Someone once said, “Perception is intentional.” I can’t remember where that comes from but when I was around eight years old I really wanted a rubber Creature from the Black Lagoon doll. I had seen them someplace. One rainswept March morning I was walking through my neighborhood when I saw one poking up in the distance. I could see it quite clearly. It was in the backyard of a Lakeshore Drive summer cottage. I knew the owners wouldn’t be back for months so I had nothing to fear as I trespassed and headed toward the little rubber monster. But as I got close I realized it wasn’t the treasure I sought but a dead and feathered chicken planted upside down in the ground. What I had thought was the doll turned out to be chicken legs and feet.
I stood there in the cold drizzle, staring at this macabre little sign – sign of what? Was it meant as a threat? Or a curse? Was it evidence of a bizarre religious ritual? Was a cult operating in my little community? A cult hostile to poultry?
Or maybe the whole thing occurred in a dream that eventually seeped like oil into my memory.
I never did get one of those damn dolls.