THE GODDESS and our WRITER look at the fence separating the backyard from THE CHICKENS’ MEADOW. Even though the gate to the meadow is closed, The Chickens are on the wrong side of the fence, and are buck-bucking through The Goddess’ GARDEN.
Either I increase the height of the fence or...
The Writer considers the fence: it’s about waist-high. A height he can no longer consider vaulting at his age and weight, but a height that is obviously no obstacle to the fowl nearby.
Or I’m going to have to clip some wings.
He looks at Her, knowing how loathe She is to tamper with nature.
You could glue some broken glass and bent nails along the top of the fence.
She looks at him.
Off Her look, he goes inside the house.
Sometimes a little lateral thinking just isn’t welcome.
So I blogged about a chicken – and a dead one at that – and tried to pass it off as being about supporting characters by bookending it with some weak-ass scriptwriting observations. It’s just that, in the aftermath of Wallace’s sudden departure, The Goddess said, If we’re like this over a chicken we’ve only known six months, we’re gonna be a mess when The Dog karks it.
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.
The Dark Brown One, The Light Brown One and The Mid-Brown One.
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 establishedThe 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).
Wallace – 2008
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.