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There was a knocking on the wire. Chickens ignore knocking. Polite knocking is intermittent, and chickens don't have attention spans long enough to decipher the complex patterns of knock-knock, silence, knock-knock, silence. They hear the knock, think "Ooh, there's someone at the wire, what do I do now?" Then it goes quiet and they forget about it.

If you knock on the wire insistently enough that you can lock onto their attention for long enough to ponder in detail what to do about it, it's no longer polite knocking; it's crossed that fine line into battering their door down. At this point the chicken panics. Well, wouldn't you?

Plus you can't knock on wire.

Not very well. Chicken wire doesn't give out a resonant, echoing thump that portends an important visitor. Death hated calling on chickens. On top of the impossibility of gaining access in a terrifying manner, it simply did not look right: an assemblage of chicken bones caped in black feathers, with a titchy chicken-sized scythe. No-one, not even the most timorous of chickens, experienced convulsions of the bowels and saw their whole life pass before their eyes, at the sight of a black chicken skeleton holding a little scythe.

Plus chickens couldn't remember their whole lives.

What Death really hated was when some kid failed to feed the goldfish. What is the point of dressing up as a scary black goldfish with a tiny little scythe, if the doomed one can't remember what they have to fear?

Death briefly contemplated mayflies, took on a worried expression, took out a pocket notebook, and turned to the page marked M. It was full. Damn.

"I am the Grim Reaper," he said hoarsely. "I am the Grim Reaper," he tried. Yes, that was better. Now for it. Get it over and done with.

No wait, there was one more reason why he especially hated calling on chickens. What was it? Death turned his notebook to C and skimmed the notes. Something about the way chickens killed each other... something disturbing... what? He found it.

He threw his scythe to the ground in disgust and fury and stalked away. Then he realized his duty. He pulled himself together. Can't have another fiasco like that time he'd gone on holiday and the Tooth Fairy had stepped in, ripping everyone's teeth out and leaving them all alive but gummy and starving. No, it had to be Death.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock.

"Land sakes, who is it?"

"I am the Grim Pecker. I have come to take you away."

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