[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 17 May 2015 12:03:24 -0700

This week, four fragments.

Mimo has reintegrated, which means that the flock again moves four and one,
Cheddar being the one. On Monday when I called them home, the one failed to
appear. I looked for her after class, in the dark. Camouflaged with leaves
and detritus, she'd hunkered down beside the outer wall of the coop, doing her
best to stay alive. She was near comatose when I lifted her up, put her gently
inside with the others, who made sleepy greeting noises.

I took the New York Times out to read with the chickens, as one does. They
seemed curious. I said that Michael Heizer's "City" is nearly finished.
"He's been building, digging really, this extensive sculptured landscape in the
Nevada desert since the 1970's."
I changed sections, tried the book review. "How about this sentence, for an
opener, 'The historical landscape is littered with the wreckage of regimes...'?"
"Would that explain the large structure below the rocks, is that a regime?"
"No," I said, rising to refill my coffee cup, "that's a boat."

"Consider space," said Appenzeller, a propos of nothing.
"All right," I said, and sang, "chicken control to Major Tom..."
"Sorry," I said.
"The thing we note," said the black sage, "is that the more we roam, the
greener the land becomes."
"Would that have something to do with it being Spring maybe?"
"We have taken seasonal variation into account. It's a factor, certainly, but
not what you might call a sufficient explanation. It occurs to me that the
vigorous growth might have something to do with the widespread scattering of

The group appeared, as a delegation, minus Cheddar. Mimo led, "We've been
thinking about the dog chasing after that sphere."
"The ball."
"Is what he does some kind of training?"
"You could put it that way."
Peccorino, "Only, after our fight with the jays we think we should be more
"For enemies?"
Rocky beamed. Chickens can do that, you know. "Precisely."
"Prepared in what way?"
Appenzeller, "Well Cheddar says that Wensleydale said..."
Peccorino, "You'll hardly believe this..."
"Try me."
"She thinks we used to have teeth."
"No one can remember when."
"No, no. Can't remember teeth."
"No, no."
I suggested that teeth may have been a while back and then wondered aloud why
they were feeling the lack right now. "You seem to do very well with claws and
beaks and shouting."
Mimo, "For a paltry foe like the yahoo Jays this is true. But what if we came
up against something that required greater savagery?"
"Such as?"
Rocky, "There's the thing. We can't imagine."
Mimo, "Don't have any art to guide us."
"Are you particularly worried?"
Appenzeller puffed up, "Stoicism is our byword."
"Byword," Cheddar echoed, appearing from the underbrush.
"So you've gone all Greek then? Joined a gym?"
Rocky, "The motion that a little running (now and then) would be good, passed
"Unanimously," said Cheddar.
"Don't let me stand in your way."
Peccorino, "We'll go round. But were wondering if you'd like to sponsor this
Mimo, "With bread. As a prize?"
Rocky, "You could be involved if you wish, shout something...to get us
started...and then here we come, running."
"Might this perchance, be a scheme to get me to supply more bread?"
"Bugger," said Cheddar.
Mimo, "He's not buying it is he?"
Peccorino began the retreat, "Back to the worms, girls."
I said, "She so list to hunt, I know where is an worm."
Appenzeller muttered, "God's bonkers."
Mimo, "There always was a suspicion of that."
Rocky, "Did you hear what he said about some guy digging in the desert?"
Appenzeller, "That's not bonkers; you gotta dig to live."
I pulled a bag of bread from behind my back. "Ready, set, go." I threw pieces
towards the sleeping box.
And into the coop they ran.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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