The Remote

By Benji Elkins:


Harper had been laughing at a scene from one of his favorite TV shows for days now. It was,

undisputedly, hilarious. A chicken walked into a bar, the bartender screamed, and the chicken

said “Hoo, you lookin at,” prompting the bar to explode in laughter (Harper nor the producers of his favorite TV show knew the difference between a chicken and an owl at the time). Harper loved it.


However, Harper could never find the clip online. He searched Youtube, Vimeo, and even

Dailymotion (and that’s stooping low), but still, he could not find any traces of the video. What a shame Harper thought. But the scene was too funny to ignore. So he would simply re-watch the episode multiple times and fast forward to the point of the joke. In fact, one day he even invited a friend over to share the joy.


Dave sat on Harper’s bed and looked at the TV. “It’s that funny?” Dave asked skeptically. “Oh

yeah.” Harper responded. “Super funny.” Dave looked concerned. “Okay, cause when you went over it briefly in the car it sounded like they confused a chicken with an owl.” said Dave.


“A what?”


“A chicken with an owl.”


“Ha, you’re funny Dave.”


Dave frowned - he had always secretly suspected Harper did not know the difference between a chicken or an owl. This was very bad as Dave had asked Harper for help on their chicken anatomy test. Dave was now very worried.


Harper picked up the remote control, turned on the TV, put on the show, and pointed the remote at the screen. “Okay, it’s about 10 minutes in.” Harper hit the fast forward button and the two watched as the show began to play out at 3 times speed. Then suddenly, in fast motion a chicken came across the screen and went into a bar. “Oh is that it?” asked Dave. “Oh that’s it!” screamed Harper. “Pause! Pause! Come on you stupid thing pause!” Harper screamed at the remote, clicking it wildly. “Pause!”


Dave watched as the show continued on, and now, swept up by the Harper’s chant, began to

join in.


“Pause! Pause! Pause!” the two shouted. “Pause!”


Then, quickly, the screen froze. “Phew.” said Dave. Harper looked back with fear in his eyes.

“No.” he said. Dave was scared now and looked at his friend. In a whisper, he let out a faint,

“What? What is it?” Harper took a deep gulp and looked his friend in the eyes. “We passed the scene. We’re gonna have to rewind.”


“NOOOOOO!” screamed Dave.


“It must be done!” shouted Harper, and with that he turned back to the screen and pointed the remote to the TV. He closed his eyes, muttered a prayer, and hit the rewind button.


Like before, the screen began to shift at 2 times, then 3 times, then 4 times speed (but

backwards now of course). Harper rested his finger over the pause button, he made sure to

have the remote lined up with the television’s sensor. He was ready.


And then a crowd, a bartender, a chicken, and a bar flashed by the screen. Harper rushed his

finger to the button, but like a fleeting ghost, the scene was gone, and the two were staring at

the intro credits.


“Why?” Dave was able to mutter out. Harper’s eyes narrowed. “One more time.” he said.


And so Harper hit the fast forward button. And like a man who had prepared for this act his

whole life, Harper watched intensely as the screen transformed, analyzing each frame change

per second, moving farther and closer to the TV for better remote placement, practicing his

clicking skills in the air, getting ready for the fateful moment. And then a chicken came on the

screen.


“Pause!” shouted Dave.


“Pause!” shouted Harper.


“Pause?” said the woman in the apartment upstairs who had heard the screaming and was now worried about her miniature schnauzer: Paws.


And then the TV paused. Exactly, at the right spot. The two men let out a cheer, jumping in

success, and embracing with joy. A tear crept out of Harper’s eye.


So the two sat down on Harper’s bed, hit the play button, and watched the clip.


“That was it?” asked Dave.


“Yeah.”


“That was extremely unfunny.”


“Dave, what do you mean?”


“That pun is bad and it’s not even about a chicken. It’s about an owl. It’s exactly how you

described it in the car.”


“But it’s better in person.”


“I just watched it in person. It's exactly the same. How do you and this TV show not know the difference between an owl and a chicken?”


Harper was stumped by Dave’s question. In the end, he wasn’t willing to admit that he had

never actually learned the names of any animals that started with letters past “B”; it was a secret he would take to his grave.

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©2018 by The Milking Cat.