[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 09:37:22 -0800

Nearing the shortest day of the year, I went out to see the chickens, certain 
there would be no eggs.
"My medium is light," is how Appenzeller had explained the situation earlier in 
the week.  I thought that a bit thick, coming as it did from a green-black 
chicken who seems to absorb light, but on reflection (mine, not hers) I 
conceded she has iridescence on her side and thus possibly may be something of 
a performance artist.  I asked.  She said she was referring to egg production, 
not art.  I acknowledged my mistake and then, you know how conversation goes, 
asked whether she had ever made art.  She moved her head from side to side, as 
if looking the question over with each eye.
"Mark making, yes, definitely.  Whether or not that rises to the level of art, 
well it's for the beholder to judge, wouldn't you say?"
I agreed this is often how the thing goes.
"Sure as eggs is eggs," she said..., unwisely, I thought.
Cheddar came up, "What are you doing about that rat?"
"You heard it?"
"How could we herd it?  We were confined to the sleeping palace."
"Quite," I said, "but the scurrying disturbed you?"
"It did indeed, and we are not in favor of that."
Mimo joined in, "Unanimous vote."
"Could have been a stoat," I suggested, instantly regretting bringing up the 
Like a soft wind, a frisson of fear passed through the flock.  The word was 
much repeated.  "Stoooooooat!"
To calm them I added, "I've never actually seen one.  Lived here more than 
twenty five years."
"Rumor-monger," said Rocky in that scolding manner of hers.
"So, change of subject...senior management and all that...what have you come up 
Appenzeller was clearly glad to be asked, "It's been a difficult series of 
meetings...you'll imagine...but we have, I'm pleased to have been appointed to 
announce...come up with a one point plan which lacks only your sign-onage..."
"Tell me."
Rocky stepped forward, "Have you ever heard of NIMBY?"
"Not im my back yard?"
Peccorino, "The god's a genius!"
"Top drawer."
"Wait, that can't be true, else the food container would never be empty."
"Ahhh!  Didn't think of that."
I prompted, "NIMBY?"
Peccorino said, "Well our thought was that whatever is not wanted in someone 
else's back yard might be a potential source of entrepreneurial opportunity for 
our own."
"Opportunity?  We're talking about laying eggs.  Simple nature!" 
Cheddar muttered, "I do miss Wensleydale." 
The cry went round, reverential and heartfelt, "Wensleydale!"
They wandered to assuage what has evidentially become heartfelt and shared 
grief.  Odd.
"So what source of income might I have overlooked?"
They gathered in a group and consulted.  Was I ready for the big announcement?  
Eventually Mimo, quite bedraggled in her moulting and, on sartorial grounds, 
demoted in the pecking order, waddled forward.
Cheddar added, "To the best of our knowledge."
"You being omni-thingy." 
"But," Peccorino added, "we want to declare ourselves in favor of a scheme 
(which we're sure you've already considered and rejected for reasons currently 
unknown unto us) on account of us being not as whizzy in the brain department 
as what you are."  
I believe this is the most Peccorino has ever said.
There was a long pause.  Dramatic.  Then I asked what she had in mind.
"We were thinking an oil refinery might be good."
"In amongst the trees."
"Camouflaged, to avoid annoying the neighbors."

I wasn't involved in the choice of play, so I can't tell you how much debate or 
thought went into the final decision.  The first I knew of it was opening the 
door to their run and being greeted by, instead of the usual inquisitive 
noises, a rush of birds yelling, "Freeeedom!"
"Is something up," I asked?  "Rats bothering you?"
"No, no," said Peccorino.  And then, to the girls, "we'll try that again."
I watched as the chickens returned to resume their starting positions.  
Peccorino was in charge!  She commanded, "And...go."
They all rushed forward, "Freeeeedom!"  
"Much better.  Remember to feel hatred for the English."
Now I really was puzzled.  "English?"
"We're doing 'Braveheart.'"
Cheddar added,  "With an all-female cast."
"Groundbreaking," said Mimo, while swallowing.  Which is a difficult thing to 

This week the girls got white water, old cheese rinds, vegetables, 
persimmon...anyone would think the holidays are coming.  Merry everything to 
all readers.

David Ritchie,
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