Lloyd and Mike © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)

It was September, 1945 in Fruita Colorado, and Lloyd Olsen's mother-in-law was coming to dinner, so his wife sent him out to the chicken coop to pick out a chicken for the pot. Lloyd selected Mike the rooster and carefully aimed the ax close to Mike's skull, so as to leave plenty of neck, which his mother-in-law favored. Mike did his chicken-with-its-head-cut-off thing, but then something amazing happened. Mike stopped running and began strutting confidently around the yard, as if he still had his head. Lloyd could see that Mike had not only survived but was determined to live, so he took Mike in and nursed his wounded neck. Lloyd fed grain and water into Mike's open neck and gradually Mike flourished and gained weight. Mike was taken to scientists at the University of Utah who explained that Mike had developed a clot which prevented him bleeding to death and enough of Mike's nervous system had survived for him to function on a kind of auto pilot. It was also determined that Mike was not in pain. Word of "Mike the Headless Chicken" (a name which ignored his true gender) traveled far and wide and eventually Lloyd hired a manager and put Mike on a national tour, which made Lloyd a very rich man.

Eighteen months after Mike lost his head he was on tour, in a motel for the night and began to choke but Lloyd had lost the syringe, which was used to clear Mike's esophagus, and Mike choked to death. You might say that Lloyd "choked his chicken".

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