Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Once upon a time, there lived a rooster who pondered flying the coop


Once upon a time there was a lonely rooster named Doug who lived in a big chicken coop with a lot of other fowl.  Well, he wasn’t so much lonely as he was alone; he spent his daylight hours in a much bigger coop downtown with a flock of hens but his nights were his own, where he pecked on his computer & read books and watched tv to his rooster heart’s content.

And then one night, thirty or forty sleeps ago, a pair of noisy cockadoodles moved into the coop adjoining his; they began making lots of bothersome noises, often at late hours when he was trying to sleep.  They were more like bats than birds, flapping their wings loudest at night.  The rooster was unaccustomed to all the ruckus, and would perch on his sofa and blink rapidly, his feathers ruffled.  One night the cockadoodles got especially loud, and Doug went into a flurry, scurrying next door and crowing loudly at them.  The noisome duo could barely conceal the smirks on their beaks as they promised to keep things down.

Things remained calm for awhile, and then the rains came.

So it was one Wednesday night, when the rooster went downstairs to retrieve his mail, that he was met by another rooster, Old Bill.  Old Bill was not only the oldest bird in the henhouse, he’d lived there the longest too; so the other birds would go to him for various wrongs & the like, even if there was nothing Old Bill could really do.  “Hey Doug, how are things upstairs?” Old Bill asked.  “Are those two birdbrains still at it?”  Doug laughed politely and said “yes… but to be honest I’ve got other concerns right now, Bill.”  Old Bill widened his eyes.  “Such as?”  Doug said “Oh, last week the ceiling in my bedroom sprung a bad leak and it took forever to get someone to look at it.  They finally patched the roof, but I’m tired of waiting for someone to look at things inside.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to flying this coop, to be honest.”

 Old Bill clucked a couple times.  “Doug please don’t do anything too hasty, we’d hate to lose you.  Hey, I have an idea.  Let’s have a meeting.”  “A meeting?” Doug asked. “With who?”  “A couple of the other old timers here” Old Bill said.  “we’ll come up with some answers.”  Doug said sure, why not.  Old Bill said to give him an hour, then meet him downstairs in the laundry room.

So an hour later, Doug the rooster headed to the basement.  There was Old Bill, accompanied by two hens, Peg & Thelma from the second & third floors.  “Doug, Old Bill says you’re thinking of flying the coop?” Peg asked.  Doug shrugged his wings, unsure of how to respond.  “So I hear you’re stuck with Tutti-Frutti!” Thelma said, and shook her head.  Doug laughed and nodded.  “I met that pair a week ago” Thelma added.  “The chubby one is the wife!”  Peg giggled and whispered “Thelma, tell Doug who YOU’VE got…”   “Mexicans!”  Thelma squawked.  “All they do is play loud music and cook beans!  The fumes alone give me gas!” 

Doug stood there, a bit taken aback as Old Bill & Peg laughed.  “I kid you not!” Thelma huffed. 

Old Bill spoke up.  “Well, you know Doug here lives on the top floor, and he’s dealing with a leaky roof right now and isn’t very happy about it either.” 

Thelma looked at Doug and said “Peg, tell Doug what happened to your bathroom ceiling back in the day.”  Peg said “Oh that was almost fifteen years ago… remember when they used to put us older hens all on the same floor?  And we’d meet in the hall & swap dishes?  I miss that!”  Thelma rolled her eyes and sighed.  “Get on with it Peg.”  Peg said “Right... well, this is when I worked downtown, before I retired.  I came home one night and really had to use the bathroom, so I rushed inside and wouldn’t you know it, my bathroom ceiling had fallen in & smashed my toilet.”  “Oh my gosh!  What happened?” Doug asked.  “A Chinaman lived above her & was running a laundry here, that’s what!” Thelma squawked.  “His tub was full of clothes and it all came tumbling down!”   “I can still remember all those wet shirts”  Peg said.  “They were everywhere!  But they fixed it up real good.”  Thelma turned to Doug.  “And what was your problem?  You had a drip?”

Later, as Doug the rooster & Old Bill were heading back upstairs, they stopped on the second floor landing.  “I can hear that music from Thelma’s neighbor now…” said Doug, and Old Bill chuckled and nodded. “I’ve told Thelma she should ask ‘em to turn it down, I even offered to do it for her.  But she insists it’s not a real bother.”   Doug said “So what was the purpose of that so-called meeting?  Was it your way of telling me things could be worse?”  Old Bill smiled.  “It wasn’t my intention Doug… but I think it worked out that way.  Did it help?”  Doug said maybe it did, and realized how much he liked Old Bill, and a few others there as well.  He wished the old rooster a good night & walked the rest of the way upstairs by himself.

The End


  1. I feel for you, Doug--this has to be a tough living situation to...well, live with. Ugh! Why do some people have to be so inconsiderate?

  2. Sorry to hear all your troubles Doug. Although, I must say, a beautifully written piece. What did building management say about the noise? Is there anything they can do? Code of conduct? Sheesh did those hens have to comment about their neighbors being Mexican and make snide remarks about their food? Racist much? Slightly homophobic too. I hope you have a better time of it Doug, you really deserve to have wonderful neighbors or perhaps to have a wonderful new coop entirely. You'd be an awesome neighbor to have. Hang in there bud.

  3. Thanks Pam, thanks Chelly--guys, I hope I didn't give the wrong impression here, I wasn't looking for sympathy! I admit, between my noisy new neighbors and that recent leaky roof I've been feeling sorry for myself lately--but that talk I had with my older neighbors the other night really cheered me up about things. And Chelly, yes--those old hens aren't exactly politically correct (I think they're both close to 80) but they still gave me a few chuckles, I couldn't resist sharing. Right now there's not much else I can do. :)

  4. laughter is always best! :)

    The rooster/hen motif was fun. Great selection of pics—especially the last one!

  5. Haha thanks Chelly--as for the rooster-talk, the minute I heard "Doug is flying the coop" I was inspired :)

  6. I thought the same thing with the Mexican comment as Chelly did. It reminded me of a friend I had who complained constantly about Indian neighbors in her condo building and how the smell of curry and other spices was making her sick. Every time I visited her condo, I never smelled it...and anyways, I love Indian food and would probably try to take advantage of them to bum a home cooked Indian meal! I agree with Chelly; it was a creative blog post, Doug!

  7. Pam I actually censored a lot of what those old birds said, trust me :) I just think that once a person hits 80 years old, they're going to think & say whatever they want--all you can do is laugh :)

    (And for the record, I have an Indian family right up the hall from me, and they DO a lot of Indian cooking, but I can only smell it at their end of the hallway & it always smells good :)

    Thanks again, Retro-Pam :)

  8. Pam and Doug: My family's East Indian and shucks, I heart you guys! xo


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