Second Favourite Bird Important Update + Short Story "The Eighth Wife" + Sorry
I’ve got some pretty huge news, which is that my second favourite bird has changed only in the last couple of weeks and everything is 100% fine! I don’t think I’ve made a post before about my second favourite bird, but I figured it’s about time for an update.
Cock-a-doodle-doo, roosters are NUMBER TWO!
I have to confess that roosters used to be fourth on my list, but something that a professional told me is that you’re actually allowed to change your mind about things! I had no idea. I thought if you decided that roosters were number four they have to stay at number four and that’s that. Pigeons will always be NUMBER ONE though—that’s a certified non-negotiable fact.
So, how the heck did roosters of all people transcend the number four bird box? The reason is because when I was watching bird videos in order to not think about a whole bunch of totally fine stuff and also how I can never finish anything (e.g. I wrote an entire pigeon book in a month and was supposed to publish it on November 1 but then I changed it to November 30 and now I’ve changed it to I have no idea because it’s just too hard and I can’t think about that AND other important stuff at the same time)—they skyrocketed all the way to the (almost) top!
I will say, it’s a fairly tentative second place. This isn’t because of any doubts I have regarding my increased love for roosters but simply because to call pigeons “birds” is beyond an understatement—they’re so much more than birds, as the world will soon realise (maybe not though, because I can’t finish/upload/publish anything anymore). But does this mean they’re not birds? And if they’re not birds, does that mean roosters are actually in the number one position? At this point roosters are either number one or number two—I haven’t decided (contrary to the title of this post!)—and this is seriously messing with my ability to function in everyday life and as a member of society.
What do I say if someone asks me what my favourite bird is? Do I say, “My favourite bird is pigeons”—but with the hasty adjunct that pigeons are in fact actually not birds but something unimaginably superior? Or do I say “pigeons” and just leave it at that, so as not to confuse the person (who almost certainly has no idea regarding the TRUTH about pigeons)? Or do I say “roosters” because I know that pigeons aren’t actually birds, and so even though roosters are in second place, they’re actually in first place?
I’m so stressed. I don’t have the capacity to crack this cockerel code!
On top of this bird hierarchy hoo-ha, there’s one particular rooster video that I just can’t stop watching, and this is just not the time to not be able to stop watching something! If I don’t watch it for an hour or so, the world starts to spin and my hands go to Tingletown. This is either because I NEED to watch the rooster video in order to get everything done + break free from the self-destructive spiral that has become my default approach to life and why I’m now barely a functioning member of society, or maybe this is some form of self-sabotage dressed up in a convincing rooster-obsession costume, designed to stop me from getting all the things that I have to get done DONE (I don’t like two “dones” in a row, so I made one capitalised) on time and distract me from the fact that everything is getting dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark.
Maybe at the end of it all I’ll find myself alone in an endless black abyss with nothing but a pigeon book that I won’t publish for company. Probably this happens to everyone who tries to write a pigeon book really fast (and also finish a sick track and video at the same time, because they imposed an arbitrary but inescapable rule as powerful as the laws of physics upon themselves that they simply CAN’T publish a pigeon book if they don’t upload a sick track + vid + respond to everyone’s super lovely comments beforehand). That’s just not physically possible, and if you do that something terrible will happen.
Probably as soon as it’s all over I’ll completely forget that roosters even exist. Maybe roosters don’t even exist. Maybe roosters are a tool invented by the subconscious mind to fix/ruin everything. Maybe I don’t care and I love roosters anyway.
If by this point you’re not sure which rooster video I mean (there are quite a lot on the net, so that might be understandable), it’s this one:
This video is almost certainly what the heart eyes emoji was invented for. This is by far the best non-pigeon-related video anyone has ever watched a million times, and he is by far the best rooster that has ever roosted. No contest!
In the video, the best roosterboy ever is being handed several bits of broccoli (presumably by a human). But that’s not the exciting part, even though that is quite exciting in itself. The exciting part is what he does with the bits of broccoli. Does he eat them all up ASAP, as we might expect? Does he shoulder-charge his hens out of the way to gobble all the broc bits himself?
NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY.
Instead, this responsible roost allocates the broccoli bits alternately to his two fat wives!
At first I thought he was only going to give the broc to one wife—perhaps he has a favourite—and I was about to get really upset and stressed out. But it quickly becomes apparent that this radiant roost is trying his absolute best to make sure that BOTH of his hefty hens get ample broc bits.
