A Home for Red Rooster
A wise owl once said, “When it rains, it pours.” Lucky for the owl, who was far afield hunting mice when a boisterous storm decided to wring itself dry over the Turners’ farm. Rain lashed the apple trees in the orchard, thunder roared from the heavens. An Elm tree vexed by this show of youthful exuberance, dared the cloud to do his worst, which whipped the storm into greater fury. The Elm trees’ challenge was met with a fistful of lightning bolts that split the trunk in two with a resounding crack. The stars, horrified by this terrible murder, fled to safer constellations, leaving a thick slab of darkness that oozed over the farm like a leaky fountain pen.
Red Rooster didn’t care that the vengeful thunderstorm was now a villain. His only concern was the deluge of raindrops soaking his tail feathers. He had chosen to roost in a lime tree close to the farm house but now he cursed his bad luck. His perch was damp and slippery, the pitter patter of water falling from the leaves annoyed him and worst, he was wet. Exasperated, Red tucked his head further under his wing and tried to sleep. Spying the sleeping rooster, the merciless cloud shook the lime tree with a loud thunderclap that made Red cock-a doodle in fright. Embarrassed, Red flew into the night followed by a chorus of hoots and chirps from the cheeky chickadees and turtle doves that were nesting a few branches over.
Red landed in a flutter of feathers right underneath the eaves of the Turners’ doghouse. He cocked his head this way and that way. He used his beak to preen his black, red and gold plumage, then puffing his chest feathers; he mustered the courage to peck at the door, before cautiously sticking his head inside. “This feels warm and cozy,” he thought, and best of all, it was dry. His only warning came from the rattle of a chain and the sound of paws scrambling against the wooden floor. A shaggy brown face rocketed out of the shadows straight towards Red, forcing the rooster to jump upwards and back with a frightened squawk. The doghouse shook and trembled as Red flapped around trying to protect his precious neck from the snap of canine teeth and saliva. This was too much for the bedraggled rooster, and with a final cluck and a mighty leap, Red beat a swift retreat through the door hounded by the ferocious barking of the farms’ golden retriever.
In his fright, Red flew over the picket fence that ran around the farmhouse and smack into a herd of dairy cows. He narrowly escaped being crushed by a hoof; he spread his wing to fly but was side swiped by a tail that hit him full in the face. “Squawk”, Red cried in a flurry of feathers and wounded pride. Splattered in mud and covered in bits of grass Red ran for his life. He ran this way and that, dodging udders and bovine rumps until the sound of their annoying mooing was far behind him. Slipping through the fence, Red ran as fast as his little chicken legs would carry him, past the Turners’ front porch and round the side of the house. In a few hours it would be morning. The deluge that had drenched the farm gradually lessened as the thunderstorm ran out of rain. Grumbling, the storm floated away in a huff, trailing bits of left over lightning and thunder in its wake. Red rooster was tired; he was covered from comb to spur in mud and bits of grass and he still hadn’t found a place to sleep.
A gust of wind, a twist of fate, an open window and with that, Red’s luck changed. The kitchen window had become unhinged during the storm and although Red Rooster knew farm animals were never allowed in the house, he decided to take a chance. With the last of his strength, Red flew up and landed on the window sill. “Now here is a perch fit for a king,” he thought. He paused for a moment; he tilted his head left, then right, before hopping into the kitchen and onto the counter. Cooing to himself, Red saw Mrs. Turners enamel crock-pot with dome cover and brass handles. She had forgotten to put it away after supper and had left it at the end of the counter beside the refrigerator. Happy at last, Red strutted along the counter and with a quick flap of his wings was comfortably settled on top of Mrs. Turners’ favorite crock pot. Tucking his head under his wing Red Rooster fell instantly asleep.
A dream about a rooster in a thunderstorm? “What foolishness,” Mrs. Turner muttered as she pushed aside the bed sheets and sat on the side of the bed. She looked over at Mr. Turner snoring contentedly beside her, “silly man, he could sleep through anything,” she grumbled. The bed springs creaked as she stood up and went into the bathroom for her slippers and housecoat. Humming to herself, Mrs. Turner shuffled down the stairs, walked through the hallway and into the kitchen. Imagine her surprise, when she flicked the light switch and saw Red Rooster fast asleep on her crock-pot and muddy rooster tracks all over her kitchen counter. She was on the verge of screaming at the errant bird, when it hit her; her grandchildren were coming to visit and she had wanted something special to prepare for Sunday dinner. “Stranger things have happened” she thought, “now where is my knife”.