[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2015 12:37:06 -0800

There are things one just can't tell chickens.  This has nothing to do with 
intelligence-- chickens are a lot smarter than people generally assume, a lot 
smarter than humans possibly-- but how would one explain to chickens, for 
example, that the windshield wipers on one of the SAABs are stuck on "on"?  
After that happened I pulled into Barnes Elementary School, tipped myself more 
or less upside down, tried to find a visual key to the fuses in the footwell's 
gloom.  I expected a diagram that said which fuse controlled what, but I could 
see nothing.  Eventually, there it was.  Next came the problem of how big 
fingers could pull the fuse.  I said aloud, almost as if I were reciting an 
incantation, "I wish SAAB's engineers had designed a tool.  I mean how hard 
could it be to include a fuse-pulling piece?  You could make a kind of tweezer 
out of plastic."  And then I saw; actually, they had.

On the morn of New Year's eve both water containers froze, and the aluminum 
feeder was empty.  Ergo, I was greeted by grumpy chickens and I was not a 
particularly happy god.  Lifting a fifty pound sack of food first thing in the 
morning is not my heart's desire.  I let the girls out of their enclosure and 
lifted the food container into the house.  Mimo thought it her duty to follow.  
Mac too.  I opened the door to the house.  Mac walked in; Mimo stepped forward, 
seeing absolutely no reason why she shouldn't be of assistance.  I blocked her 
way.  She gave me her haughtiest stare, "Excuse me." 
I closed the door, went to fetch the food.  She peered in.  
While they ate I tackled the water supply problem, eventually deciding that a 
bowl of hot water would be best.  They ran over to sip.  Rocky was the first to 
"Yes?" I asked.
"We'd prefer tea."
Peccorino added, "And scones."
"Tea?!"  Where had they heard of tea?
"And scones."
"Warm water is kind of..."
"No offense."
"None taken," I said.  An old story popped into my head, "You remind me of 
Asterix visiting the Brits."
I repeated, "Asterix?  The Brits stop fighting Romans and pause for afternoon 
hot water."
They circled, me, cogitating.
"God's talking foreign."
"Perplexing, that is."
"I believe it's punctuation."
"Why would he be punctuating?"
"Dunno.  Maybe the cold addles his brain."
"Warlock," said Cheddar.
"Wensleydale once said that a warlock might be comething, some day soon.  It 
was a prediction.  Before she died."
"I thought you said it was punctation.  Not the same thing at all, punctuation 
and prediction."
"What's a war lock?"
Eventually they asked me.  
I told them it was a device gods use to keep the peace.
They walked off, tutting.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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