Last week, I was waiting for the bathroom to warm up and staring out the window at the chicken coop, where one hen was scratching outside of bounds. At first, the sight was a little confusing. I wasn’t sure what that girl was doing, though I could see her and was sure I shouldn’t be able to because I don’t actually have xray vision and can’t see through chicken coops. The people of the chickens say there’s one who shouts, “PAPILLON!” and goes over the wall all the time, so: okay. Then I took a shower. It was a good and thorough shower in which I lathered my entire epidermis, later slathering it with moisturizing goo, making me feel rather well. Then I looked out the window again and discovered two more chickens going on the lam.
I called my sister Anya.
Anya: Hey! What’s up? That thing you said on Facebook was SO FUNNY when pronounced in the original Middle English!
Anya: The three-part harmony was very niiiice, not to mention the day-glo tulips –
Tata: I have to tell you a thing.
Anya: You do?
Tata: I do. It is this: the chickens are loose.
Anya: Is that code for something?
Tata: No. The chickens are actually loose.
Anya: By that, do you mean they are badly assembled?
Tata: Nope. You know your friend I don’t speak to? Call her and tell her her chickens are loose and making a break for it. You might want to hurry.
About five minutes later, She Who Is Not the Boss Of Me ran down her back steps and wrangled some hens, while I returned to my cramped schedule of smelling great and admiring my luminous, soft skin. Because I am so awesome.
This evening, I went out to pick herbs for dinner and found someone had invited himself or herself or deerself to dine. At first, I wasn’t sure what was amiss. The tenant’s giant squash plant looked a little squishy and a lot less giant, though it took a second look to determine why. The long golden flowers were all tucked into the planter but the elephantine leaves that shaded them were all gone. Suddenly, I was suspicious and crept around the outside of the garden fence. The tops of carrot flowers were nibbled off, but most of the garden was fine. Fortunately, I was staring at stems and crab-walking like a refugee from Mumenschantz when my neighbor, hosing down his broccoli, said, “Hey Domy, whatcha doin’?”
Only Grandpa ever called me Domy, so I stopped crab-walking to stare at him. Teddy, who looks exactly like his dog should introduce himself with a hale, “Peabody here,” is not properly afraid of me. He is fairly sure that I am crazy and will sit and watch his chickens do silly, chickeny things and he is right. He is looking at me now like he is considering his options, but I am not worried.
Tata: It looks like we’ve had one deer stop by on the way back to the bar. The brussel sprouts are a goner!
Teddy: I covered my broccoli with mesh – you know that wire mesh – I covered my broccoli with the mesh and I got perfect broccoli.
Tata: That’s…exciting. Someone looked over the fence here and found miniature cabbage leaves at eye level. But there wasn’t much else to eat.
I leaned on something Pete and I should remove at our earliest convenience.
Teddy: What is that, anyway?
Tata: It was a peach tree.
Teddy: It was a peach tree?
I rearranged a dead little branch to lean on another dead little branch.
Tata: It has gone to Heaven.
We both stared at the tragic little branches.
Tata: Well, nice talking with you. I gotta go slice the still-living limbs from defenseless plants. See you!