That’s what they called him: Chicken Suit Larry. The sad fact was, his name wasn’t even Larry. It was Dan, and he worked for the Chicken Shack on Highway 9 whose self-proclaimed claim to fame was the deep-fried chicken gizzards and spicy macaroni salad. Dan was the chicken man, the guy who came to work dressed in a chicken suit to hold up a sign that read, “Chicken Lickin’ Good!” Dan was a shy guy and no one knew his name, so the kitchen staff had taken to calling him Chicken Suit Larry.
Like most people with minimum wage jobs, Dan hated his job. He did it to pay the bills, which it barely did and sometimes did not. The only good thing about his job was the lady who stood cattycorner from him dressed as the Statue of Liberty. She was the most beautiful woman Dan had ever seen, with blazing auburn hair, alabaster skin that glowed in the sunshine, and an hourglass figure that showed even through the baggy green robe she wore. She held a torch in one had and in the other a sign for a loan company called Freedom Financial that read, “Scornin’ Good Deals!” Dan liked to think her name was Lady Lana Liberty.
To pass the time, Dan often enjoyed fantasizing about meeting her. A typical scenario involved her become trapped against the loan building by a bus. Dan would suddenly swoop in to save her. A gathered crowd would cheer as he pulled her to safety. Then she would kiss him and whisper in his ear, “My hero!” Dan knew how corny it sounded, but it helped to break up the monotony of his day.
Then one day a man dressed as an ice cream cone with a big red cherry on his head started working a few doors down. His sign was for the newly opened Cow Creamery and it read, “Mooving Good Times!” It wasn’t even a clever slogan…
Dan watched in horror day after day as the ice cream man worked his way over to Lana, striking up a conversation with her. It was too hard for Dan to see her face, so he could not tell how she felt about him. But ice cream man’s body language was clear. He was making his move. Dan was mortified. He had no idea what to do, so he did nothing.
Until one day he saw something he could not abide. Ice cream man, who was a smoker, had just snuffed a cigarette out with his shoe when he sauntered over to Lana like he had had at least a dozen times before. They talked for a moment, then ice cream man reached for her. Lana backed away. Ice cream man was visibly upset, and step toward her again this time grabbing her arms and pulling her close. Even over the noises of the traffic, Dan could hear her scream.
Without thinking, he took off like a shot barely avoiding contact with a honking BMW before barreling into ice cream man and sending him careening across the sidewalk like an empty barrel. Stunned and confused, ice cream man wobbled about helplessly. It was clear because of his costume he would need assistance in getting up. Dan was not going to be the one to give it to him. Instead he was face to face with Lady Lana Liberty for the first time.
“Thank you,” she said.
“You’re welcome,” he said quietly.
“My name is Beatrice,” she smiled. And Dan thought her name was more beautiful then he ever possibly could’ve imagined.