“Roosters aren’t meant to be pets, Tessa!”
“Yes they are!” I insisted, “Joey, you’re just jealous ‘cause Moses likes me better than you.”
“He’s just a stupid bird.”
“No he’s not!”
“Mom oughta cook him for supper. That’s all he’s good for!”
“No,” I cried. Sometimes my older brother was so mean.
I sat down under the apple tree. Moses walked over and sat down beside me and started to croon and caw to me. I just repeated what he said. I know it’s crazy for a ten-year-old girl to have a pet rooster. But he was so pretty. The feathers across the top of his back were the color of an old penny, but real shiny. The belly feathers were more a lighter brown, like the tops of the biscuits Mom makes. Those feathers were the softest. I could pet Moses’ belly and he’d almost go to sleep.
“Where’d you go Joey?” I hollered.
“I’m up here.” I looked up and saw my older brother sitting on a tree branch, munching on an apple. Suddenly the hen’s were making a racket in the hen house.
Joey said, “Hey, who’s that over at the hen house?”
I stood up and tried to see. I didn’t see anyone at first, and then I saw him. A skinny guy wearing overalls and tee shirt. His hair was matted flat to his head, dirty looking.
“Joey, what’s he doing?”
“Looks like he’s going to rob our eggs.”
“We can’t let him do that. Mom was counting on those eggs.”
“I know. Let’s go a running and hollering at him and start chucking rocks at him. Maybe that’ll scare him off.”
Sounded like a good plan. So we took off running towards the hen house, screaming like banshees. When we got close enough, we let a few rocks fly. Mine didn’t have enough power behind them and landed short of the mark. A couple of Joey’s rocks got his attention.
“Hey!” the stranger growled looking at us. He looked even more frightening up close. I wished Dad were home.
“Leave our eggs alone!” Joey demanded.
“Who’s gonna make me? You two? Ha!” and he started to open the hen house door.
I threw another rock so straight, my dad would have cheered. Smack, right in the head. He rubbed the spot where the rock hit, and then he turned and started after us. I turned tail and ran.
“Run, Joey, Run!” My heart was beating so loud. I wanted to get to the house and get Mom.
But before I got very far, a brown blur ran right past me. It was Moses! He flew up and sank his long, sharp spurs into the man’s face. Then Moses was on the ground, his wings out ready for another attack. Then bam! Up he went, attacking the strangers face again, and again. Brown feathers were flying everywhere. The stranger tried to beat off the deadly aggressor, but Moses was too quick. The man’s face was a bloody mess.
After the fourth attack, the stranger took off running. And silly Moses ran after him for a spell, then came back and started to preen his dark copper feathers. I cawed and crooned to him, and he returned my ‘talk’.
“Yeah?” He was as stunned as I was.
“Do you think anyone will believe what just happened?”
“I don’t know, Tessa. But you go ahead and keep him as your pet.”
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