[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2014 11:50:08 -0700

With a high wind warning, power out in some places, impressive noise on the 
roof of the tennis court, I worried for the chickens' safety.  I finished the 
match, drove home, stepped into wild gusts.  Three chickens wandered up.
"May we be of assistance?"
"Glad to see you," I said.  "I was worried."
"About what exactly?" Appenzeller asked.
"Well the sky falling...Isn't that what chickens say?"
Cheddar [sotto voce], "What a strange god he can be."
Peccorino scratched her chin.  They huddled, talking apparently under the 
assumption I couldn't hear. "Any ideas?"
Appenzeller, "Not a clue.  Humor him is probably our best bet.  Might make him 
less vengeful.  [To me] I think you'll find these are *leaves*, falling.  The 
small pieces."
"The larger ones are branches," Peccorino explained.  "Brahn-chez."
"Leaves and branches," Cheddar.  "It's the wind, causing them to fall."
I changed the subject.  "Where are your leaders?"
"Dunno," they shrugged.
"Whaaat?" Mimo emerged from under a bush, fluffing her wet feathers, trying to 
refit the cloak of importance.
"Whaaaat?" Rocky, running forward, also pretending she hadn't been hiding.
"'Standing like a stone wall,'" I observed.
"Jackson... Civil War leader... famous for leading by example... at first Bull 
"Is that game?  Bull Run?  You seem dressed for something."
"No, no.  Long ago.  A battle."
"You might want to watch yourself if there are bulls out.  I don't know if 
you've noticed...it's windy.  Could be awkward.  See the size of some of these 
branches."  Mimo walked all the way around a big one, illustrating.
"Thank you," I said, "Yes.   Quite.  The others don't seem bothered."  The 
initial three had drifted away.
"Cheddar has got them doing a Ghost Dance," said Mimo.
Rocky, "She's says she a Medicine Chicken."
"Watch out for Wounded Knee," I suggested.
"Dense," said Mimo, possibly referring to me.

I've been reading a novel set in Belfast, but I bet it's, "Mock the Week" that 
put an accent in my head.  Dara O'Briain's, probably, he's the host.  "One of 
the things couples don't ask often enough is, 'Would you think now what the 
inside of the fridge would be like when you're dead?'  People shout, 'Over my 
dead body' when they should be shouting, 'think of the fridge' because that's 
where you'd see transformation.  If the woman prevails there'd be lots of 
things on little plates, and the household will never run out of appetizers and 
dandelions.  But if it's the male who lasts longer, they'll be flesh sitting 
there on huge great plates sure as eggs is eggs.  Unless she married a vegan."

A delegation appeared at my office door.  I slid it open.  Mimo cleared her 
throat, "We have appointed a Committee of Public Safety.  We come to you in 
that official capacity to say we disapprove."
"Thank you comrade Cheddar...
Rocky, "We disapprove of the sky going 'e-clat.'"
Appenzeller, "Forgive her French."
Peccorino, "It's the best approximation we could manage.  Very strange sound, 
Cheddar looked puzzled, "E-clat?"
I echoed, "E-clat?"
"Roughly what we think it sounded like."
"Quite loud."
"Booming? Like cannon?"  I suggested.
"If you wish," Mimo cast a quick glance skyward.
Rocky hurried on, "We have listed the following demands about foraging 
conditions and circumstances, to wit..."
"Owl?" said Cheddar.
Mimo, "We, the assembled..."
Rocky, "do hereby swear..."
Appenzeller, "'scuse our French..."
Mimo, "That we are extremely annoyed..."
Appenzeller, "*Quite* annoyed..."
Peccorino, "We voted for *extremely*"
"I didn't."
Rocky shushed them, "By the weather what you have created...and furthermore..."
"It is our earnest judgement..."
"That said weather must cease forthwith."
Rocky gave Cheddar the evil eye.  Walking up and down, Cheddar seemed to be 
enjoying new found status.  She did a little dance step.
Peccorino, "We were wondering if improved food could be offered by way of 
"For pain and suffering."
"We did get rather wet."
I asked what they had in mind.
"What might be on the table?"
I glanced towards the computer and said, "Radioactive bananas."
Appenzeller, "'Radioactive'?"
"All bananas are radioactive.  I just read that on Wikipedia."
"Pedia," said Cheddar.  "Having to do with feet."  She danced some more.
"Look," I said, "I'm busy at present, but I'll help as much as I can.  
Generally though, apart from fixing the roof on Fort Squawk, there's not a lot 
I can do."  
"If you could give that your best attention," said Rocky, thinking it was time 
for leadership to declare victory.
I did.

David Ritchie,
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