The Little Grey Rooster (Part 8)

It was late in the afternoon when Sonny and Rosie went behind the henhouse and down the hill toward the pond. Alfred was there, with two young chickens that had already come to see him. He was a comical sight, waddling back and forth in his wiggly fashion. As he constantly talked, at times to the chickens and at times to himself, he waved his wings around animatedly. Sonny stopped and sat down a small distance up the hill from Alfred; Rosie joined him. He wanted to listen to what the mad goose was saying before meeting him. This is what he heard:

“I’ve seen it before… I told you that already. Yes, I told them already. They don’t listen. You young chickens must watch! See what is around you! It’s right there… I’ve seen it before. Ha-ha! The sky is different… but that’s okay—we are not in the sky. I can fly but you cannot—yours is the greater danger. Yes, and when I’m in danger it will be too late for you. Ha-ha! Don’t you see? I lost my friend. Ah, they don’t see. There is no point, but I must try. Will it be the same again after all this? Is it a circle? I like circles, but I don’t want to be in one.”

Sonny looked worriedly at Rosie. “He’s insane,” he whispered.

Rosie smiled. “I told you.”

“Eggs!” cried the goose. “Ha-ha-ha! I had no choice. There’s no choice. We are born in a circle. We peck ourselves free from the egg, but how can we peck free from this? Day in, day out, it’s the same. Eat, fly, swim. Wake up, and then go to sleep. Wake up? Wake… wake? What if… that’s it! Ha-ha! What if the old rooster didn’t crow? Ha-ha! What if the old rooster didn’t crow?”

With that thought, the mad goose stopped in his tracks. He didn’t move; he didn’t make a sound. He stared out across the pond with a blank look on his face. The two young chickens that were listening to Alfred tried to get his attention, but he was completely oblivious. With their afternoon’s entertainment apparently suffering some sort of malfunction, the young chickens just laughed at him and returned up the hill to the henhouse. Sonny and Rosie waited a while before going down to see Alfred. When they did go over to him, he was just starting to reanimate. The glazed look lifted from his face. He shook his head suddenly, gave his wings a gentle flap and began mumbling to himself. As Sonny and Rosie neared him, they heard Alfred repeating quietly, “What if the old rooster didn’t crow?”

“Excuse me, Alfred,” said Rosie gently. “It’s me, Rosie. I’ve brought my brother to meet you.”

Still whispering to himself, Alfred turned around to greet his visitors. He smiled when he saw Rosie, who, though finding his lunacy amusing, had been one of the few chickens to treat him kindly. Alfred looked at Sonny. The goose’s smile widened, but all joy instantly vanished from his face. His eyes filled with terror and he began laughing hysterically. Sonny took a step back. Louder and louder the goose laughed, until his wild honking could be heard on the other side of the farm. Suddenly he turned and ran. As fast as his flat, orange feet could carry him, Alfred raced up the hill, through the chicken yard and off towards the barn. The hens laughed as he ran by honking and flapping.



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