[lit-ideas] Hereabouts

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 30 Aug 2015 12:18:54 -0700

Mimolette is a hard, orange cheese. Captain Mimo is not quite that color, but
she is redder than any of our other chickens, with a political attitude to
match. When we allowed the chickens to mingle with guests at our outdoor
party, I worried that she might have take issue with the unequal distribution
of food and drink, but like the other chickens she just got on with cleaning up
whatever fell from paper plates. They could be seen moving among our guests
like miniature buspersons.
"Thank you, thank you. Coming through."
Not all of the spillage was accidental; they literally charmed food out of the
sky.
A more characteristic Mimo episode occurred when I recently opened the sliding
door of my office to bring something inside. She stepped forward confidently,
"Thank you."
"No," I said, blocking her progress with my foot,"you can't come in. I've
explained."
"But that's discrimination. Dogs and cats can go in, but not chickens?"
"Yes. That's the deal exactly."
"That is fowl, that is. Sisters?" She cast about for support. "Sisters!"
"Whaaaat?"
"We are victim here of fowl discrimination."
Peccorino nodded her head, "We know." She continued scratching in the gravel.
Mimo pulled herself up to full height, "But we're not going to take it any
longer."
Cheddar, "Yes we are."
"Oh no we're not."
Rocky, "Oh yes we are."
"Oh no we're not."
I slid the door closed. Everyone but Mimo returned to browsing and grazing.
Mimo marched up and down in protest, peering through the sliding door first
with one furious eye and then the other. "We're not going away until our
demands are met."
I yelled from my computer chair, "Define, 'We.'"

When the doorbell rings in the late afternoon, interrupting my train of
thought, it's never a neighbor come to borrow a cup of flour or, having baked a
cake, wanting to share a slice and chat over a cup of tea or coffee.
Hereabouts simply isn't like that. I am often tempted to ignore the sound
because I know that it is either a) the UPS truck leaving something on the
doorstep or b) someone with a laminated badge or clipboard and a plausible
cause or c) a "service" with work in the neighborhood which wants to offer me a
discount on similar work. Last week's "c" was a guy from Eco-Green
Exterminators, or some such unlikely-sounding company, who said he was working
for the Offalsteins, just down the street; suddenly inspiration had struck--
while they had the truck here they could spread poison all over. So would I
like my spiders and ants wiped out? I briefly considered asking him how spider
extermination counts as green or eco, but my mind was on other problems, so I
sent him on his way. On my way back down the stairs my brain went,
"Offalsteins?"
I'm not good with names.

Thinking of names, I'm wondering if, in the spirit of the new Sherlock Holmes
television programs and films, we are ready for an updated, "Three Musketeers"?
The first question, of course, would be what weapons they might carry. No
doubt you have opinions, so we'll skip to part B, which is whether in the
contemporary world heroes can be called, Athos, Portos and Aramis. Apparently
the men these characters were based on were named Henri, Arnaud and Isaac.
http://www.sirclisto.com/cavalier/athos.html When my agent calls, I think
that's probably what I'll propose: Henry, Arnold and Isaac, armed with an
unparalleled skill with French Theory and Physic, "Hold, Monsieur, stay
back...or I will foreground your metatarsal arthritis."

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon
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