Damnit. From the start I was agennit. Rooster without the stones to tend his flock ought to be dinner; even from a cockerel he weren’t worth the crap he’d leave on my porch chair. He weren’t even at the top of his pecking order; bigger hens’d knock him right from his perch, and mating’d happen on their terms. Come to suspect half the chicks in the yard were from the neighbor’s Leghorn. But the wife, the wife she’d been reading the city paper, and come across some article on a ugly sparrow or somesuch, changed to Marlon Brando with some felt-pen make up.
Like any woman told to put up her make up sticks, she handed me the bird, then stomped on out to the barn to tart up our rooster. No sooner had she stopped blowin his toes than he started attracting all manner of getup from the hens. They started a peckin and a pawin at each other til the blood ran; I had to train the hose on em to get em to stop. From the noises out the coop that night, the bloodlettin continued into the moonlight, with the copulatin starting somewhere in between; just a little paint on his chest and our rooster was like to one a them mad Roman sodomites or the next.
By morning, a new pecking order emerged, with the rooster where he belonged. Over the next week, he crowed more and more, and louder, stronger. The wife she a told me it was testosterone makes a rooster crow, to which I chuckled and asked what it took to make a crow rooster. She didn’t laugh; couldn’t member the last time she laughed with me, though at times I caught her laughin to me.
A few weeks more, she spent more and more time painting that rooster, spent more and more of our ethanol money on glosses and polish and powders with no practical use at all, cause I ain’t fool enough to think prettying a practical use. And I swear, I ain’t never a known, but her sister called, said it was something urgent, could I find her please in a hurry, that I went out in that barn. I’d a figured for all the world she was working to reshoe the horse the noises usherin from inside, all the while that rooster a claimin his territory, even if only the fowl paid heed to his claim. But there she lay sprawled on a bed a hay, knickers round her ears, that vain fool bird flappin his gold-painted wings at her nethers. They stopped, both looked at me, and not a one of us said a word, but they went back at it, and I told her sister she’d have to get called back.
That was Tuesday, and in the intervenin days I’ve had me a think or two. Now, ya might have a wonder why my britches are in the dirt, and I’ll tell ya there’s a story there. I could have bludgeoned the sumbitch with an ax handle, but that ain’t sportin; aside of that, the missus is a ruttin with him for some reason, and physical prowess may factor somewheres. Rooster’s taked up my place in the peckin order, taked up with my hen, and just last eve was eyein my perch through the window. Now if’n I want my place restored me it’s to combat or nothin else.
Took some crowin to roust him from the coop, probably cause the sun ain’t rose, but now he’s standing in the dirt afore me, head to side, sizing me with just the one eye. I affixed a razor blade to the tip of my old bird with duct tape, on account a I got no natural beak. I ain’t seen him defend hisself from another rooster, so I can’t be sure where his first strike’ll be, but I ain’t fit for quittin; he’ll walk away a capon or I will. Loser’ll grow fat and lazy, and that’ll be the end of him- good eatin, if it’s him, the wife takin half what’s left of my dignity and land if’n it’s me. He waltzes round, with the rising sun at his back, left wing struck out towards the ground. I’m just waitin for the chicken-livered bastard to crow, so we can get on with it.