Essay question: If you wanted to come to know me by walking a mile in my shoes
and like Fergie you got a verruca, what kind of history would you write?
It had escaped my attention that the March on Washington was not the walk
*towards* Washington, or the walk *in* Washington, or the shuffle in a large,
crowded, public, outdoor space. Those involved were claiming some similarity
between an army marching and people moving with banners, as if peasants rising
up against oppression, which was their inheritance, had finally learned good
strategy and tactics.
Yes, I think so.
The cleaners have been in and once again the carousel in the microwave has
gang'd all a’wobble. And the thingies that lie on the gas ring are again
askew. No matter how oft I’ve mentioned this, the words don't stick.
Attention is not being paid.
We are all of us Lomans. And life slights us.
I bought cheap plaice and wondered how something from the Oregon coast and
which looks so fresh could cost so little. The answer is bones and danger;
people who are tired do not want their food to kill them accidentally, and this
fish could. I recall vividly the first time a dinner party host warned me that
the fish had bones. “What,” I thought "did anyone think held the whole
Attention and the lack thereof.
She was saying that tired people have the right to be warned. Tired people
should be able have fun without fish surprises. That’s how the carousel should
There was another delegation at the door, all four chickens gathered with an
expectant look. I opened the door. “I already gave you bread.”
“There is more to life than food,” said Mimo, a tad sanctimoniously.
“Really?” I said.
“We have a question,” Pecorino began.
“Upon which we are unanimously agreed,” Appenzeller added.
“Agreed,” Cheddar echoed from the back.
“Where?” asked Mimo.
“Is that the question?”
“Where’s the fire gone away to?”
“It’s a figure of speech,” I explained. “I was encouraging you to get on; with
the door open, I’m getting cold.”
“Cold!” Cheddar echoed.
Mimo cleared her throat, “It’s this way. We want to know if the dog is
supposed to be protecting us or the other way around?”
“Why,” I asked, “does it matter?”
Appenzeller thought this was obvious, “Demarcation. We don’t want to be caught
doing work that properly belongs to another.”
“I think you’ve lost the plot,” I said. “We’re all in this together.”
“All very well for him to say,” said Cheddar, “living indoors.”
Mimo wanted to know what a plot is.
I said, “Well suppose you all gathered on the boat down there, the Neverbudge,
and one of you was lying and another of you wanted to murder someone and…”
Cheddar interrupted, “I know who’s lying.”
“I haven’t finished.”
“My point precisely.”
“It’s you that’s lying.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because we’ll never go on the boat. Wensleydale told us. ‘She who goes on
They all chorused, “Is a goat.” This made them so happy they wandered off in
search of a celebratory snack.
It was about six and the wind was from the East which hereabouts, in Winter, is
the direction from which cold comes. Pecorino was getting quite demonstrative
outside the kitchen door. I thought maybe the President had done something to
annoy her, but the other god hit the nail on the head. “I think the door to
the coop has blown shut,” she said. I hurried out. Pecorino came flapping at
my legs, “Oh thank goodness. We were worried we had failed to communicate.”
I said, “I’m sorry, gods can be a little slow at times.” Rounding the corner I
found three chickens hunkered down behind the bits of tree trunk that anchor
Fort Squawk’s underground defenses, which is to say they hold the buried
chicken wire in place; nothing digging at the perimeter is going to have any
chance of getting through. Well, a bear might.
“Where’ve you been?” Appenzeller was annoyed.
“We’re practically dead from the cold,” Mimo complained.
“But lively in your complaint,” I pointed out. “And I’ve brought bread!”
I opened the door, tossed lumps of bread into the coop and all but Cheddar
figured out that the thing to do was to rise now and hie themselves around the
door and into the coop. Cheddar, however, stared. “How’d they manage that?”
I explained the route and demonstrated.
“No, no, I want to go home. Which is that way.”
“But you have to go round the door.”
“Not if you open it properly.”
“You would like me to take it off the hinges?”
Me, “I could pick you up.”
“Not on your life. I’ve had enough strife in one day, thank you Very Much. If
you would just remove the obstacle…”
“How about I drop bread so…”
“Oooooh, bread. ‘Scuse me while I return to safety to gobble it.”
“I was hoping that you would see this other piece just around the corner…see
where I am dropping it? And now I am dropping another piece…here…and...”
The other chickens, having gobbled all, came out of the coop to see why my
rounds were falling short. Appenzeller encouraged, “That’s the spirit. Fire
for effect.” I had to throw half a loaf before I managed to convince Cheddar
that a few extra steps from one crumb to another were not only in her interest
Once she was finally in the coop she flew directly up onto the perch. “I’m
actually not hungry at all. There’s no real need for bread; it’s time for bed.”
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