n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

An Open Letter to Mary Russell

Dear Mary Russell (The Chicken Not the Fictional Detective-Wife of Sherlock Holmes)--

You are a very beautiful bird. I mean, your bars are so lovely, so barred-rocky. Your red jowls, your vibrant comb, those fluffy-butt feathers. And I have the sense that you could become the best protector of all the other birds, saving them from overhead eagles, rounding them up when the dogs are loud and the coons are exploring.

Still, Mary Russell, I need to talk to you about something. Basically, I don't really understand why you need to be such a bitch.

You've been raised by me, just like the other five birds, from the very beginning of your life. And I'd like you to understand that this letter is not about you, per se, so much as it's about your behavior. Let us consider: Pecking CR? Attacking the babies? Strutting around like you're some kind of prehistoric velociraptor? Really, Mary Russell. Really.

When you were younger, Mary Russell, you were not a bitch, and in fact were so totally adorable that I favored you a bit. You used to sit so sweetly in my hand, whereas Flavia would cheep like I was about to eat her and Octavia would uber-stress into a meditative sleep. You would tilt your head and attempt to pull out my nose ring.
When you got older, and pretty darn awkward if I may be honest, I stuck by you. I still loved you, Mary Russell, and admired you.

Oh, and I fed you, remember: I've fed you since the beginning. So, why do you act like I'm going to not feed you? That I'm going to take your food? That I am going to hurt you? Why do you squawk like a bird about to go to the block when I pick you up and hold you close, stroking your chin and head, and that lovely red comb, when I have "handled" you from the beginning to hypothetically get you used to me handling you? Why do I have to catch you, when really all I have to do with the five others is pick them up? Why do you hop on top of the smaller Orloff chickens and peck them hard as they squawk and wriggle to get free? All in all, Mary Russell, I am asking you why you are such a bitch.

Did I do something wrong? Did I drink too much and pick you up drunk and squish you a little but not remember in the morning? Did I let the wrong literature into our home? Did I not take you to church often enough? Was there tension surrounding my perpetually single status and rotten students that I unintentionally took out on you? My queer lifestyle? Did CR come in and pinch you when I was off at work? I mean, obviously, I must have done something wrong: not expected enough of you perhaps, or spoke every so softly to Octavia but not you, or not found a religion all of us could get behind.

Well, I know I did have that dream that one time. The one where -- since you were such a bitch -- I told CR he could 'cull' you. And when I changed my mind at the last moment, he insisted on being able to wring your scrawny little neck. True, he wouldn't back down no matter how much I asked him to reconsider, and then he strutted around showing your beautiful (dead) feathers to everyone until I felt utterly ashamed. (True story) But it was a dream, Mary Russell, only a dream!

Regardless of such treacheries, I'd like to arrange an agreement wherein you consider not being such a bitch. In exchange, I will respect the pecking order. You are the head honcha. There is no doubt that you are the head honcha. Well, except for me. But other than me, you are head honcha. And also, I will pledge to always make sure you have enough food, and I will lock you, and others, up tightly at night--every night--so the coons or possums can't get you. And I will make Herald stay 20 feet from the gate when I go in and out, so he can't dart in like he tried to do that one time, but I smacked him hard and now he stays 20 feet from the gate. I will pledge to give you grapes. My god, do you ever love the grapes. And I will toss over most of the weeds from my garden, whether you like them or not. Finally, I pledge to fill up your feeder and take admiring photos.

Granted, I will continue to try to pick you up despite your enormous distress at there being a creature larger than you in the run, and stroke your chin and coo lovingly. But, I think you have a pretty decent bargain here! I hope you will consider...

With Love, -J

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