“My toothbrush never woke anybody.”
As a conversational gambit I thought this is some ways similar to that line
from the “Cherry Orchard,” “My dog eats hazelnuts.” I mean, it’s words, but
how could chickens or any other potential conversation mate respond?
“Nice for you.”
“What color is it?”
“Inert is as inert does.”
In fact what happened was that all three of them looked puzzled and asked for
pizza. We had been out the previous evening with E and N and brought some
crusts home. The chickens had seen me put some in the dog’s bowl. Not much
the beady-eyed birds miss when they stare through the kitchen door.
“As a matter of fact,” I said, “I did hold two back. I’ll get them.”
Much excited fluffing of feathers. I left the door open, so I heard what
“So much better when god’s in his heaven.”
“You feel that quite a lot is right with the world when he’s around.”
“In all fairness though, the other being was nice.”
“The great chain of beings…”
Like a monarch of old, I distributed crusts and accepted the chickens'
plaudits. You may wonder whether Hamish felt aggrieved. No. Not that kind of
dog. He is quite used to the idea that humans take their share, the cats get
their carnivore’s portion, he is awarded an omnivore’s delight and then the
chickens clean up what’s left.
So what was the toothbrush story? My wife has an electric brush. You
probably do too. I’m a dinosaur, quite happy with primitive technogy, which
doesn’t wake you in the night when it goes wonky or have to be stuffed in a
cupboard because it won’t shut up.
I haven’t yet figured out the chickens’ political leanings beyond, obviously,
self interest. Are they to the left or the right? Mimo has taken her
exprerience of the outside world to enter into what we might call Socialist
poitics. That’s what works for her. She was an outcast and she has risen to
somewhere in the pecking order equivalent to Appenzeller and somehow above
Pecorino. This is a metoric rise in chicken society, which abhors immigrants.
All the books say you can’t add to a chicken flock. So on that issue they’re
with those who believe in walls. But otherwise? I asked them what platform
Mimo was running on.
“What does that mean?”
“It means,” said Mimo, “that I prefer it to platforms one, two and three.”
“You have numbered platforms?’
Mimo is used to my slowness, “What other kind are there?”
“So what’s attractive about platform four?”
Pecorino, “More lift.” Appenzeller nodded. “Proved by trial and error."
I thought it might be easier if they showed me. “Platform one” was a stretch
beside the coop. Two was around by the hydrangea. Three was at the top of the
granite steps. Four was where they shelter before bed, right beside the
kitchen door. Sometimes they fly rather than hop down.
“Why do you call them platforms?”
Mimo, “You stand of them and then you fly from them. What would you call that?”
I said, “A ‘runway?’”
“There’s not much running involved. We’re trying to fly.”
“Not much platting either,” Pecorino added helpfully.
“Did you know,” I asked, in the manner of someone who suddenly talks of
toothbrushes, “that there’s a people called ‘Even’?”
I nodded, “They live in Russia. Suffering from melting of the permafrost.
It’s in today’s paper.”
“Great Heather Dewey-Hagborg!”
I was flabbergasted, “The things you know!”
Mimo picked up a foot and examined the end of it, “One endeavors to keep up.'
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