That’s what we heard at the break of dawn one morning. We had all anticipated such a day, but we were not prepared to face the question of how to distinguish which of our youngsters was announcing daybreak or what to do with him.
As fate would have it, my friend had booked me a massage a few months back with a masseuse who happened to be in the process of opening up a chicken farm. I could neither pinpoint how we had arrived at the topic of urban chickens nor how the conversation had resulted in my walking out of that room with a telephone number and e-mal address, but I was quick to put them to good use the morning of that first calling.
Since the internet, the phone books and, ultimately, even the masseuse who was suffering considerable delays in the development of the chicken farm failed me, we were left with at least one rooster who took to waking us promptly at 4:30am and activating the snooze option roughly every twenty minutes. Until experiencing that call in all its glory, we had been under the mistaken impression that roosters took to announcing daybreak and sunset. Our rooster was no slacker! He was relentless in his battle to wake us, drag us out of bed and to the coop before deactivating his morning alarm function, and remind us of his presence consistently throughout the day, only to finally cease after darkness fell upon the coop and the sun disappeared beneath the horizon.
We could find no home for our precious pet, save the one farmer who offered to take him and butcher him for himself. While I worried about the trauma Rocky would suffer on the ride to a strange place far from home, my husband brought out his handmade Japanese knives and the whetting stone and pored over countless articles and videos on how to humanely murder one’s children’s pet.
After roughly one week of laborious research, the executioner sharpened his knives and set the date. We called a meeting to explain to our children the fate of their rooster (or roosters), and we managed to gain their absolute consent. All parties agreed that the roosters would meet their fate one way or another, and better it be met by the hand of their father than anyone else’s. Besides, we promised a delicious Coq au Vin for Christmas.
August 15, 2010. Our oldest planned to leave the house and go to a friend’s, our youngest was whisked away by her babysitters and our son pretended to be otherwise occupied (though we knew his burning curiosity would not keep him away for long). Our hearts grew heavier with every step that lead us on our descent to the garden and closer to our end.