[lit-ideas] Hereabouts

  • From: david ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2015 11:10:18 -0800

Like many an Oregonian the chickens have barely a gruntle left in them
this week, so dissed has the weather left them. From time to time I cast a
sideways glance at the Neverbudge, wondering whether plugging the holes I
drilled in the bottom and getting it to float would really be that hard a job.
Still the rain comes. Tillamook’s flooded, as is Johnson Creek. I opened the
kitchen door and chucked a bit of soft old banana towards Peccorino, who was
shelting under the overhang. The others were out of view. She looked at the
offering. “You want me to get wet for a piece of mushy banana?”
“Sorry,” was the best I could manage. And then a thought occurred, “I’ve been
reading the New York Times on fashion and wonder…”
“You want my opinion?”
“I do.”
“Bring it.”
Thinking the distraction might be good for her, I opened the paper to a page I
remembered, one featuring a photo of a very good-looking Shala Monroque.
“Goddess,” said Peccorino, nodding. “Absolutely."
“My thought exactly. She lives on St. Lucia…”
“Who’s that?”
“It’s a place,” I said, “‘with sulphur baths. Here’s what she says, 'You’re
literally sitting in a crater, and there’s mud that you put all over your face
and body. A lot of tourists come, and they just put it on and wash it off.
But there’s a trick that a Rasta told me. If you go during the day, you put
the mud on and let it dry. Then, after it’s dried, you rub it gently so it
kind of sands off and smooths your skin. It’s great for detoxing, and it’s
good for acne as well. It also relaxes you, as it’s really hot water.'”
“Sounds dangerous,” said Peccorino, “detoxing in hot water. At least with cold
water you know where you stand. Nothing volcanic about it.”
“Look on the bright side,” I advised.
“Meanwhile we have a banana problem, which, like a lot of life revolves around
the question... quite simply, ‘is it worth it’?”
Taking pity, I went to fetch a large, nearly empty yoghourt container and threw
it out. A swarm of chickens emerged from cover. No calculus to consider.
Plunge right in. I was reminded of efforts by zoo keepers to try and entertain
polar bears. Heads in the bucket girls, there’s something new.

This week two people sent me videos of cats attaching menorah candles
and cats attacking Christmas trees. Which raises the question of whether cats
qua cats (which science will show to be stuffed full of sleeper cells) may be

I went outside one morning in my pajamas, holding a golf umbrella over
my head. The chickens were astonished. “What’s he done to the sky?”
“Seems to have painted it.”
“Not sure I’m in favor of that.”
“No, no. Not in favor at all."
Unfortunately I forgot to bring the food container, which we now keep
indoors at night, to discourage rodents.
Peccorino stepped forward. “We’re not best pleased.”
Cheddar added, “With the weather.”
Rocky pointed out the obvious, “In re. the wet stuff.”
“And the notable absence of food."
Before I could respond Appenzeller said they were thinking of take the problem
up with, “Senior management.”
“Be my guest,” I said. “Let me know when you find them. I’d try St. Lucia.”
“See!” said Peccorino. “He had a photograph."
“Damn,” said Rocky.
Mimo wandered off.
Cheddar had an idea. “Maybe we could contact this Saint Lucy as I do
Wensleydale, with mindfullness.”
“On you go, love,” said Peccorino, “have at it."
Mimo yelled, "I’ve found milk.”
Cheddar was left to meditate alone. After three beats she decided she too
wanted the white water and ran after the rest, flapping her wings to accelerate
out of the corner.

What matters at the end of the day is getting your feathers dry before bed.
The girls lined up outside the kitchen door, like ducks in a row.
"I spy with my little eye…"
"Everything. It’s our best defence. Of course I keep the other eye in
"Very wise."
"Very wise indeed.”
“It’s the same size,” Cheddar pointed out.
“What is?”
“Your other eye.”
There followed a bit of reflective preening. Maybe there was something to this
mindfulness business.
"When do you think they’ll change the weather? The gods?”
“When they return from St. Lucia.” Cheddar sounded authoratitative.
"They’ve been very slack lately.”
“Forgot the food."
"They did put out white water."
"White water I’ll concede, but where’s the bloody pizza? That’s what I want to
know. Or bread?"
“Dog,” said Cheddar.
“Probably gone to St. Lucia too."

David Ritchie,
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