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A Chicken Passes,
Nelly The Universe Realigns Itself

CORAM, NY, December 2007 / Nelly “Starshine” Millbrook, psychic chicken has passed into the after life peacefully after an Earthly existence that included salvation from a butcher shop, multiple stage performances in New York City, the divining of spirit messages and a successful career laying of delicious organic eggs.

   In The summer of 2006, Dr. Schuler, a theatrical producer in New York City was developing a “metaphysical” game show titled Are You ALIVE?!, the premise of which involved contestants attempting to answer unanswerable questions and a pair of co-hosts provides prizes with a meta-physical value. For example, one performance asked contestants about Judaic history and provided the winner a tattoo appoointment (in challenge of Leviticus 19:28, which many believe disallows tattooed persons of the Jewish faith to be buried in Jewish Cemeteries) Another production at a performance event called Raise the Dead had winning contestants hypnotized to believe that they were zombies.

    To top those prizes, Dr. Schuler decided to provide the grand prizewinner of a production at Performance Space 122 with a choice between a prize envelope or a large, mysterious box. The prize box contained a live hen named Nelly. After goading by the audience, the contestant inevitably chose the box and the hen was revealed. The winner, subsequently given the envelope as well, which provided the number of a kosher butcher, was forced to choose whether to keep Nelly as a pet or have her dressed for Sunday dinner. Luckily for Nelly, the contestant was a vegetarian.

   The earliest known origin of Nelly the hen came one month prior in August 2006, when Dr. Schuler visited a poultry butcher in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he purportedly convinced the young man working in the shop to allow him, against policy, to purchase the live chicken for four dollars, smuggling her into the trunk of a waiting car, saving her life, forever removing her from the shop’s squalid conditions.
Nelly and Van    Nelly was taken home, bathed, blow-dried and preened; fed gourmet meals of cracked corn, chopped edamame, oyster shell, fresh greens and spring water; and given a home that was palatial, compared to her former cage which contained 10-12 other hens inside of two square feet.

   Although the winner of “Are You ALIVE?!” was presented the prize hen, was secretly given the option of a gift certificate. “In the end, I didn’t think it would be fair for a live creature to be left in the possession of someone who couldn’t properly care for her,” stated Schüler.

   Nelly “Starshine” Millbrook (stage-named after a local egg producer, a David Bowie alter-ego misnomer, and Timothy Leary’s Millbrook, New York retreat) was soon cast by the docotr in another production, presented at the Cherry Lane Theater.

   She was billed as “Nelly Starshine, Psychic Chicken” a pet of Van Driver, the title character in The Van Driver Experience. Nelly appeared each night with an unsuspecting spectator chosen from the audience to have his or her fortune read by the ‘special guest’ star. Nelly was presented a Ouija board and would peck out a message channeling forces from the beyond (with the help of a pinch of randomly scattered oats). Van and his common-law wife, Ann Ryder, interpreted the messages for the fowl.

Joyce Family Coop   After the production, Nelly spent the remainder of her days in Coram, New York, with Mr. Edward Joyce, where she lived for another year, among eleven other hens in a large suburban backyard. She was well fed and laid dozens of delicious eggs.

  In November 2007, a year after her New York stage success as a psychic, Nelly wandered into the Joyce family’s garden, climbed to the top of a large pyramidal pile of top soil, scratched herself a comfortable nest and quietly iterated the spiritual transmigration that all souls make to the next dmension.

    Although her precise age is unknown, it is believed that she lived a fuller, more experientially rich, and generally more contented life than would have been possible without the interventions of the Doctor and Mr. Joyce. “I am glad to have known her and to have had her be a part of my experience in this world. She provided humor and significance to my otherwise mundane existence,” noted Dr. Schüler of his prize bird.

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