[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2014 14:00:41 -0800

When I let the chickens out one morning this week there were odd noises in the 
trees.  We all agreed that the noises were odd.
"Odd," is what I'd call that," said Rocky.
"Yeeees," said Cheddar.  "Odd."
There was a good deal of head wagging and then, sensing imminent danger, they 
gathered in a tight knot at my feet.  Together we searched the branches for 
signs of the source of the noises.  I believe it was probably a small hawk.  
"Fuggoff," came the sudden cry.
"What?" I said.
All five chickens joined in.  It was to me a totally new cacophony, the 
collective hostility of the girls, expressed almost chorally: "Fuggoff," 
repeated and repeated.  Then, after a final intense burst, they stopped, fanned 
out, went off a'foraging.  There were no further noises in the trees.  Chalk 
one up to the chicken chorus.

The weeks whizz by at the speed of what?  Not a Lexus, at least not the S.U.V. 
that drew up beside me and wanted to show off its superior height and ability 
to burn great amounts of fuel.  That's not what I think of as speed... just 
idiocy, the desire to get one traffic light further ahead and then what?  No, 
the weeks speed by... well not like a plane or train journey either, both of 
which, for all their speed, are experienced in slow motion.  And isn't it worth 
noting that the metaphor for speeded up life that the Edwardians had--the 
strange movement of people in films when the difference between camera crank 
and projection speed was notable--isn't it worth noting that film is what we 
use to try and pass the slow time of a long journey?  Well others do. I prefer 
to read and sleep.  No, the weeks whizz by in the manner of teacups...  at 
Disneyland...  with family members insisting that they'll vomit if you push the 
bar harder.  That sort of speed.

This week when I removed the aluminum food hopper from Fort Squawk to fill it, 
Mimo followed, walking at my feet like a child helper.
"May I be of assistance?"
"I can't see how."
"Well I could come inside the house and make suggestions about how to introduce 
variety.  You could put in some layers: on one day we'd have the pellets and 
then on another we'd have..."
"I don't know what that is.  I'm not complaining about the pellets...mind you, 
they're quite satisfactory..."
"Locally sourced those pellets...none of your big corporate muck...The other 
god insists."
"We very much appreciate that.  But bear with me; I'm trying to think outside 
the hopper."
"Nature is what you'll find outside the hopper," I said.  "Help yourself.  I 
hear the slugs are currently giving birth."  (I should mention at this point 
that Cheddar really pleased me recently.  I caught her eating a slug.  This is 
behavior to be encouraged.)
"Well what if you were to layer, between the pellets, some of those treats you 
bring us irregularly?  What if you were to introduce a little more 
predictability into the food supply?"
"It is predictable.  Whenever you want food, there's pellets.  What, do you 
want... cucumber sandwiches?"
"A layer of pellets, a layer of torn tortillas?"
"Excellent idea.  That's the ticket!"  Mimo did a little excited dance.  "I 
knew you were a good god.  Very electable."
I slid the door closed, telling her I'd be back in a minute.  I went into the 
garage and poured the usual measure of pellets into the hopper.  I walked back 
to Fort Squawk with Mimo in tow, prattling.
"There you go," I said, deceiving no one about anything.  I wouldn't be 
surprised when she figures out that there are no tortillas to be had that my 
popularity in the overnight poultry polls has slipped.

David Ritchie,
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