The flatbed of a truck, filled with chickens. Many, many chickens.

Short Story Challenge Week 28: The Chicken Bandits

Warning: This story may contain chickens. But you probably guessed that.

I decided to do something a little different with this week’s story, picking up just a story title idea and then writing it to a timed deadline just as is. I’ve edited it slightly for clarity and to enhance a few small points, but this is much rougher than I’d usually put up. Still, I kind of like it. I hope you do too.

As always, feedback and thoughts appreciated below.

For anyone joining late, I’ve challenged myself to write a short story every week for a year. If you want to catch up, you can read every short story here.

In itself, this is a repeat of a challenge I did a few years back which led to an entire collection of short stories, which you can buy as an eBook, if you would be so kind:


Buy Fifty Two through Amazon for your Kindle e-reader here.

Buy Fifty Two through Apple for your iPad or iOS devices/Macs here.

Buy Fifty Two through Smashwords for any other e-reader format here.


Want something notably different and considerably longer? There’s also my B-movie novel, Sharksplosion. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d think a book with that title might be like


Buy Sharksplosion for Amazon Kindle

Buy Sharksplosion for iBooks (iPhone, iPad, etc)

Buy Sharksplosion for all other e-readers through Smashwords


Enough of the eBook plugging, Alex.

The Chicken Bandits

The flatbed of a truck, filled with chickens. Many, many chickens.

“So, in your own words, tell me what happened.”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes, I think you really do.”

“It’s just that… aren’t I entitled to a lawyer? That’s what they always get on the telly, and that…”

“This isn’t the telly. This is real life, and you’re in real trouble, son. It’ll go much easier on you if you just tell us what happened. In your own words. That’s all you’ve got to do.”

“Um… well… where do I start… oh yeah. OK, so school ended, and we were all hanging around in the car park waiting for Dave.”

“That would be David Turner, yes?”

“Yeah, Dave, like I said. Dave’s got his own car, bought it with the money he gets from that pizza job, and he said that he’d give us a lift into town.

So we’re hanging around, me and Steve and Chris, all waiting on Dave. Anyway, eventually he turns up, and he tells us he’s going to have to drop us in town pretty quickly.”

“Why was that?”

“He’d forgotten, you see.”

“Forgotten?”

“Yeah. Forgotten that he was working at the pizza place early that day, because the regular guy had quit, gone to Adelaide I think… anyway, he needed to be there early to help out, so he didn’t have time to hang around downtown with us.

So we all piled into the car, and Dave gunned it… I mean… didn’t speed or nothing, I don’t want to say that bit… can you erase that bit from the tape?”

“No”

“Oh. Shit. Well, anyway, Dave was driving… carefully… yeah, that… and we spun round past the lookout on the hill on the way downtown. And that’s when that Ferrari hooned right past us.”

“How did you know it was a Ferrari?”

“It had that horse logo thing on it. That’s Ferrari, isn’t it? I think so. Anyway, older bloke behind the wheel, spins it out right in front of Dave, real provocative like.

Now, Dave, he’s a calm enough guy most of the time, but you do not cut him off in traffic.

No way, no day.

It’s just not done, you know?”

“So what did Mr Turner do?”

“Only thing he could do! He guns it… I mean… yeah, stuff it, he guns it, overtakes the dickhead in the Ferrari and gives him the finger as he flies past.

Only problem was, that’s when we went over the pothole, and the tyre blew out.”

“So what happened then?”

“Well, Dave tries to keep it under control, but we were going pretty fast by then, so we spins around, and his car might have just nudged the Ferrari. Just a little bit, mind, and it was his fault anyway, really…”

“What happened then?”

“Well, we were spinning, and Chris was shouting that he was gunna vomit, and I was trying to get as far away from him as I could because he can really blow chunks, solid, you know?

Anyway, the Ferrari bounces into the front yard of this rough looking place, hammers right into the verandah.

We stopped spinning, and I can hear Chris letting rip behind me, but in the other direction. Anyway, so there’s this Ferrari, basically sticking out the front of this old, rough looking house, funny as hell really.

So we all start laughing, and you know what it’s like. Once one of you gets the giggles its hard not to join in. Even Chris, once he’d wiped his mouth clean.”

“And was this when the chickens got involved?”

“No, not yet. That was later. We’re all busy busting a gut, loud as hell, and then these bikie guys start piling out of the house, staring daggers at us.

And then they pulled out some guns.”

“Firearms? You were fired upon?”

“Hell yeah. Scary as. So Dave hits the accelerator, only his car won’t turn over for a bit, and these guys are running towards us, and we’re all shouting at Dave to get the car started.

Finally it did, and we lurched away on the three remaining bald tyres… aw, dammit, can you cut that bit out too?”

“No”

“Bugger. Anyway, Dave’s trying to keep the car under control on three wheels, skidding around a bit, you know, and these guys start firing on us.

Broke the back windshield, we could hear shots hitting the back of the car, and we were just scared as we lurched down the road with these guys chasing us.”

“So what did Dave do”

“He just drove, man? What else would you do? He floored it, best as he could, and we bounced right over that big roundabout on Smith street.

We hit the ground hard, and I musta blacked out for a bit. Next thing I know we’re upside down, hanging by our seatbelts in the car.

Chris was already climbing out, and so was Steve. I checked on Dave, and he was in a bit of shock you know? So I crawled out and slapped him in the face, like they do in the movies, and that seemed to bring him around. Got him real mad, too — he screamed he was going to kick my arse, and he probably will, too.”

“Go on…”

“So we’re in the street, car’s a wreck and there’s these bikies about a block behind and still running our way. Steve spots this truck, engine idling and says we should get in it.”

“So you stole a truck?”

“Is it really stealing? We were running for our lives, mate! That can’t be classed as stealing, can it?”

“Yes. It very much can.”

“Oh. Bugger. Well, OK, you know that now, no sense crying over spilt pennies as my grandma used to say. Or something like that.

Anyway, we get in the truck, and Steve starts it up, cause Dave’s still looking like a stunned mullet, and he tries to gun it down the road.

Only thing is… ever driven a big old truck with a few hundred chooks in the back?”

“No, can’t say that I have.”

“Well, you might not know this, but they do not handle like a 1996 Holden Astra, that’s for sure.

That’s all Steve knew how to drive, because that’s what his mum’s still got, and so the first corner we come to, right near the shopping centre, Steve tips the whole thing over.

And that’s when the chickens escaped. Lots of them, there were.

We’re trying to get out of the side of the truck, clambering over each other, Dave’s effing and blinding because he can see the pizza place from where we crashed and his boss can damned sure see him, even through all them chicken feathers. Those chickens just went wild all over the place, squawking and crapping and getting everywhere.

And look, you’ve got to believe me, those bikies stopped then, but I reckon they must have heard the sirens and split. We did not start that, and we did not mean to release all them chickens neither. This is all just one big innocent mistake.”

“We’ll let the judge decide that. It might interest you to know that so far, my officers have captured some 137 chickens from the shopping centre. They’re calling you the chicken bandits on the TV.”

“TV? Cool…”

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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