The Bolo and the Rooster

As told by Colin Shadel

Every neighborhood has its drunk, and ours is no exception. Don Arturo is a harmless enough old fellow – the only time we really hear from him is when he comes home late from the cantina and begins pounding on the door because his wife, the long-suffering Dona Angelica, has locked him out.

Nights like these, he will persist for a while, until some sleepy part of his rum-soaked brain wakes up and reminds him that from bitter experience there’s no way that the door is going to open, so he may as well go find a comfortable patch in the cornfield at the end of our street and begin to sleep off the excesses of the night.

One thing our street has that not many others do is a particularly mean rooster. A measure of its meanness is that nobody has given it a name, and it’s universally known as “The Rooster”, having such a fierce and dreaded reputation that everybody in the street knows instantly who you are talking about. But for the purposes of the story, we’ll call The Rooster “José” and extend our apologies to all the José’s out there, for bringing shame on what is otherwise a perfectly fine name.

Nobody knows what Senora Sanchéz, José’s owner, does to her animals but before José appeared she had a particularly mean goat who terrorized the neighborhood with his sharp little stunted horns and a running speed that you may not expect from such an animal.

José’s favorite method of attack is straight on – to his credit he is not a sly animal. He will hunt you down and pause for a moment in front of you before taking a few steps and launching himself at you, the plan being to get enough height to take a

good chunk out of you at chest level.

Many of the neighbors have taken to carrying a stick, or at least a corn stalk as a preemptive defense against José’s advances, and it appears that José has received enough such beatings that even the sight of someone carrying something stick-like will make him think twice.

My son, on the other hand, likes to face José off gunfighter-style, and they eye each other for some time until José makes his move and my son grabs him by the throat in mid-air and gives him a mild throttling in an attempt to teach him some manners.

And so it was that one day, returning from my morning walk, that I found Don Arturo scratched and bleeding from his face and chest and arms, lying in the cornfield. His wife and Senora Sanchéz were tending to his wounds.

“Don Arturo” I said, “What happened? Did a car run you over?”

“No” he said “Worse. Last night I came home late, and not being able to get into my house I came to sleep in the cornfield. This morning as the sun rose, The Rooster found me and began attacking me, pecking at my arms and face. But I was still so drunk that I couldn’t rise to defend myself, only cry out meekly while that evil animal had his way. After some time he must have gotten bored and wandered away.”

And anywhere else, this would be a cataclysmic event. Don Arturo would realize that he’s hit rock bottom and Animal Services would come to see about José, perhaps obliging Senora Sanchéz to keep him locked up. But it seems that life goes on – Don Arturo still gets banished to the cornfield a few times a week and José still patrols the neighborhood, looking for his next victim.

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