Philip runs into an awful streak of bad luck at the same time as his best buddy Emery runs into a streak of good luck. When Emery reveals that he's been using a newly acquired good luck charm, Philip sets out to find one of his own, but what he finds turns out to be more deadly curse than lucky charm.
“Hi, Philip. What do you want?”
“I want to know which came first. The chicken or the egg?”
“I’m still trying to find a lucky charm, and I need to know which came first. The chicken or the egg?”
“Are you going to carry an egg in your pocket for good luck? What if it breaks?”
“No, I’m not going to carry an egg around. Don’t be dumb.”
“You’re not gonna walk around with a chicken, are you?”
“What a stupid question! No, I’m not gonna walk around with a chicken. Where would I get a chicken?”
“The supermarket has them.”
“Yeah, right. I’m gonna walk around with a dead chicken wrapped in plastic around my neck and expect to be lucky.” Philip raised his voice as often happened when he tried to have a serious discussion with Emery. “Listen, I need to know what came first. The chicken or the egg?”
After a moment of quiet Emery said, “Is it a boy chicken or a girl chicken?”
“What difference does it make?” Philip cried in exasperation. Why couldn’t he ever get a straight answer from Emery?
“Because a boy chicken couldn’t lay an egg so the egg had to come first ’cause it couldn’t ever come second.”
“So the boy chicken came from the egg?”
“No, it probably came from a farm.”
“What do you mean, it came from a farm? Didn’t the boy chicken come from an egg?”
“Only if there was a girl chicken who laid the egg, so the boy chicken wouldn’t have been first or second. He would have been third.”
“Who said anything about a girl chicken?”
“Me. There’s gotta be a girl chicken. If there were only boy chickens there could never be any eggs. Boy chickens don’t lay eggs.”
“All right. All right. No boy chicken. It’s a girl chicken. Which came first? The girl chicken or the egg?”
Emery thought a minute. “People eat eggs. Maybe the egg wouldn’t last long enough to hatch a girl chicken because somebody scrambled it. So the egg had to come first.”
“Who’s talking about scrambling eggs? People eat chickens, too. Suppose the girl chicken got eaten; then there wouldn’t be any eggs. So I guess the chicken came first.”
“People don’t eat live chickens.”
“I know that!” Philip yelled into the phone.
“So if the girl chicken was alive to start with and nobody ate her, she’d lay eggs. So I guess the chicken came first.”
“I just said that!”
Philip’s mother called in to him. “Stop that yelling, Philip.”
“So the answer’s easy,” Emery concluded. “If people ate the chicken there wouldn’t be an egg. If people ate the egg there wouldn’t be a chicken.”
“Oh, that’s the answer, you think? Everybody’s eating everything and nothing came second?”
“I gotta go. You’re making me hungry. See you tomorrow.”
“Emery, just tell me what came first….”
Philip had a dial tone in his ear. He replaced the phone and decided that asking Emery for help proved he had the worst luck of anybody in the world. He decided he didn’t care whether chickens or eggs came first or second as long as he found a good luck piece somewhere in his house. He’d keep looking.