[lit-ideas] Hereabouts

  • From: david ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2015 12:32:06 -0700

A professor of mine once said that academics are the aristocrats of the modern
world, meaning that his generation enjoyed faculty dining rooms and similar
privileges. Those who now commute from part-time job to part-time job may take
issue with that judgment, but people like me do get to visit Costco at off
hours and can become kind of snobby about being caught up in the crowd of those
who can only shop on Sundays because that’s when they’re not at work. They
bring kids, because what is the Costco experience if not “quality time”? Today
I followed two such people, in their late twenties, out of the store, unloaded
my cart, began pushing said cart towards the corral. The guy--tight haircut,
board shorts, earnest look-- turned to me, “Let me take that, sir.” And he
took the cart.

I read that the Mormon church has been calming people regarding the proposition
that this evening’s blood moon heralds the end of the world. The chickens need
no such calming—full or half moon, they sleep right on through. Daytime is
different though; when it rained this week the girls wandered out from their
coop and immediately took shelter under the outdoor dining table. Cheddar was
the last one out, and was walking funny.
Rocky, “Woe, woe and thrice woe.”
Appenzeller, “We’er not coming out until our demands are met.”
Me, “And those are?”
Rocky, “First on the list: Change the weather.”
Me, “We’ve had one of the dryest summers on record. Now it’s Fall.”
Mimo, “That may be so, but it doesn’t alter our demands.”
“Hineni,” said Cheddar, in wondering tone.
Peccorino, “See, when we get wet we feel the cold, and we’d don’t like that.”
Me, “I think you’ll find that no one does.” It had been a long while since
serious rain, so I hadn't bothered with a coat., “I’m feeling it now."
Mimi, “We’re not coming out.”
Appenzeller, “It’s a strike.”
Pecorino, “Until you change the weather, we’re not gonna.”
Me, “Not gonna what?”
Peccorino, “Just not gonna.”
“Fair enough. My Shredded Wheat awaits. See you this evening.”
I’m actually not that hard-hearted a god. Before I poured milk on my cereal I
opened the door and tossed them melon seeds, a particular favorite.
“Sorry,” I said, “about the rain. It’s just Oregon, doing its thing"
Cheddar, “Lift up now thine eyes and see all the rams which leap upon the
cattle. They are ring-straked.”
Me, “Oi Cheddar, it’s morning.”
She gave her feathers a big shake and looked around, astonished. “ I was
having the strangest dream.”

The sun returned. Mimo sidled up to the open-but-screened door and whispered,
“How does one go about becoming a capitalist?”
Rocky arrived behind her, "Only we were thinking we had extra space in the coop
that we could rent out through one of these agencies?"
Cheddar, “Agencies."
I stopped typing, "Are there agencies that rent out extra space in a chicken
Peccorino, "We imagine there might be".
Me, "Would you be worried about predatory behavior, especially at night when
you guys are completely comatose?"
Mimo, "You have a point."
Me, "I heard that the flock up the street…well I don’t like to mention it…but
they are no more."
Cheddar, "No more than what?"
Me, "They are an ex-flock"
Cheddar, “X-what?"
Me, “Gone to join the choir invisible. Apparently it happened in the daytime
and when the dog was out."
Mimo, “It?"
Me, "As I say, I didn’t want to dwell on…"
Mimo, “No, no. We don’t dwell *on*; we dwell *in*."
Peccorino, “And we were thinking of renting out the extra space…"

So a king dies without naming an heir. There are two possibilities, one lower
in the hierarchy than the other and less popular. The state decides to hold a
plebiscite and the popular guy wins. He’s an alcoholic and dies within a year.
The other guy now gets the job and decides to go on a world tour to see how
this reigning business is done. While he’s away, he appoints his sister
regent. Hope you’re following. The other guy meets with President Grant,
towers over the man, wins concessions. And then he dies. In San Francisco.
She gets the throne. That would be Liliakualani, the woman who wrote, “Aloha
Oi.” Then she’s overthrown and sentenced to hard labor, a verdict that is
commuted. But she doesn’t get the throne back. That would be more or less the
background to how we come to lie on an American beach, free of royal overlords
and think, “This is nice."

David Ritchie,
To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: