The Suit

A guy in a chicken suit walks into a bar…
on Apr 19, 2011 · No comments

A guy in a chicken suit walks into a bar…

“Hiya, Murray.”

“Joe! Long time no see. How’s the wife?”

“Broody. Gimme a bowl of popcorn and a Rhode Island Red.”

“Comin’ up. Hey, did you hear? Chick Poulet has another book out.”

“Whatever. I don’t read Poulet anymore. He stopped wearing the suit. I can’t respect anybody who doesn’t wear the suit.”

“I hear you. I still wish he would have stayed with us. ‘Scratching in the Barnyard’ was a classic.”

“Says you. He never had any real suit content in his books. Lots of clucking about the joys of feathers and corn meal, and crowing to make the sun come up, but he never closed the deal. Somebody in the story needs to step into a suit, zip it up, and start flapping. When the man leaves that part out…well, you have to doubt his commitment to our way of life. There’s no doubt anymore—he’s wearing trousers, for pity’s sake!”

“But aren’t the feathers, and the corn, and the crowing what wearing the suit is all about? It’s what brought me in. I realized life could be different. Better. I mean, just having a beak—I didn’t know it was even possible.”

“So you think going over to the non-suits was the answer? He’s just another slob with a book now. Nothing special about him. No wings, no comb, no wattles. Who’d guess he ever pecked for a grain of wheat his entire life? It’s disgusting.”

“I read his book. Everything’s still there—the grit, the strutting, all the important stuff. Maybe he can reach more people this way. There’s a whole world of suitless people who need what we enjoy every day. A lot of them won’t listen to you and me. They see the suit and, zoom—they can’t get away fast enough. Chick knows how to tell them what the suit means. Once they understand that, it’s not such a big step to take the plunge and start shakin’ a tail feather.”

“Listen, Murray, he’s either in the suit or out of the suit. There’s no halfway. You can’t just stick a pinfeather on your lapel and say you’re part of the community.”

“It’s a good book. You ought to read it. What else you gonna do on a Friday night?”

“I think I’ll go to the Roosters game and kick dirt on the umpire. Wearing the suit.”

“More power to you. Toss a bucket of confetti for me. Who they playing?”

“Penguins. Glad I don’t have to wear that suit.”

“You and me both. Never seems to go out of style, though.”

“Funny man. Get me another bowl of popcorn. Say, Murray…you got Poulet’s book here with you?”

“Yeah, what about it?”

“There’s a lot of dead time during the game, you know, when they’re actually playing baseball. Maybe I’ll take a look at it.”

“No problem. Here you go. And, Joe…stay zipped.”

“Heh. Count on it.”

Fred was born in Tacoma, Washington, but spent most of his formative years in California, where his parents pastored a couple of small churches. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, and spent 24 years in the Air Force as a bomber navigator, flight-test navigator, and military educator. He retired from the Air Force in 2007, and now works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training.Fred has been married for 25 years to the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. When he's not writing or reading, he enjoys running, hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and playing around with computers.Writing has always been a big part of his life, but he kept it mostly private until a few years ago, when it occurred to him that if he was ever going to get published, he needed to get serious about it. Since then, he's written more than twenty short stories that have been published in a variety of print and online magazines, and a novel, The Muse, that debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, which was a finalist for the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award for book of the year in the speculative genre. Speculative fiction is his first love, but he writes the occasional bit of non-fiction or poetry, just to keep things interesting.
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  1. Literaturelady says:

    If I understand this story correctly, you’re saying that even if a Christian doesn’t present the Gospel in his book, we shouldn’t throw the story out; it still may have some redeeming value and truth. Is that what you meant? I may be all confused about it.
    I love the way you write stories to illustrate your points!

  2. KathrineROID says:

    That’s how I saw it, Literatuelady. At least, that’s what No. 2 is arguing for. No. 1 isn’t convinced, but the end makes you think he’s willing to change his opinion.

    Nice, Fred. That’s one thing I’ve never thought of doing: using an allegory to make a point about an often-allegorical genre. Stories are powerful learning tools masked as entertainment. They should be used more often.

    When I first started writing and learning about my craft and participating in writing communities, I realized just how many people misuse their beautiful talent. It was saddening. In response, I ended up throwing myself in the complete opposite direction with all-out blatant Believers in my current project. It took me a while to realize that my work could be just as God-honoring without explicit mention of Him or even religion.

    Changing someone, whether conversion or just showing them a little more truth, is a process. Someone will complete the process. And someone will start the process. As “The Suit” points out, you can’t start that process if you scare them away first.

  3. Fred Warren says:


    That’s essentially where I was going with this, We argue a lot about what Christian fiction is–and isn’t–here, and the discussion sometimes turns to whether a particular story, or writer, is really Christian, or “Christian enough.” Is he “testifying,” “showing the flag,” “closing the deal,” or, in this case, “wearing the suit?” And how much does that matter?

    I’m glad you like the stories…I’d rather tell a story than give a lecture any day. Besides, guys in chicken suits are just funny.



  4. Galadriel says:

    Ah. A very good point

  5. Literaturelady says:

    Thanks for answering, and I certainly agree with the point you made in this post!

  6. Fred, a wonderful way to present an argument. There is a burning question though: Do you wear a chicken suit when you write? 🙂

  7. Fred, you are such a talent. A gifted writer and a good thinker and a sense of humor that makes the stuff we don’t always like to hear go down.

    Thanks for this appropriate analogy. It’s a good reminder to me that each writer has his own way of showing his faith in his stories. We don’t all have to do it the same way. In fact, if we don’t want to dress in uniform, it’s better if we don’t all do it the same way.


What do you think?