One of our most precious treasures is missing. The Lake Boone Chicken, a beacon of hope and all that is right inside the beltline, was stolen over the weekend. From its home at the Hight family’s driveway, the Lake Boone Chicken has spent the last 10 years dressed in various costumes for the enjoyment of passing SUVs and luxury sedans. People love this chicken. It even has its own Facebook page. One day the chicken was minding its own business, dressed in a Masters green jacket. The next day it was gone.
Many people alerted me to the crime over the weekend, but I didn’t want to draw attention to the story. I’ve seen enough episodes of Law & Order to know that during ransom situations you’re supposed to keep your mouth shut. I did call my lawyer Stacy Miller to see if we could put a bounty out on whoever did this. I didn’t want capital punishment, I wanted something worse. I wanted the thief to be banished from inside the beltline forever.
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First, I had to figure out who was behind this. Who had the most to gain from a crime like this? After some digging, I now know exactly who stole the Lake Boone Chicken and why. But first, let’s look at the timeline of events:
April 7th – the chicken was enjoying the Masters.
April 8th – the chicken was first reported missing.
April 9th – the area officially became a crime scene.
April 10th – search and rescue teams roamed the streets.
At this point, I knew I had to help with the investigation. I wasn’t going to the police with a case like this. I went straight to the top by tweeting at the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA for help.
— William Needham Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 10, 2017
I waited patiently, then followed up with them.
— William Needham Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 11, 2017
They still didn’t respond.
April 11th – a new chicken arrived.
That still wasn’t good enough. I wanted answers.
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 11, 2017
— William N. Finley IV (@WNFIV) April 11, 2017
None of our intelligence agencies ever replied to me. Think that over before paying your taxes this year, folks.
Inside the Biggest Conspiracy Ever
Fortunately, I’ve figured out who orchestrated the heist. Running a media empire means I have sources everywhere, even within the media. One such media source attended a secret meeting of local news outlets last week. They were there to solve a problem. They were there to save their networks, and their jobs. Here’s what went down.
Shadowy News Boss: We all know why we’re here. ITB Insider™ is killing us. Their Development Beat is the most reliable source of news in Raleigh. We know for a fact that his March traffic was record-breaking.
ABC11: Well all that traffic is probably because he broke the Cameron Village robbery news, the PR redevelopment story, and the news that Stacy Miller was running for City Council. His coverage of the fire was incredible and he beat us all to the story. His Facebook Live video has over 26,000 views!
TBJ: Did you see the poll he did for that? 92% of the people said he had the best coverage. And I bet the other 8% were just his asshole friends refusing to inflate his ego. It was a great poll though. We love doing polls. By a show of hands who thinks his poll was good?
Shadowy News Boss: Put your damn hands down. And yes, we know his traffic was up because he was breaking all of these stories. But how does he do it?
Inside Source: Maybe it’s because he’s actually from Raleigh and knows what his audience wants to read? And he doesn’t write clickbait stories and tweet them out 67 times a day with slightly different headlines. And he did go to Broughton.
Shadowy News Boss: Well however he’s doing it we have to stop him. Any ideas?
ABC11: We could run some more clickbait about potential suspects from the fire. I mean, technically everyone in Raleigh is a potential suspect. Oh wait, what if we started another fire ourselves and then we could be the first ones to cover it?!
Shadowy News Boss: No, too risky. And you guys would probably just double-cross us. What if we stole the Lake Boone Chicken?
WNCN: Hi, I’m young and desperately trying to fill the void left by the departure of Penn Holderness. I just moved here from Pittsburgh. What is the Lake Boone Chicken?
Shadowy News Boss: It’s a chicken statue at a house on Lake Boone Trail. People love it. We could steal it, everyone would freak out, then we could break the story. We’ll do it during the weekend when Finley’s incapacitated in a Rise Biscuit and Capital Creations food coma.
TBJ: Love it! We could do a slideshow of pictures from the crime scene and talk about how many companies are leaving the area because of it.
Shadowy News Boss: Sure TBJ, do whatever you want. But we can’t all write the same exact story. So, what angle is everyone else going to take with this?
ABC11: We try to make things as grim as possible, so we’ll go with “Missing chicken, possibly slain and mutilated, or sold into the chicken trafficking trade. A closer look, tonight at 11:00.”
Shadowy News Boss: Great, never change guys. How about you, N&O?
N&O: We’ll just have our web editor sift through all the articles that you guys do and then cut and paste and embed some tweets. We don’t have the resources to cover this. We’re too busy getting Big Daddy Dan Kane to take shots at the UNC scandal while we also promote UNC basketball. By the way, did you guys see that Luke Maye hit a game winning shot and then made it to his early class the next morning? We’ll put so many Kroger pop up ads and video ads on the story that you won’t even be able to read it on your phone. We get more pageviews that way.
Shadowy News Boss: Perfect. Finley doesn’t stand a chance.
Everyone left the room, except for the Shadowy News Boss who began making a phone call. My inside source lingered in the hallway to eavesdrop. She heard the man say, “Yeah, those morons took the bait. They’ll all be wasting their time covering this ridiculous story. Warm up the Sky 5 chopper, I’ve gotta get back for my 6:00 pm broadcast. We all know I’m the only reason people watch our station.”
And that, my friends, is how the Lake Boone Chicken was stolen. It was a classic conspiracy by all the other news outlets in town to create a panic, manufacture a story, and beat us to breaking it. We’ll give them 4 out of 5 beltlines for creativity. Now that I’ve blown the lid off this plot, it’s time to return the chicken.