Fiction from Chris Haven

Puffy white clouds in a blue sky

Photo: Avess

Chicken Little, the Later Years

So Chicken Little is sitting around, and that good for nothing Turkey Lurkey comes by and says hey, the sky is falling. Chicken Little says to Turkey Lurkey you’re full of crap. And then Henny Penny and Lucy Goosey and all the other birdbrains come by and say the same thing and Chicken Little says I heard this story before and I’m not buying it. And so Wooly Bully says it’s a metaphor, the actual sky isn’t coming down in big blue chunks, but instead the world as we know it is coming unraveled. Chicken Little dislikes that metaphor and says the world was never a ball of yarn to begin with. So then Achy Snakey—where’d he come from—slithers up and says what is happening is the ground is being pulled away from underneath us. Chicken Little says you mean a rug and Achy Snakey says I said what I meant because the sky is less important to me than the ground. Then Schemer Lemur calls down from the tree and says Blight! Blight is the problem! Trees the world over will soon be felled by blight! Chicken Little rolls her eyes and says can’t I get a minute’s peace. Finally Groggy Froggy hobbles over and Chicken Little says if you say one thing about a shortage of lily pads, I’m gonna block you. Chicken Little tells them all to go back home, everybody already knows all these things, they’re all happening to all of us at all times. They all go off muttering something about what a lousy storyteller she’s turned out to be and what she keeps to herself is the sad thing about the stories. Wait till you find out what’s happening to all the stories.

Chris Haven’s prose appears in Electric Literature, Jellyfish Review, CHEAP POP, Cincinnati Review miCRo, and Kenyon Review. One of his stories is listed in Best American Short Stories 2020, and his debut collection of short stories, Nesting Habits of Flightless Birds, was published by Tailwinds Press in 2020. Bone Seeker, a collection of poems, was published by NYQ Books in March 2021. He teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

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