Is everyone's life this surreal?
I mean, it's been a helluva day already. Crap you don't want to know and/or I can't tell you. From finances to smeared poop, it's been a doozy, okay? And I'm quietly enjoying my first moment of peace, halfway down a Mommy Magic*, when headlights paint the dining room and the phlegmy rattle of Gabe's Chevy sounds down the driveway.
I brought him a Maker's at the door, but he only took it and gave me a pained look and said, "I need your help," and backed out of the doorway again. I belatedly mentioned the chickens' considerate attention to our doorstep; it is covered in shit. Gabe looked dolefully at his feet and continued back into the yard.
Noelani remembered what was up before I did. "Can I see them?" she asked.
"Sure," came Gabe's reply from the darkened driveway--damn motion sensor light is burned out--and the details of our phone call 30 minutes ago came back to me quickly. I'd been in a flurry, between wiping bottoms and vacuuming up mouse-sized spiders, so no wonder I'd shoved it to the back corner of the brain.
A farmer had come by the kitchen this evening to drop off two veal cows and some mutton. And some ducks. Gabe had called him in a panic a few days before to add the ducks to the order. The farmer had asked whether we would pluck them. Having done this before (oh, god, that's a story), Gabe had hesitated, but agreed just this once.
The farmer brought the veal cows. He brought the mutton. And he brought the ten ducks, stuffed into a large sized dog crate... still quacking.
Apparently the scene at the kitchen, with our chef, Brian, screaming like a drill sergeant and our biggest, burliest apprentice in tears, had been comical and intense. The farmer volunteered to axe the ducks right there in the parking lot; having been turned down, he shrugged and left. Who the hell knows what happened between then and now, but here I was, mincing around chicken shits down the walk toward a quacking truck.
And then there I was, walking backward down our rain-slicked lawn, clutching half of the gawd-awfulest-smelling dog crate to my chest (the door latch was broken and the door kept flapping open otherwise), and then slip-sliding down the stone steps with said crate still so clutched. And then stepping gingerly into the too-soft straw in the chicken coop, setting the crate down, slapping open the door, and waiting for the ducks to emerge.
"Are you sure they're not dead?" I asked, referring to both the lack of motion within the crate and its hideous smell.
"I'm sure," Gabe said. Noelani stood with us and I was sure she shivered, thinking she'd just helped carry some dead ducks down to the chicken coop. But there was a stirring in the crate, and a muted "aahck," and then a progression of such, and soon the ducks were tumbling over each other, out of the crate.
From inside the chicken house came the indignant cackle of a very indignant-sounding hen.
"Let's go to bed," I said.
"Where's that drink," Gabe said.
"We're not going to kill them, are we?" asked Noelani.
"No, honey. We're not."