A few years ago, I spent a fair few months in Boise, Idaho. Beautiful place. It has a refreshingly un-English atmosphere. For example, the airport lounge spurned Sock Shops in favour of displays of gun safes and a parked humvee.
I rented a room five miles from town, with a great landlady, a cute cat and a garden full of chickens. Bucolic, huh? Almost. The other lodger was a Harley-driving ex 16-wheel truck driver. She'd moved to Boise because her husband beat her up, stole her truck, and buggered off. Hey ho. Things got stranger. Landlady's son—we'll call him Al—came to stay, along with his longstanding meth addiction and accompanying psychosis. Creepiness quotient of house rocketed.
A friend called me from England one afternoon. She asked me what the noise was. "It's Al." I said, cheerfully. "What's he doing?" she asked. "He's yelling at the chickens. He thinks they're spying on him". Thump thump thump. "Jesus! What's that!!?" "Oh, that's Al. He's stopped yelling at the chickens and he's trying to break into the house. Anyway, what were you saying about...". Ah, how quickly domestic scenarios normalise themselves.
The saga ended early one morning, about 4am. I peered out of my bedroom window. There was Al lying prostrate on the concrete drive in a pool of flashlight, surrounded by cops. They were all pointing guns at his head. It's possible I dreamt this, but I didn't see Al again.
Anyway, before the swat team descended, Al and I used to have the odd conversation. Yep. I was usually making coffee in the kitchen, and he'd wander in and tell me all sorts of ways to prevent the FBI hearing your thoughts. When Rob sent me this excellent link here, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic.
Al told me that foil helmets were all part of the conspiracy. Now it's been scientifically proven, I shall treat chickens with more caution from now on.