[lit-ideas] Sunday Threefer

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2013 12:10:09 -0800

When a chicken's done laying an egg she let's you know, "Crikey, good lord 
almighty.  I've laid another."  When a chicken's done laying an egg and all the 
others are out foraging, sometimes they do that thing children do. 
Triumphant bird, "I've laid an egg."
Whisper in a crouching crowd, "Don't let her see us."
Near crowing, "I said I've laid an egg.  Where are you?"
Whisper, "Keep still.  She won't know we're here."  Much stifled laughter.
"Hello?  Hello?...  Flock!" 

There came a tapping on the door's window pane.  I opened just a crack, gazed 
benevolently down on six chickens.
Rocky took the lead, "Good morning.  We have come to worship." 
Mimo was polite, "Is this a good time?"
"Actually, no," I responded in usual fashion.  This was not the first occasion 
this had happened.
Cheddar launched in, "Hallowed be thy name."
"Where's the other, the daughter?" Peccarino asked.
"Not currently in evidence," said Mimo.  "A singular manifestation."
Rocky got to the point, "And the holy toast?"
"Holy toast," Cheddar added for good measure.
"Don't suppose you've got any?" 
I said, firmly, "no," and was about to close the door when Appenzeller did a 
business.  I stepped out to look for the shovel of removal.  They followed in 
an excited cluster.   
"Stand back, I think he's going to throw," Mimo remained hopeful.
"That's a shame," said Cheddar.
"What is," I asked, shovel in hand.
"The object.  I believe it's called a shame."
"Right," I said, seeing no reason to disagree.
"Is there anyone else in the house we could talk to?  Your manager perhaps?" 
Peccarino wondered.
"Not at present."
They clustered.  "Sisters, let us pray."
"I'm afraid," I said, "I'm going to have to recuse myself from this meeting on 
account of my not being an interested party."
"One piece?" Rocky pushed her luck.
"Peace," Cheddar echoed.
"If you'll go away, I'll throw one down."
"Hallelujah," said Mimo, "sing hallelujah sisters, the god will throw toast."
They moved to where it usually lands.  I went inside, climbed the stairs up to 
the kitchen, let them wait a dramatic moment or two, opened the high door and 
let fly.  When they were done gobbling, they gathered for another meeting.  
"He's mysterious that one," Appenzeller opined.
"Very mysterious," said Cheddar.
Wennsleydale came running up.  "Was there toast?"
"Oh no," everyone chimed.  "No, no."
"We think it was geese," Mimo lied.
After a while the theological debate resumed.  "He lets the dog and cats see 
the origin of toast, how is their form of worship better?"
"Maybe they're more in touch with Nature," Wennsleydale offered.  "Who's going 
to join me on the solstice?"
"They could be polytheists, dogs and cats."
Wennsleydale had her sources, "I think cats worship Baal."
"Why would they worship a cow?"
Mimo said, "Funny things, cats.  I knew one once was a Hindu...  Or a Honda."
Mimo was indignant, "Well maybe."
"Mazda, you're thinking of," said Wensleydale, "You're probably thinking of 
followers of Mazdaznan."
"I think he's hiding," Rocky interjected, peering through the window, "behind 
the counter."
They all rushed to look.
"He's talking to an inanimate object," said Appenzeller, whose vocabulary is 
"That's a sign of incipient schizophrenia," said Wennsleydale, not to be 
outdone, "when you talk to inanimate objects."
"Ooooh," said Cheddar, "get Doctor cheese!"

Before lunch I went to the box to collect mail.  Seeing that the sun was 
peeking briefly through and that the chickens were perhaps in need of company, 
I went out back, picked a bright spot, got going with the opener on the 
envelopes.  When next I looked down, I saw ten eyes looking up.  I offered to 
read to them from the book of bills.
"Actually we were wondering if envelopes are where toast comes from."
"The fons et origo," said Wensleydale.
"No," I said, "it's bills."
Rocky appeared around a corner.  "I found the dog's food."
Round the other side of the house."
"Last one there's a sissy."
Wensleydale and I stared at one another, thinking.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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