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ADVENTURES IN METER READING - "The King of the Little Miami"

In a remote Ohio town on the Little Miami river there lives a creature so ruthless that when I pulled within a mile of his "kingdom" I knew he could smell my fear. He goes by many names; the ultimate intimidator, El Pollo Chapo, Big Jerry, Alice Unchained. But I simply knew him as the King of the Little Miami.

As a meter reader you come to accept animals as part of the job. Every other household will typically have some kind of pet you'll encounter or come into contact with. But this story is not about any kind of pet. No, that would infer that this animal had a heart, but I'm fairly certain he was only made of steel and feathers. This bully checks in at 3 feet tall with 30 pounds of pure pecking power. That's right, I'm talking about the meanest rooster to have ever lived.

Me and the "King" met on only a few occasions (thank god). And none of them were pleasant encounters. But perhaps our first bout was probably the most memorable one. Let me paint the picture for you.

It started in the driveway when I pulled up. As I'm checking my notes on my computer for where the meter is, I can feel this set of beaming eyes on me. You know that feeling when the hair on your neck stands up and you just feel a presence? Yeah, THAT. Was it the goat? Nope. The horse? Nah. I look a little further down the fence line and there stands the Sug Knight of roosters in a deep furious stare. He was shaking ever so slightly which I can only attest to being a controlled rage. I swear he spit on the ground like a batter who just got hit by a 99 mph fastball and is about to charge the mound. I stared back in utter awe of the size of this bird. I can't be certain, but I'm confident when I say that's when he decided my life should no longer exist on planet Earth.

Now truth be told I lived by a theory as a meter reader. I can take on any one animal and win. Don't care the size or breed, I will divide and conquer. And that was perhaps a little cocky of me (yes pun intended). But that's "how I rolled" and I wasn't about to be intimidated by a "roid raging" chicken. So I gathered my computer and mace and headed towards the gate.

He stood like a bouncer as I made my approach. He wasn't going to budge and I knew this much. But there's a trick I had used a million times on dogs and I was pretty sure it would work on the King too. I gave him a good stare and he puffed up like a dragon ready to burn me to ashes. Next move is to quickly fake like I'm heading to the other side of the house so the beast relinquishes his post from the gate. It worked like a charm. As he sped off around the back of the house to make sure I wasn't trying to get in on the other side, I slipped into the back yard to read the meter. I jot down the number and just as I'm set to hustle back to the gate, this shrieking sound pierces my ears. I slowly turn in horror to see how it is my life is about to end.

The King of the Little Miami stood ten feet from me and had smoke rolling through his beak and fire in his eyes. He sprawled out his coal black wings and dug his claws into the dirt like a bull ready to charge the matador. Its a little hazy at this point but he might of said "yippee ki-yay mother f#$%er". And as if a starter pistol had sounded he came charging fiercely at me with only one intention, a painful death.

And just like that I became Benny in the live action movie of The Sandlot. Only the beast wasn't a dog, it was a pissed off GIANT ROOSTER! In my best Benny imitation I dove over the six foot barbed wire fence. I was cut, I was bleeding, but I had averted the death attack of the King. As I laid there on the ground the King stood at the fence line like an evil villain behind bars, as he watched me tend to my wounds. He let out one last bellowing screech to let me know I might of gotten away this time, but next time I wouldn't be so lucky.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, roosters do not like people. In fact, there was never a "friendly" rooster I ever came across in my time as a meter reader. But none were ever quite as vicious minded as the King of the Little Miami.

May your reign live on King, and may we never meet again.

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