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Fr om his costume, everyone could see Chef Rusè Brigand was a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. They could see that he was always smiling and full of good wishes. What they could not see was that he had the soul of an unscrupulous opportunist. He hid his true nature behind the smiles and handshakes. There was only one true thing the bayou knew about him- no one cooked chicken like Chef Rusè.
Two days a week, the iron pot was carried onto the big screen porch enclosing the front and sides of Cafè Brigand. Large ceiling fans spun the aroma of frying chicken along the bayou announcing lunch. Genial lines gathered along the gravel road and soon laughter and conversation passed between those waiting.
Bayou people love to talk and they love good food, so it wasn't very long before the chef’s expertise with chicken was known throughout the region. The line along the road grew until it included as many unknown voices as the familiar.
The Cafè became a destination. And soon, from time to time, people along the little gravel road began noticing that their hens were missing . No one reported seeing a fox or hawk, and not wanting to be suspicious of those they knew, the neighbors pointed to the new customers of the little café. Speculation was that some of the new patrons were not only eating in, but taking some to go. Pre-fried.
The people along the bayou had a secret meeting. They elected a group to stand guard on the henhouses in an effort to deter these fowl crimes. On a beautiful sunny day not long after the watch began, the watchers settled under a tree to enjoy a chicken dinner and keep an eye on a couple of coops nearby.
It was a busy day at the café with plenty of customers, new and old. They pointed out different ones to each other and shared stories of thsose they knew. They were sharing such a pleasant time that the hens were forgotten. It was dumb luck that in the middle of pantomiming a story, one guard turned toward the unwatched hens and saw Rusè Brigand sneaking up to the henhouse in his stocking feet.
The guards stood dumbfounded, as the chef baited a bent pin with an ear of corn. With perfect aim, he cast the cob into the thick of the hen yard. The hens rushed for the cob. The speed with which the chef procured four fat hens left no doubt that this was not his first foray.
If you expected the little chef to be tarred and feathered, Shame on You! The chef was merely meeting demand, keeping costs down and profit high. What good would come if the chef was run off? There would be no more of that wonderful fried chicken. A closer watch on the henhouses might be necessary but at least they knew the culprit.
Sure some grumbled about the higher price of a dinner… but laughter usually followed. Bayou Souls love nothing better than a good story and this one quickly became a legend. And you have to admit… It sold chicken.
The story became so famous that soon no one remembered the chef’s name… He was Pinhook. When he could no longer cook, he moved away and the little café fell in on itself. But still those that lived nearby called the place Pinhook.
The city grew larger and the little gravel road was paved and widened. The bayou souls moved on. The people who built the road called it Pinhook. But now, no one remembered why…
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