Although a corps of inspectors could conceivably cart away chickens, notes Borges, it's a special skill. "There are inspectors here who could spend five years chasing chickens and never catch any," he notes. "One, because they don't like it, and two, because they don't have the skill."

The two former Chicken Busters end their tour midafternoon in Little Havana, where Jorge orders arroz con pollo. He hasn't caught live fowl since October but says he would get back in the saddle whenever the city wants him to. His old catching truck sits with a flat tire in the city's downtown parking lot. Just last month, the Discovery Channel aired a feature on the Chicken Busters without noting Jorge has been laid-off.

"I miss the job, and I did it well," Jorge says. "And you know what? I'm convinced many people miss me too. They say, 'Whatever happened to that guy with the chickens?'"

Former chicken cop Lesther Jorge perches in an Overtown yard invaded by cluckers in his absence.
C. Stiles
Former chicken cop Lesther Jorge perches in an Overtown yard invaded by cluckers in his absence.

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Lesther Jorge's Guide to Catching Chickens

1. Arm yourself: heavy boots, fishing net.

2. Expect a platoon of chickens, but don't play their head games. "I always told the volunteers: 'You gotta fall in love with one. Concentrate. You're not gonna catch them all.'"

3. Corner the beast and be ready to jump. These aren't your grandpa's chickens. "I saw them fly distances I'd never seen them do in Cuba."

4. Run. "The job is nothing but the chase and sweating."

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