The rooster rushed me as I turned my back. I had just gotten two paperback books from the mailbox and was preparing to feed him.
He got right into my face. Literally, as I bent to ward off his assault with the only protection I held in my hands. The books.
I hit his head with one. The “Kabbalah And The Power Of Dreaming: Awakening The Visionary Life” by Catherine Shainberg. Did nothing to halt his progress.
I switched to a book on Christ, striking the Sombitch with “ISSA: The Greatest Story Never Told,” a novel, by Lois Drake. I immediately felt the old Catholic guilt, and was glad I had “pulled my punches” with both smacks.
I kinda lost it then. I had just used writings from two religions as a weapon in each hand. They’re books involving beliefs from the Old and the New Testaments, and neither seemed to work for me.
So I hollered for my son, Nicholas, to come to my aid. (The rooster is afraid of him, I guess because he yells at the Sombitch.) I pleaded, raising my voice in a near cry, hoping my son would help me before I killed his pet — the one he raised from a chick in a lighted cardboard box in his bedroom. Yes, I was torn between fear of taking the life of this fowl, and him drawing blood from me. Again.
Got away from the rooster, using a pole to push him, chasing him up the backyard steps of our Conshohocken, PA, home. I opened the kitchen door, feeling sorry for myself. Had to turn to a teenager to help an old war veteran deal with a scrawny little bird. My pride was at issue. The rooster struck fear in me. I “wanted” to hurt him, but could not because of . . . maybe . . . empathy? A sense it would be wrong to kill something with seemingly no morality and little intelligence? A being I’m quite fond of when not attacking me? (All of the above?)
My 18-year-old son, taller than me by four inches, confronted the rooster like a drill sergeant on a new recruit. Cursed at the rooster and herded him into the shed at the top of the hill. Locked him in a metal cage we keep in the converted chicken coop. Passed a sentence that would keep the fowl in the cage for 48 hours.
Solitary confining a rooster felt like the right thing to do.
It was punishment that seem to fit the crime, providing retribution, a loss of liberty and enough time for the critter to contemplate its sin.
We let him out after serving only 24 hours. My liberal nature kicked in. How could a rooster know the difference between right and wrong? He’s just a bird with a bird brain and no sense of morality. It’s up to humans, enlightened creatures that we are, to understand such higher values. To be kind, loving and forgiving.
But, it sure was fun imagining the rooster’s neck being stretched on the chopping block. Found I was getting quite attached to it. “Detaching” the Sombitch’s head, that is, perish the thought of anything else.