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The New Rooster

Part One - Wise and Kindly

The Amish farmer awoke at the crack of dawn, as was his usual habit, and said his morning prayers to his clean-living God while still in his pajamas.

The Wise and Kindly Father Shmolnick finished his prayers and quickly got dressed without disturbing his woman-of-the-decade, who was still asleep. He quietly crept to his kitchen and prepared a hot bowl of Amish Mush, spicing the tasty and healthy goop with a bit of sugar and milk.

"Mm-mm, this be good mush today," he thought, wiping the last bits of mush from his gray but distinguished mustaches and beard.

Leaving the bowl and spoon in the sink for the woman to clean, Father Shmolnick headed to the barn for the morning chores. As usual, that damned rooster hadn't crowed to announce the new day. Something must be done about that lazy bird.

The crisp autumn air was exhilarating to the clean- living Amish farmer, who was always the first person awake in the closed-knit little Amish community. The community that Shmolnick had founded looked to the wise and kindly farmer for all manner of guidance, including social, economic and political affairs. The community had even given itself the name of its founder and leader, Shmolnickville.

The tall handsome farmer opened the barn doors and breathed in the fresh earthy scents of animal dung and straw. "Aaahh, the Amish Gods provide all good things to the faithful," he said happily.

At the far end of the barn, the lacadaisical rooster was still asleep. Shmolnick reached for one of the stout black whips hanging on the inside of the barn door and headed purposefully for the back of the barn where the good- for-nothing bird still slept.

"Stupid bird, today be the day thou shalt learneth thy lesson!" he muttered, feeling the smooth surface of the whip under his thick strong fingers.

Part Two - The Rooster's Lesson

Vivo McBubble hung in the back of the smelly barn by his wrists. The rough-hewn ropes, tied in large obscene knots to a beam above, dug into his pale and pained wrists, stretching his arms over his sweat- soaked head. He didn't know how long he'd hung there; a day? a week? He'd forgotten.

He did remember coming to this remote community of strange farmerfolk hoping to expand his sales territory. He'd been the number one widget salesman for three years running now and the only areas not yet in his expanding portfolio were in this rural region. The boys back at the home office laughed when he said he'd open the farmland to EGP Widgets, Inc. "McBubble, you'll never sell any widgets there," they'd chided him.

But Vivo was persistent. He never gave up, even when he started to hear the stories of old salesmen mysteriously disappearing into the farmland. "What a crock!" McBubble had told them all, "A bunch of old wives tales."

Oh how arrogant he'd been!

Now he heard footsteps approaching him. He began to wake up, feeling the cold against his skin, which itched from the feathers that had been crudely and roughly glued to him. His bare feet barely touched the straw on the floor of the barn.

CRACK!!! The whip dug into McBubble's back, waking him fully.

"Wake up lazy bird!" shouted Farmer Shmolnick, brandishing the awful whip.

McBubble felt tears come to his eyes from the sharp pain of the whip. He was supposed to do something but had forgotten amidst the pain wracking his shoulders.

"Attention rooster, I toldest thee to crow, now CROW DAMN thee!" The farmer was angry. McBubble knew this was not good.


McBubble squeaked out a tiny "cockadoodle doo" but it sounded muffled. It was hard to even breathe with this fake beak affixed to his mouth.

"Thou shalt have to do better than that, rooster," warned the farmer.


"Cockadoodle doo!" yelped McBubble. His back was hurting him terribly now and the tears flowed freely.

The farmer nodded his head and stroked his beard. "Now THAT'S a little better, bird. Thou shalt do well to remember that when the sun riseth on the morrow, lest thee wanteth more of mine whip."

McBubble was sobbing. He most definitely did NOT want more of the whip. He MUST try remember to crow when the sun rose again. If only to avoid that horrible whip.

Father Shmolnick walked around to the front of the dangling McBubble and pushed the handle of the whip up into the underside of McBubble's chin, forcing the captive former salesman's head up.

"Now, as a reminder to thee and to punish thee for your sin of forgetting thy duty, thou shalt get no feed today." The farmer released his new rooster's head and turned to walk away. He began to whistle some tune as he turned his attention to the other animals in the barn.

McBubble was panting and sweating. "Must remember to crow, must remember to crow," he thought to himself desperately. He resigned himself to his new life and began to sob.


2006 Michael S. Cohen

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