[lit-ideas] Sunday Chickens

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:24:30 -0800

This week the chickens suddenly became self-shelving at dusk. I went out in the 
usual manner to bribe them home with bread and vegetables, only to find them 
rushing toward me, coming out of the roost.  "Excuse us," said  Pecorino, "we 
thought the day was done."
"We heard taps..."
"On the roof...
"We heard taps and thought the sky had already come down."
"What's in the bucket?  Breeeeaaaad?"

Skies surprised them all week.  A visiting goddess who was standing on a high 
deck, invisible to them, made cereal rain. The chickens came running up to me 
wondering what I might have to offer and then boom, great puffy Kix fell from 
the sky behind.
After some hurried gobbling, back they came to me.
"How did he do that?"
"Wasn't me," I said, demonstrating how empty my hands were.
They checked the sky.  Nothing.  They looked again at my hands.  They looked me 
in the eye.  Another handful of cereal landed behind them.
"Oooooh," said Mimo, when they were done eating, "that's clever that is.  He 
doesn't even move his lips."
"Maybe," said Wensleydale, "it's natural?  We need an Almanac."

Late the next afternoon you could see the pent up energy in their sprint from 
the coop.  It had been raining all day and I thought it best to keep them 
covered until then.  Chickens have a very funny way of running, with elements 
of wing flapping.  Maybe it was me who seemed funny.  Maybe they were making 
fun of my inability to fly.  
"Dog food!"
"Dog food!"
It was a tight race.  Again I took advantage of interior lines and so reached 
the bowl just as Rocky arrived.  She was startled and jumped back, reversing 
from full speed ahead like a tug bumping aground.
"Whaaaat?" everyone else said, arriving.
"No flocking food," Rocky expostulated.  "The god took it." 
I left them to curse the sudden miserliness of gods. 

The chickens were at the door again, tapping. Captain Mimo said, "Excuse us?"
"We'd like to go to the beach."
Cheddar was in echo mode, "The beach."
I shrugged, "Wouldn't we all?" 
Appenzeller elaborated, "Only we've been talking to the dog and we've come to 
the conclusion that some around here are getting better treatment than others."
"Really?" I asked.
"Not that we're implying miserliness," Wensleydale explained.  "Only an 
insufficiently Marxian system of distribution."
"We have needs as much as he does," said Mimo.
"At least," said Pecorino.
I was a little lost, "Where does the beach come into the picture?"
Rocky took a deep breath, "The dog's food, is better than ours.  So we talked 
to him."
"About tricks of the trade."
"And he said he'd been to the beach."
"Which we think accounts for the better food."
I conceded a point, "We did go last week.  But that's not..."
Wensleydale, "Maybe the vehicle of unrelenting destiny cannot manage another 
"The what?"
"The vehicle of unrelenting destiny.  That's what the dog said you use.  To get 
to the beach."
"I'm worried about gutters at present," I said.  "So no going to the beach."
"We've knitted a scarf."
"I beg your pardon?"
"The nights are long..."
"... at this time of year..."
"We thought you might like a tartan scarf."
I asked, "Which one?"
Wensleydale beamed "World peace."
Cheddar echoed, "World peace tartan."
I said I was grateful.  In exchange for world peace, I gave them a croissant.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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