It was the summer of 2010, the setting Ma and Pa Keegan’s, my grandparents from my mom’s side, farm in Washington. I don’t think that the farm counted as an actual ‘farm’ anymore so to speak, it had seventeen acres, approximately seven of them were occupied by the front yard, the backyard, the house, the machine shed/garage, the chicken coop, and the creek and small swaths of land which either couldn’t be or hadn’t been used for anything. The other ten acres were used to grow hay. There were no cows, horses, or pigs, and the garden grandma used to keep behind the garage had been neglected, and was slowly being reclaimed by the yard.
Three kinds of domestic animals inhabited the farm; a dog, eleven cats, and eight chickens and the rooster. Now my brother loved the dog, a dark red golden retriever named Dutch, and liked the cats though not as much as Dutch, who he clearly classified as his dog. I adored the cats, I named most of them and can still remember all eleven of their names to this day, and I liked the Dutch though I always thought of him more as my brothers’ dog. Now while there were mild disagreements over whose dog Dutch was and whom a random cat liked more, these were minor issues and easily resolved with a little biting and hair pulling.
However, there was one creature we both agreed hated us, and that neither one of us wanted anything to do with, that creature was the rooster. I know what you’re thinking, "A rooster? What’s so bad about a rooster?" Allow me to explain. I was nine, my brother was seven, and to us that creature might as well have been a fire breathing hell hound. It was a sizable bird with golden feathers, and a vicious disposition, which in the end led to its execution, though that’s a story for another time. Now while we had told both our grandparents and our parents about that damned thing they all found it to be very amusing. And I’m sure that the incident I’m about to relate to you brought them great joy, even as it terrified me. Let’s begin shall we?
It was a warm and pleasant day, which was unusual for Washington even during the summer, and I was playing tag with my brother in the front yard. We were minding our own business while the chickens roamed a ways off. I’m still not sure what triggered it but suddenly that rooster shot towards us. My brother and I shrieked and took off running. We raced up to the house and around it, screaming all the while, when we made it to the back of the house my brother, the little traitor, made a beeline for the back door in the hopes that the bird would follow me, it did. I ran past the house, the garage, and the machine shed, then, I saw what I hoped would be my salvation, my scooter! It was heavy enough and was the only blunt instrument, that I could lift, in sight. I grabbed it by the handles and swung, it connected! It…did nothing… That damn bird kept coming! All I’d achieved was bruising my shins where the scooter hit me when it swung back. Thankfully, for both my legs and my lungs, the basement door was in sight, so I booked it towards them, threw myself inside and slammed the door shut. My legs were shaking, my side had a stich in it, my lungs were burning, and my throat hurt. It was at this moment, my brother stuck his head into the basement from the stairwell.
“How ya doing?” he asked. Fortunately for him I couldn’t speak yet, much less move, because if I could have I’d have killed the little brat.