Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Creepy Dave

For as long as he could remember, he'd always felt like an outsider, different from the others.
When he walked across the yard, he could feel the hostile stares from the other boys, while the girls turned their backs to him and clucked cattily.

"Creepy Dave," they whispered in hushed hen voices. But he pretended not to hear. He knew he was considered small-boned, and he knew that his crows lacked the deep, sonorous quality of the others.
But he was not a rooster easily discouraged.
He kept up his courtship -- one day dancing for the speckled hen; the next day, dancing for a hen with snowy white plumage like his own. He even sidled up to some of the older matrons of the flock, twice his size. But all were indifferent to his charms.

And then he spotted her. With feathers the color of flames and eyes of amber, her beauty struck Creepy Dave like a bolt of lightening.
Tossing caution to the wind, he put forth his most magnificent display yet. Tapping into his inner Flashdance, he stamped his legs like pistons and tossed his feathery head with wild abandon.
The ginger-feathered object of his affection didn't run from him and she didn't turn up her beak. Instead, she did what Creepy Dave had previously dared not even dream of: she kissed him.
Beaks touched and time stood still.
It was then that Creepy Dave knew he could die a happy bird.

At long last, he'd found acceptance; he'd found love

The Chicken-Duck

She didn’t know how long she’d been in hiding, but time meant nothing to Antoinette; she was a bird on a mission.

Too many times she’d created a perfect nesting spot for herself, only to have her maternal ambitions thwarted by The Human and its egg-snatching ways. Not this time, thought Antoinette.
She’d been out on a routine bug-hunting venture along the fence line when she’d spotted the cache of eggs – untouched and hidden deep in the tall grasses.

How the eggs got there mattered little to Antoinette. Guided by a visceral, undefinable impulse, she hunkered down with the egg cache and waited.

Weeks passed. The Human had lumbered past several times, calling out her name. But Antoinette turned a deaf ear. She knew her patience and stealth would be rewarded.

And so they were. First came the persistent peeping, then the tap-tap-tap of a tiny beak against a shell. At last, one small ball of fluff burst forth, and then another.

“Strange, that one’s beak,” thought Antoinette. “And the feet are so flat and wide, almost like paddles….” But she quickly dismissed those thoughts and focused on the task at hand.

When day broke, Antoinette marched proudly back into the flock, the fruits of her labor in tow. The other hens looked at her askance, but she knew they were just jealous.

Antoinette didn’t even notice when The Human emerged from its compound.

“ARRGHGHH!!!” came a garbled cry. “What the F—?!?!”

The Human is displeased, Antoinette thought.

But what did she care? No longer did she have to hide; no longer was she a hen on the run.

Victory was sweet.

The Sentinel

No one had ever accused Ian Puffypants of being overly heroic. Short in stature and puffy of feathers, he was a rooster oft underestimated. Other chickens regularly chased him about, while the goose sometimes rolled his rotund body along the ground like a feathered soccer ball. 

But dire circumstances can make heroes out of the most unlikely candidates.

That late-summer afternoon, IPP knew something was wrong. After a languid session lying under a bush with his favorite chicken companion, IPP found that little Hen #20 would not rise when dusk beckoned them all into the barn. He clucked impatiently but received no response.

Confusion gave way to concern and soon, panic. IPP's clucking grew wilder and his pacing more frantic, as visions of nefarious nighttime creatures played in his mind. But something else played in his head, too: some distant, atavistic memory ..... a well, a boy, a dog... Lassie?

And then it happened: The Human came lumbering around the corner, slow and clumsy as usual. But IPP knew what he had to do. Furiously his feathered feet stamped the ground, as he let loose a thin, reedy crow.

The Human turned. Closer it came, stooping just beside them. Strange noises emanated from The Human's lips as oafish mitts lifted the prostrate hen and carried her away.
Closely IPP followed them, until the Human reached the doorway into its structure. He branched off to his own perching station then, uncertain but satisfied he'd protected his hen from the dangers of the dark.

Days later, IPP was strolling around the bushes and he saw her again: Little Hen #20 had returned to the yard. Standing on shaky legs, she clucked a gentle salutation.

"Lassie...." echoed the distant voice again in IPP's head again. And he silently thanked the inspiration that had convinced him to summon The Human that fateful evening.

He would would always remain wary, he thought, but no longer would he curse The Human and its oafish ways.

The Operation

Gaby wasn't feeling herself. The unusually cool summer, the constant influx of new summer fruits and vegetables to sample from -- none of these were enough to buoy her spirits. She felt an uncomfortable heaviness in her abdomen, and when she tried to fly to the perches at night, she found herself unable to lift off the ground.

The Human worried. Large ungainly hands lifted her delicate body into a box, and soon Gaby found herself under bright lights atop a cold, metal exam room table. She was confused, so she didn't fight when the tiny gas mask went over her beak and sent her into unconsciousness.

When she awoke a few hours later, something was different. She felt a certain lightness to her body. A bit of soreness too and.... what are those? Staples!  Something had definitely happened; something was definitely missing. "The humans," she thought, "They have cut something out of me -- perhaps that unpleasant abdominal mass that made me feel so heavy?"

Soon The Human reappeared, boxed her up, and brought Gaby back to its compound. Pills. Repulsive syrupy medicines. Nonsensical human chatter in the air. A small prison cell, a fraction of the size of her normal sleeping quarters.

A plate of corn appeared, but Gaby was not fooled. She knew she had to get out.

The next morning, she was ready. She heard the jar of pills opening, and she watched the hulking human hands reach for the prison-door latch.

Like a bolt of lightening, Gaby made her break. Through the prison door and out the screen door she ran, never slowing, never looking back.

"Gaby, wait! Your medicine!" wailed The Human, but Gaby did not wait. On and on she ran until she found her kin. White feathers blended into white feathers until she was just one drop in a sea of hens. She knew The Human would never be able to find her again.

She chortled in a clucky kind of way, then sighed in relief. Safe again.