I was roused from my
nap writing meditation time when the entire house shook. My first thought was that Codex had finally hit the support while pulling into the garage. This would not be considered A Good Thing, so I popped on my shoes and went to investigate. No car. No garage damage. Horrible, obnoxious honking sounds from around the corner.
A very large bird had, apparently, flown into the chimney, bounced off, and was now demanding the house move aside at once. I know chickens, I know geese, and I know turkeys, but this bird was none of these. Dang, I thought to myself, the next plague is upon us.
It has been a long summer: we’ve had a couple of dog setbacks (don’t ask), the Car Complaint Conundrum (don’t ask), the Refrigerator that Seeks Revenge (don’t ask), Sasquan (you know all about that…), and what is now known as The Night of the Leeches. No, really, DO NOT ASK. So, yeah, we’ve had a series of plagues, basically.
My neighbor called. Now this neighbor has a couple of pet parrots, of which the most distinguishing characteristic is their sonic energy output. Think badly-played bugles, with feathers.
“Hi! What new pet do you have over there?” she asked excitedly. When your probably-deaf neighbor located nearly a quarter-mile away can hear this not-goose bird-thing, you will understand when I say “it was loud.”
It didn’t stop making noise, either. I chased it away from the house: this critter runs fast! I began to piece together it’s D&D entry: Flight; Medium tough; Sonic Attack (Area 200′, D6+2).
Then my neighbor came over. The bird was now pacing up and down our chain-link fence. Still loud. My neighbor and I were forced to communicate in sign-language. (Hurry up, technology, *this* is the situation emoticons would be perfect for: Bullhorn, Donald Trump’s Hair, Thanksgiving Turkey, Raised Middle Finger. Not necessarily in that order.)
“It’s a pea hen!” she shouted.
“A what?” I shouted back.
“A pea hen. Like a peacock, only a girl. She’s scared; she wants to get inside your fence; she probably thinks it’s her home.” Let’s all say it together now, No good deed goes unpunished. I opened the gate, the bird rapidly scooted in. Finally, mercifully, the peahen shut up. It wouldn’t last.
“What do they eat?” I asked.
“Grain, bugs, basically what chickens eat.”
Sure, I thought, but not your $2/lb chicken store feed. This is a Pea Hen: I bet it’ll demand the $28.99/lb Whole Foods variety. Gold-foil wrapped with perfect proportions. You wouldn’t want your Pea Hen to get too fat, would you?
Ms. Hen starts honking again, demanding dinner, I assume.
Neighbor leaves. Codex arrives home. Manages to park in garage. “This will be fun,” I say, “come see our latest crisis.” Codex is less than thrilled to see our new guest. We’re still getting over Terri the Potato. So Codex hops on the internet to figure out what to do. I hop on the internet to find recipes. We handle crises in different ways.
The next morning: 6:42am. That was the exact time the bird went off. She’d flown to the top of our pergola during the night, and proceeded to pace across it for an hour, screaming at the top of her lungs. Then the stupid bird managed to find the dog door. D&D Addenda: Self-Preservation Skill = none. Dog #1 is down to three legs. Dog #2 is recovering from surgery. Neither needs to run outside and make a new friend, so we have them shut in. Hen screams at back door for the next 90 minutes.
The Seattle Seahawk football season opening game came on. I volunteered to stay home from church as Dog #2 cannot be left alone yet. Obnoxious television announcers or obnoxious pea hen? Tough choice: I kept the game on mute. At 10:32am the bird issued a final, heaving, honk and flew out of the yard, back into the wild.
I’m not sure if it will be a coyote, an eagle, a bobcat, a bear, or a deer (just for spite), but something will get the thing. Nature has provided no way for the pea hen to stay alive unaided.
Now watch nature prove me wrong. She probably went for reinforcements.