Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The other side of the coop - 1

Nancy, the chicken was it. She was the one who got up at the end of every week and gave the pep talk to the rest of the hens. "Lay more eggs," she would say, in as many different and creative ways as she could imagine. But that was just the problem she was not very creative. And most of the time the rest of the hens seemed genuinely disinterested in her little talks. Some of them actually slept right through it. And if she was honest with herself she had to admit that she hardly blamed them. She often left those little pep talks wondering if what she was saying was really true.

The real problem – the one behind it all – at least as far as she could see – was that she was just too busy. She sat on the quality control committee, the hen-chick preschool board, and she was full-time chauffeur for the broods' Hunt and Peck Club. That left her almost no time to get together socially with her friends and less time to keep track of all the issues in the brood. It was the job of the hen elected to be the pep talk hen to keep track of all the problems and issues the chicks were having with regard to laying eggs and general coop problems and highlights. She was just too busy. So she had almost no time to prepare the pep talk every week and even less to make it interesting. Oh she had tried a few things like bringing oatmeal cookies to the talk, or using the videos sent down from headquarters. And each of them had worked for a while but soon elicited the same response.

She had complained to some of her girlfriends about the problem and they all seemed to be stumped. Nancy's own egg production had dropped way below acceptable levels and she wasn't a real inspiration to the rest of the brood the way things were going now. Her friends had refused to pinch in for her fearing embarrassment realizing their own busyness. Nancy was realizing that all the added stress of the busyness had left them all with serious problems that she could not solve. Certainly not in the ½ hour pep talk that she did every week.

That's why two weeks ago, when they had gotten together for tea at the Beak and Crown she had suggested the idea that the brood look into getting a professional pep talk chicken to join them. There had been mixed reaction. Bringing someone else in meant that they would likely have to pay them. Sally had mentioned that things were really tight for her since her egg production had dropped since she picked up feather ticks. But Nancy had been persistent. She just could not do this anymore. So they all agreed to make a few calls and see if they could track down some names of people they knew who might be willing to take on a position like that. They had all agreed that they would make sure these people did not get the impression that they would pay them very much.

That's why Nancy was excited about tonight's meeting she had called all the hens together to reveal the 'candidate' that she was going to present to them for consideration as the new pep talk bird. She was nervous. Most of the hens knew already but tonight Cynthia P. Coque was actually going to be there. She was a Rhode Island Red who had gone to college to train to be a pep talk bird. She was good. Nancy had seen her video resume on YouTube and she was positive the birds would be impressed. She seemed to hold the birds' attention. In the interview Nancy had had with her Cynthia had talked about quality control projects and expanding the brood, developing bird networks of smaller groups of birds linked together for mutual support. It was all very inspiring. Nancy just knew the bird would be impressed but would they be impressed enough to pick up the tab for this chicks salary. After all Cynthia made the stipulation that she would not under any circumstances be laying eggs. It was going to be tight but they would vote on it tonight. Nancy wanted this so bad – she could just smell the freedom that this would give her. She crossed her tail feathers


Anonymous said...

good allegory!

roverT said...

There's a few levels on which I like the line where Cynthia says, "she would not under any circumstances be laying eggs."

Nicely done Dale!