Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pecky Floppy Rooster

Pecky Floppy Rooster
©Ken Harris, 2008

Auburn, California, 1960s. We had a flock of chickens and a banty rooster to keep them in line. The only trouble with this splendid scheme was that he thought he ought to keep us in line as well. His favored tactic was to ambush from behind and dig into our ankle with his spurs and peck us with his beak, all the while filling the air with feathers and chicken invective. The kids named him Pecky Floppy.

Our children, Pat and Eric, were afraid to go anywhere near the bird. Their fears were well founded. Pat might have been seven, but I think younger. And Eric was two years younger than she. They were no match for a feathered psychopath.

One morning Joanne was working in the garden near the chicken pen when Pecky Floppy nailed her in the Achilles tendon. Joanne instinctively turned and whacked the bird with her hoe or rake or whatever gardening tool she had in her hand. She broke the rooster’s wing. Both she and the bird were startled by this development.

Joanne said, “All right, you little son of a bitch. I’ve hurt you, and now I’m going to kill you.”

And she did.

Once she had removed his head, feet, feathers and entrails, there wasn’t much left of the bird except sinew and bone. She boiled him and stewed him and simmered him and brewed him and that evening we had Pecky Floppy Stew. He was chewy but, if we tried hard enough, we could swallow him.

During the course of dinner Eric paused and looked at the chunk of chicken meat on his spoon. “Mom,” he asked, “are you sure this is Pecky Floppy?”

“Yes, this is definitely Pecky Floppy.”

“Good!” smiled Eric and began to happily chew. It’s good to eat your enemy’s heart. Or drumstick.

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