me and I accidentally knock it in the head. Call it a lucky shot, whatever. The chicken rolled around and then it just lay down. I didn’t know how to give it CPR, mouth-to-mouth, or call the chicken ambulance. So I just left it laying there.

The neighborhood kids told him that I killed his chicken. He was screaming. I got a right to life, just like you do. If a man comes to attack you, and you know kung fu, you’re gonna hai-ya him. Simple as that.

Chickens are dying every day—at Church’s, at Popeyes. Next thing you know, he calls the police on me. And they put a tag on my mailbox. So I called and told the policewoman what happened. And she said, “I’m going to press charges for cruelty to animals.” They hauled me to jail for trying to protect myself.

rary: Uh, just one question. It said a steel pipe. Was it a metal pipe?

nix: No! A stick out of the yard! See, that’s how stories get exaggerated. I just picked it up and knocked it, tried to hit it in the tail, but it was hopping, and trying to spur me—just like it spurred my dad. And I hit it. I didn’t mean to kill it, but that’s the way it happened.

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