Beanery Online Literary Magazine

April 10, 2008

DON’T MESS WITH MY SLEEP!

DON’T MESS WITH MY SLEEP!
—written by Kathleen

Arriving home from work Saturday afternoon I first spotted the rooster in the schoolyard, head down and obliviously pecking. Initially I thought nothing of it. . .until Sunday morning at 4 am, when he began crowing! After an initial fifteen minutes, he stopped, followed by a twenty-minute pause – then he began in earnest! The crowing continued for three to four hours until, 8 a.m.

This was day one. When it continued for two more, I was already going berserk! I wanted him out of here, wanted him to simply stop in the worst way! He was of course, simply doing what roosters do – crowing. His God-given purpose. But not under my window, in the back yard of our apartment complex – where he definitely didn’t belong! He was misplaced, out of his home environment and needed returned or removed – preferably the later. Somehow it fell to me to resolve this problem and I started calling and knocking on doors – first, the farm on the opposite side of the schoolyard where I assumed he’d wandered from.

I drove over, banged on the occupant’s door. “Yeah, I’m assuming it’s your rooster over in our apartment grounds. He’s crowing, waking everyone up really early. Think you could come over and get him?”

The guy looked at me like I’d landed from Mars. He wasn’t the owner I later learned, per an official’s description of the fellow. Suffice it to say he snickered at me! “Oh, you can’t catch them roosters, they just run away.”

“Well, nevertheless, he is yours, isn’t he?” Shrug. No comment.

“Shouldn’t you attempt to capture him? Well, guess I’ll have to go to the police.” Another shrug.

It was only the beginning of a frustrating search for a solution, but the steam was already poofing from my ears in the morning chill. Immediately I drove to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission just around the corner, and spoke to an officer. He admitted capturing chickens wasn’t their jurisdiction and this was perhaps one of the more unusual requests they’d had. (No kidding!) Next I contacted Critter Control who promised to return my call. Nothing! So I tried again the next morning. Suddenly it wasn’t their territory, either! Now I was referred to the PA Game & Wildlife Commission. Same response – they couldn’t help. A chicken was domestic, not wild.

Hmmm! I already know that, but can’t someone help, steer me in the right direction?
Regular as clockwork, my fellow tenants and I had been subjected to three mornings of relentless rrrr – rr – rrrrr rr – rrrrrrr! The crowing continued non-stop from 4-8 a.m. and at various intervals throughout the day. He’d canvas the grassy elementary school parking lot area, then go behind the apartments and between buildings A & B, occasionally wandering around the front. Other tenants were getting up in arms, calling the local borough building to report the ongoing disturbance. In my persistent quest for personal peace, I stopped at the borough office, explained the situation and requested help of any order.

“We need action, someone to remove the rooster altogether,” I pleaded. A call was placed to the local ordinance enforcer, who in turn called the rooster’s owner. Same reaction; he conveniently passed off his responsibility and refused to do anything!
Tuesday morning’s bout of rooster-induced insomnia flitted through my mind. Close to developing an involuntary tic, I’d been reduced to plugging my ears with cotton, pulling a pillow and covers over my head, turning on the fan full blast and adding the TV music channel! Exhausted, I finally slept, but woke more determined than ever to seek relief in the form of swift rooster removal! Don’t…mess…with…my…sleep!

What really bugged me was everyone’s “pass-the-buck” attitude combined with the unspoken assumption I was somehow responsible for his removal! Some authorities even suggested shooting him (not that I didn’t feel like it!) or bagging him and dropping him off at some remote forest location. Really? I had neither gun nor net, and no experience in such matters!

However, I’d lain in bed each morning relishing ungodly thoughts of how I could possibly dispose of him! Let me count the ways! How about the suggested bagging and dragging, wrapping his beak with duct tape to shut him up, whacking him with a baseball bat, aiming bow and arrow and finally the bang! bang! approach. I’d even considered calling the hunting husbands of several friends!

Meanwhile, I placed a call to Animal Angels on Rt. #31, leaving a message about the current situation. No response yet. But real angels were about to answer! Tuesday afternoon the organization’s director called to ask if the rooster was still here. “Yep, he sure is!!!” I replied. “And driving us all crazy!”

“As soon as my co-worker is available, in about an hour, we’ll be over to pick him up.”
“Really?” Oh, what a welcome message! Even the thought brought relief!

“We have several roosters here and he’s welcome to join them,” the director added.
“Great! I’ll be looking for you!” I felt almost giddy as I gave them directions before hanging up.

True to their word, within in an hour the two women showed up. I trotted down the back stairs and out the door where we found him pecking around the schoolyard, where I’d last spotted him. One woman carried a butterfly-like net and both proceeded to go after him. He took off in a typical “rooster run” and I thought, Oh brother, he’s on to them now! But I hung back figuring they knew what they were doing, having ten roosters at the animal shelter. Minutes later I heard SQUAWK! SQUAWK! He was cornered by a neighbor’s woodpile. Those blessed women had captured him in about ten minutes, or less! One of them clutched him fast in her arms while informing me he was a Road Island Red, a common variety of fowl.

“Say good-by to him,“ they said. I walked over, nodded but couldn’t claim any nurturing feelings. Then, carrying him to the van they placed him in a carrier and slid the door shut.

I was grateful he’d been captured without harm, that he’d have proper care and a good home. Whoopee! Finally, we could all enjoy a peaceful night‘s sleep!

There really are Animal Angels!

NOTE: Animal Angels is a no-kill shelter located in Bullskin (Mt. Pleasant), Pennsylvania.

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