How A Rooster Crows
Story 8 of Muttley Crew
By Trish Hubschman
“Cock-a-doodle-doo! Now you try it, son,” I say. “Hold your head up, back straight, chest puffed out and crow.”
Chick-a-dean takes a step back, nearly falling off the fence. I close my eyes and sigh. Teaching my grandson how to do the morning wakeup call isn’t going to be easy. He’s a bit uncoordinated. His father would have been a pro at this. I raised him that way. But he flew the coop a few years back, so now I have to work with Chick-a-dean. I love the kid, but I wish he was more like his old man, could crow like a pro.
Regaining his footing, he did what I told him, –straightened his back, held his head high, pushed his chest out, opened his beak and…Cock-a-ploosh.
“Oops,” Chick-a-dean says. “I didn’t do so good, Poppycock. I’m sorry.”
No, he didn’t do so good. What was I going to do? I pat his shoulder to reassure him. “Keep trying, son.”
He gets into position again – step back, step forward, etc. etc – but before he lets it out, I hop down from the fence and head off. I’ve got other things to do while he practices and, if he does it loud enough, I’ll hear him anyway.
“Hey Poppycock,” Cookie calls out, coming toward me with his cousin Rocky next to him. I like those two dogs and am glad they came out here to visit. “We saw your grandson on the fence.”
I sigh. “At least you can see him, even if you can’t hear him.” The two dogs look at each other. I hold up my wing. “Let me explain.” They look back at me. “Gran Hen wants me to retire, so I have to train someone to take over for me. The dawn call is the most important.”
They nod. Cookie finishes for me. “And you’re teaching your grandson to do that?”
“I’m trying to,” I reply. “But he’s, well, got two left feet, you might say.”
“Or no crow,” Cookie adds and we all laugh.
Rocky pipes up. “But he’s trying. That’s what counts Practice makes perfect. Just like with my glasses. I had to learn how to use them.”
“Indeed,” I say. Cock-a-mush! We all hear, and I wince. “Indeed,” I repeat and walk off.
I find Gran Hen in the coop. She’s rocking one of our little infant chicks who hurt his wing trying to fly too soon. She looks up. “The boy is out there trying hard.”
I wave my wing at her. “If I hear that again! Trying isn’t good enough. He’s got to do it right.”
The chick is asleep, and Gran Hen puts him down in the warm nest, then looks at me sternly. “You’re much too hard on him, Poppycock. You’d think you’d have a little more patience with your own.”
I open my beak to speak, to defend myself, but I close it. No sense wasting words when I’m not going to win, especially because she’s right. “I guess I should go out and give him some pointers.”
She smiles. “That sounds like a very good idea. The boy will love that, Poppycock. He wants to make you proud.”
I nod and walk out, not sure what to expect now. Cock-a-doodle-duck! I stop, I think everybody else does too, and repeat Chick-a-dean’s latest attempt, disgusted, but then I realize that he got it pretty close that time and his crowing was strong and loud. “We’re getting there, kid,” I say to the air.
“Yeah, he is,” one of the dogs says from behind me. I jump. It’s Rocky. “He just has to keep practicing.”
“And you have to be proud of him and tell him so.” Cookie adds.
“I am,” I admit.
“Tell him that,” they say together.
I wave my thanks and head back to the fence where my grandson is arched high, giving it everything he’s got. “You’re doing good, kid,” I call up from the ground.
He looks down at me with surprised eyes. “Really? But I haven’t done it right.”
“You will,” I say, though I’m still not too sure. “Just keep trying.” I walk away. All afternoon and evening I hear Chick-a-dean out there making weird noises. “I’m not retiring,” I snap to Gran Hen as I settle down for the night.
When dawn breaks, I’m up and leave the coop to make my morning call. As I approach the fence I see my grandson perched high on it, head tilted back, his beak pointed at the sky. I wonder if he was there all night, fell asleep in that position. He doesn’t notice me. He opens his mouth and …Cock-a-doodle-doo.”
Holy cow, did I hear right? “Say that again, kid,” I call out. “The old man’s hearing isn’t what it used to be.”
He looks down at me with a sparkle in his eyes, then back up toward the sky, opens his beak and…Cock-a-doddle-doo, Cock-a-doodledDo, Cock-A-Doddle-doo.
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition/Miss America, and Ratings Game/Talk Show Queen. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band, Tidalweav.
She is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She worked for new York State Civil Service for sixteen years. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Kevin, and their dog, henry.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/