Fair trade rooster


Around 3:30, 4 am the rooster would begin to crow. Over and over again. He’s a teenage rooster so he’s just excited to be alive. Or, maybe he crows to soothe an existential crisis. In either case, it’s extremely annoying. And dangerous. If my neighbors complain–who knows, maybe animal control will come and take my prized turkeys. The rabbits. The duck! I called a few friends over for a rooster butcher, or harvest if you will. Then I rode my bike past Brother’s Market.
“Hey–hey,” Moses the shopkeeper yelled.
I slowed down and peeked in.
“Where’s my honey?” he asked. I showed him the beehives in the spring and gave him some fava beans.
“There isn’t much left,” I answered. “Want a rooster?”
He came outside. Moses has dyed red hair. I’m not sure what’s up with that. He nodded. Tomorrow, I told him I’d bring him the rooster and some honey.
The rooster sleeps outside so I nabbed him in the morning. He had already put in a few crows before 8am. I put him in this cage and walked half a block to Moses’s market.
Inside the store–think malt liquor and chips–a woman sat on a chair peeling an orange. When she saw me, she let out a torrent of words. The customer in line did a double take at the rooster, then gathered his black plastic bag of beer and left.
I set the cage on the ground. Moses came around to look at him. I handed him the jar of honey. He smiled. “How much?” he asked.
“Ten dollars for the rooster, the honey’s a gift.”
Moses went back around to the cash register and opened the till. His wife shouted a few words, ate a slice of orange.
“She thinks that’s too much, huh?” I said. A woman’s displeasure is apparant in any language.
“Yes, but don’t worry about it,” he said. To make her feel better, Moses gave her the honey. He waved the jar in front of her until she took it out of his hands.
I looked down at the rooster. I’m sure Moses will do a better job than I would.
Then I was walking home, the sun out, the cold December air, a well-worn GhostTown $10 in my pants pocket.

3 responses to “Fair trade rooster

  1. Awesome. (To the fair trade rooster).

    I looove your farm, novella–you have a duck now?!

  2. love it! you have to put this in the book. my favorite sentence is the one about a woman’s displeasure.

  3. One of our Polish Chickens might turn out to be a roo. We’re trying to find a sanctuary so [s]he doesn’t get the axe.

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