How can a bird (aside from pigeons, except they’re not really birds anyway) be so selfless and considerate and responsible and dutiful? I couldn’t even sleep last night because I was thinking about it so much. Except instead of thinking about the rooster giving bits of broccoli to his humongous hen wives (who don’t show their gratitude nearly enough and are actually fairly rude/impatient), I was imagining him bestowing blueberries upon a perfect appreciative pigeon.
Then I started thinking about a story where a pigeon and a rooster get married, which—due to the overwhelming nature of this suspiciously timed all-consuming rooster obsession—I am now compelled to prioritise over everything else. It went something like this (I’ll just bash it out super quick, so that I can get back to doing all the things I’m actually supposed to be doing and remember to eat, et cetera. But it could possibly be turned into a full-blown romance novel [that I probably won’t publish] over a weekend or two).
Remus the rooster had seven wives who were all as thicc as basketballs and loved to cluck loudly pretty much all the time. He loved all of his wives equally, except for Penny, who always snatched bits of broccoli from the others and sometimes pecked him in the eyes for no good reason.
But his absolute favourite wife wasn't even his wife—she was just a beautiful not-bird that he wished was his wife. She was kind and intelligent and interesting and funny and perfect and she seemed to like him too. But there was just one problem.
She was a pigeon!
Her name was Speckled Friendly and nothing could have suited her better—she was more speckled than the average pigeon, and she was also very friendly. The way she excitedly pecked up tasty crumbs on the sidewalk enchanted him, and the gentle rumble of her coos sounded much prettier to his exhausted ears than the constant clucking of his hen harem.
But being a fair-minded and responsible rooster, he made sure all of his wives—even nasty old Penny, who had pecked him in the eye one hundred times already that week, and it was only Monday—got what they needed on the daily. He distributed the food as evenly as he could and crowed to warn everyone whenever the neighbour's cat called Smashed Avo jumped up on the fence.
Smashed Avo was slightly brain-damaged in an endearing way and was of no threat whatsoever. He walked clumsily along the top of the fence and offered Remus a greeting meow that sounded like a rusty gate. Remus was about to respond with an even rustier gate when poor Smashed Avo slipped and fell back over the other side of the fence.
This happened every other day, but Remus warned his wives anyway. If he didn't make a rip-roaring rooster racket ASAP, Penny would accuse him of not protecting his flock from vicious beasts. She would peck him in the eyes and call him a useless waste of space.
That afternoon—as his seven spouses gobbled up gargantuan helpings of fresh blueberries—he set a few of the juiciest ones aside with his perfect pigeon princess in mind. He transported them one-by-one—it was difficult not having hands—to the sidewalk outside, where she often pecked in the afternoons. She arrived shortly after three o'clock, which was when the kids walking home from school dropped their LCM bars and Tiny Teddies (it's also hard to eat and walk at the same time).
The warbling of his wives was faint in the distance as he waited by the gate. He heard one of them asking where he was, and a pang of guilt struck him in his stomach—or maybe that was the hunger pains. He always gave away all of his food, so why did he feel greedy for wanting an eighth wife? Was he deeply perverted and sick for setting his heart on a perfect pigeon princess?
She appeared before he could answer his own question, immediately drawn to a squashed Tiny Teddy in the gutter nearby. She stabbed at the T-Ted a few times, peered up at him, and then stabbed at it again.
"Good afternoon, Speckled Friendly."
"Good afternoon, Remus!"
"I say, you really shouldn't eat that godawful gutter garbage."
"What garbage?" She pecked at nothing in particular. "This is what children take in their lunchboxes to school—unless they're from Greek families, in which case they get moussaka and salad (which is also tasty) because that stereotype is actually 100% true. It must be healthy."
Remus smiled his handsome rooster smile. "I brought you some blueberries."
Speckled Friendly smiled back at him. "Aren't you supposed to divide your wealth between you and your seven spouses?"
Remus blushed as red as the Red Rooster logo, but luckily his cheeks were covered in feathers. "Well, you see, I was rather hoping you'd be the eighth."
Speckled Friendly laughed—not in a mean way, because pigeons aren't even capable of being mean. She was laughing out of sheer surprise. "But you're a rooster!"
"Why don't you try one of these delicious blueberries? I picked the best ones especially for you."
