Introducing new supporting characters to an existing narrative is a challenge: they have to have a good reason to join up; they have to add value; and they better be damned interesting.
That’s pretty much how I felt when The Goddess decided to get some chickens – real chickens – earlier in the year.
- Good reason to join up? Because The Goddess said.
- Do they add value? They lay eggs, silly.
- Are they interesting? See below.
I never expected The Chickens to be interesting. They arrived stringy and without combs, and with the promise of egg-laying still a few months away.
As I struggled to adjust to a growing menagerie – there’s the beginnings of a post on the The Worm Farm somewhere on the hard-drive – an endless loop of Sesame Street‘s what-comes-first-the-chicken-or-the-egg tormented me during my waking hours. I had to find a place – like a
pigeonchicken-hole in My World for them. In a feeble attempt to describe our homestead as Fortress Mamea, having established The Dog as our Rapid Deployment Force and The Cat as a Spec/Black Ops unit, maybe the fowl were our CAP. But it never really fit.
As summer slushed to autumn, and autumn torrented into winter, specific personalities emerged from these creatures whose brains could not be larger than my thumb.
The Light Brown One was flighty from day one, and is still nervous to this day. ‘N.S.’ best describes this one.
The Dark Brown One was the demanding one – the one most likely to flutter up and get first dibs on what you had in your hand.
And the Mid-Brown One was the adventurous, curious one – the first to try a grasshopper, and the first to discover flight (ie., to the top of the fence that separated their ‘meadow’ from the rest of the property).
The Mid-Brown One – Wallace – was killed today. One of the neighbourhood dogs – a pure-bred mastiff – escaped his keep and the first we saw was him with a mouthful of very dead chicken. We’ve met the mastiff on a number of occasions: he’s a sweetie with an overabundance of slobber; and his owner is very conscientious about keeping his dog under control.
It was an accident: a dog got loose, saw something moving rapidly, gave chase, and that was all she wrote.
It’s shitty that it was the one with personality that got killed.
It’s ridiculous that I’m committing a post to a damned chicken that I was at pains not to get too close to.
But that’s how it is with supporting characters. Sometimes they get under your skin. You get to like them. And when they’re gone, you miss them and all their stupid little idiosyncrasies.