As I have related over the past two years, my one-sidedly antagonistic relationship with a certain neighbor has been slowly warming. We now regularly have short and shallow chats as I pass her house on my daily dog walks. A while back she suggested that we allow our ducks to roam more freely. She wouldn’t mind at all if they waddled down to her yard to eat some slugs. Last week she offered me a peach.
Yesterday, however, she had a particular concern to discuss with me. A complaint, really . . When my husband came home later in the day, I told him about the conversation
‘She said we should kill our rooster and eat him.’
To backtrack a minute, we have discussing this exact topic for a while now. Whereas I was thinking along the lines of re-homing the rooster like we did last time, the husband was for a more final solution. I found that sort of sad. This rooster had once been part of a happy Band of Brothers and by sheer dumb luck became the sole survivor (two of his brothers have long since been digested, the third one landed in our freezer). Unfortunately, he made a fatal mistake when deciding to start his days of loud crowing at 4:30 am. Now his time was up.
I thought that by telling the husband about my conversation with Mean Neighbor Lady he might change his mind. He didn’t. In fact, it seemed to make him more determined. He told me later that he was going to do the deed himself. I asked him how and he explained. I asked him if he was going to use an axe and he said, no, probably the big butcher knife he had gotten from his brother.
We sat in silence for a time and I contemplated his burgeoning collection of knives and his predilection for reading grotesque psycho killer thrillers.
‘You know,’ I said, ‘they say one thing all mass murderers have in common is that they killed small animals in their youths.’
‘I killed mice when I was young,’ he responded. ‘Of course with traps.’
‘You didn’t enjoy it though . . . or . . . did you?’
He didn’t respond.
I thought about what we were going to do once the animal was dead. He had said earlier that he would probably just bury it because it was too old to cook. I sighed.
‘I guess we will have to eat him. Otherwise it is just murder.’
The husband is now sitting out on the porch in his farmer overalls and watching YouTube videos about how to properly slaughter and dress a chicken. And I have to go clean out and reorganize the freezer to make room for a second rooster. The whole time I will be muttering about Mean Neighbor Lady and how she is to blame for setting this whole unfortunate series of events in motion.
Yesterday, my life had only one old bird in need of thawing. Soon there will be four.