Speckled Friendly wandered over to the offering, her perfect pigeon eyes gleaming with delight. She pecked up one of the blueberries, and then another. "Yum!"
"Is that tasty?"
"Then why don't you marry me?"
Remus was feeling cocky. His logic was impeccable, and she was probably blushing under her gorgeous iridescent feathers.
"I've never been proposed to by a rooster before," she said. "A duck tried once, and several pigeons, of course. But never a rooster."
"I'll give you all the blueberries you could ever want and more. I love you, Speckled Friendly. You are so cute and perfect and the best not-bird!"
"As you've clearly noticed, I'm a pigeon, Remus. I'm a creature of principle, and I mate for life. I don't want to marry you for your blueberries, and I probably don't want to share you with seven spherical hens."
"They're only spherical because I'm such a good provider." Remus heard himself getting defensive. "I would turn you into a volleyball if you would only let me!"
Speckled Friendly pecked up another blueberry.
Remus was getting upset. He had expected the blueberries to work. Blueberries usually worked! He marched about in a circle, thinking of what to do. He wasn't about to let Speckled Friendly slip through his finger-feathers.
"Then we'll elope."
Speckled Friendly gasped. "How can you say that? I thought roosters were supposed to be responsible!"
"If you really don't care about blueberries and want to love me for me, I'll leave my entire fortune to my wives and run away with you. I'll eat literal trash off the streets if it will make you happy. It'll be you and only you, Speckled Friendly. I want tiny versions of myself to hatch out of your eggs ASAP!"
"But I'm pretty sure that's impossible."
"Well, I want to try anyway!"
"What about the cat? Who will protect your helpless hens from Smashed Avo?"
"Smashed Avo is about as much threat as the compulsory Australian cafe menu item he's named after. He was whacked on the head as a kitten and doesn't know which way's up, let alone how to harm a harem hen. I just do my warning calls so they think I'm on the job and Penny Pecksalot doesn't poke my eye out. They'll be perfectly safe."
Speckled Friendly hesitated for about two seconds. "Yay, then I accept your proposal! I've always thought you were super handsome and lovely and handsome."
"Oh, Speckled Friendly! You've made me the happiest rooster alive. I can't wait to monogamously eat trash with you all day and constantly try really hard to create a new hybrid bird breed. Prooster? Rigeon?" He flapped his wings out of excitement. "I also can't wait to not get pecked in the eye anymore!"
Speckled Friendly finished pecking up her blueberry bounty while Remus told his hens he was going to the shop for some milk.
"You can't go to the shop!" Penny screeched. "That salivating beast is still hanging around. He wants to gobble up our chirruping chicks."
"I'm going to go to the shop," Remus said. "I may be some time."
"Come here so that I can peck your eyes out, you poor excuse for a husband."
Remus trembled with white-hot rage. "You've pecked your last peeper, Penny. I'll be a henpecked husband no more!"
He left without another word, and he wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Speckled Friendly hadn't finished her blueberries when he returned outside. When he asked why, she said she had saved some for him.
"Oh, wife number eight. You're just unbearably great!"
Remus pecked up a few of the bloobs, before insisting she have the last one. They flew away together that very afternoon and just happened to land on my balcony. I invited them to live with me and they agreed.
Every morning I wake up when Remus crows and hand-feed him blueberries, and—being the cutest ever—he passes them immediately to Speckled Friendly. Even though some people might think Remus (and roosters like him) are the literal patriarchy, he's also so cute and lovely and we all live happily ever after and have zero problems and everything is constantly fine 24/7.
I think maybe I just invented the “rooster romance” genre and this could take off in no time. But it’s important that I don’t get distracted because—as I might have mentioned—I’m actually trying to finish-finish a totally different book which is just about pigeons (not roosters) and is 100% nonfiction. But if I was to turn this story into a full-blown RR (rooster romance) softcover holiday novella, the cover might look like this:
And while we’re at it, here’s the draft cover of my actual book that I may or may not publish because everything is too hard, and once my mountain-moving motivation that makes it possible to write an entire (really good) book draft in a month “goes to the shop for milk”, there’s nothing that can be done (but I’ll still probably hopefully try, so keep your peepers peepin’).
In conclusion about roosters, roosters are the second best bird, after pigeons. But since pigeons aren’t REALLY “birds”, I guess that actually makes them the #1 best bird. Sorry if that’s confusing! And sorry about all the other things I’m sorry about.