Ever since we began accumulating birds, specifically poultry, friends and family have joked about us having a very handy source of food. Recently, one friend even had the affrontery to suggest that they would all be suitable for Christmas lunch, so I had to become rather stern with her.
“None of these birds are food,” I said, picking Zaruma (a duck) up and stroking his substantial chest. We were sitting opposite each other, outside at one of the picnic tables. “They’re our friends.”
As if to confirm this, one of the Bubbles (a turkey) flew up onto the table and nuzzled me.
“Oh,” she said, “I just thought with so many….”
I noticed that Godfrey (a gander) was approaching her from behind, poised to bite her bum. After all she was sitting where I usually sit and that’s where he sometimes catches me off guard.
I couldn’t help thinking how a little nip from Godfrey might teach my friend a lesson, after her tactless remark. She didn’t hear his warning hiss because we were surrounded by chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and peacocks, all squawking and squabbling for bread, lettuce, cabbage and my attention.
“Anyway,” I said to her pointedly, as Godfrey got closer. “They’re all such gentle creatures.” And, whammo, right on cue, Godfrey lunged in and bit her on her subtantial posterior. Well, she leapt up with a shriek of horror, whirled around then shrieked even louder to see Godfrey’s hissing, angry face.
“Why didn’t you warn me?” she yelled, backing away from Godfrey, terrified.
“My goodness, I didn’t see that coming!” I said, feigning innocence. I was trying really hard to keep a straight face but I just couldn’t and broke into laughter. “I guess it’s just that he doesn’t particularly like hearing about the idea of being eaten.”
Unfortunately, my friend and I are no longer quite as close as we used to be.