06 October 2010

Barnyard Assembly Frustration (by Brendan Wright)

A “Rewrite” of “The Fox and the Crow”
An Aesop’s Fable

Once upon a time there was a farm. An average low-revenue farm, but don’t inform its inhabitants of this fact, for it might offend them.

Believe it or not, it is not the farmer who runs this enclosed community; it is truly the chickens that are in charge. Old Farmer Doug is nothing more than a figurehead to keep the “feds” off the farm’s back. Chickens currently hold the most seats in the Barnyard Assembly, and believe me, they certainly know how to use them. Every parchment, bill and paper passed seemed to benefit our flightless “friends” in some sort or manner. Longer lunch breaks and larger rations, these and many other sanctions fell in those avians’ favor. Only God knows how, but they even managed to convince dull Farmer Doug not to set Prime Minister Chuck on the chopping block, even though the old bird was quite “ripe for the picking.” Long story short- while the poultry’s status rose higher and higher, pretty much everyone else’s social status lowered.

You may ask yourself: Why didn’t the cows stop it? Well the truth is…they’d been trying, but unfortunately the Bovine Bureaucracy lost a lot of influence when the farm had an influx of new populace.(1) Ever since then, their effectiveness had gone rock bottom.

Even without their new reinforcements, the chickens would have held more seats percentage wise than any other party by default since they were over 50 % of the farm population. Because of this and many other recent events, the non-poultry coalitions had to look outside the farm fences for allies.(2) After watching the mammals do this for awhile, the chickens decided to use the same tactic.

Thus the stage was set, and this is how it played out.

New acts led to others, different rules and regulations were legislated, but eventually the indomitable “OCLMD(3)” Poultry Party dug a hole around itself so deep that it couldn’t climb out. Several of its leaders and planners had been involved in different scandals(4) and because of this, the party was rather paranoid about who it allowed in different positions. They didn’t want any “sensitive” data to leak out to the public.

What was that?

Well, if you’re questioning my identity just wait a minute! Anyhow…no more interruptions please…

So as I was saying, because of their situation, the chickens decided to use one last desperate ploy in an attempt to stay in power before Farmer Doug (who’d finally gotten his act together) sent his CCs(5) in to investigate. That is when “she” came into the picture.

We crows go way back with the Bovine Bureaucracy. They did us a big favor for us back in the day so we’ve never hesitated to help them when they need it. Ditzy was and is the exception. Whenever a conflict arises, she manages to stick herself on the wrong end of it. The rest of us crows are always cleaning up her messes.

Well, she uncovered the chickens’ situation with scandals and such… and offered them her help. They gladly accepted because they were looking for a scapegoat. They didn’t tell her that of course. She was told, and so she thought, that she was a runner or a messenger of sorts.

How do I know all this? well … that’s sort of my job. But let’s get back on topic. Remember you ARE the one who asked me to recount the story…

On her first mission, they gave her a piece of cheese to deliver to a “contact” out east. She was absolutely baffled! Cheese? What kind of employee was she supposed to be? A delivery boy (girl)?

What she didn’t know was that it wasn’t just any cheese. Inside the cheese, at its center, was a wax-sealed message. The chickens had gotten themselves into such a mess, that as a last resort, one last desperate grab for power, they tried to reach the Feds. If their plan had succeeded, the farm would’ve changed drastically. Rights would’ve been lost, as well as years and years of hard earned reward. Most of the animals would’ve been sent to slaughterhouses spread across the country, and old Farmer Doug would’ve probably ended up in a mental rehabilitation center indefinitely. Thank the Lord it didn’t end up that way.

So there Ditzy was, bright and early in the morning, sitting on a yew branch on the outskirts of the forest with a piece of cheese in her mouth, fuming. Our Private Eye, Mr. Sly found her in this state. We had told him what he needed to accomplish, leaving the planning and execution to him. Here is the account of Mr. Sly as told to me by the old fox himself:

“So there she was, perched on the lowest of branch of a beautiful yew in full bloom. Half hidden by the tree’s spring garb she was in direct contrast with her beautiful perch. One could tell she was upset. She was shaking so much that I noticed even from a hundred feet away. Her black eyes were sullen, her beak clamped hard on a piece of cheese, her wings and tails drooping at an almost comical angle. Madame Ditzy’s steadfast, silent moping was punctuated by short, brief sighs; if I hadn’t known about her task, I would’ve pitied her. Unfortunately for her, I did know her mission. I felt no remorse for her state. Actually, I found her rather amusing.

Polite gentleman that I am, I trotted up, my red tail sweeping the grass behind me as I walked. I introduced myself. Obvious suspicion flooded her eyes.(6)

-“Who are you?” she asked. Her voice was anything but pleasant. Grating through my skull, it was a harsh shrieking sound. It was hard not to wince outright.

-“A Friend, who sees a need.” I replied, trying to get her to warm up to me.

-“And what makes you think I’m in “need” as you call it.” A retort sharp, and fitting... apparently she had a “sarcastic” bone in her anatomy.

-“Well, it’s obvious actually. Your feathers are drooping and the way you keep moaning kinda gives it away. To get to the point, I was wandering over yonder looking for my children. As you can see I didn’t find them. Then, while I was returning home, I noticed you sitting up there, suspended between earth and sky, sobbing. I thought that you needed some cheering up, and I came over to try and do so. I thought it was such a pity, that you, a beautiful creature, should be wasting your day moping up in a tree. Obviously, you’d rather be left alone. So, I’ll be going now. Tally ho!” I called as I backpedaled quickly and surely away, as if I had more important matters to attend to. An afterthought, “Tally ho” was an interesting choice of words. I had never used them or even heard them before. It just seemed… “appropriate” for that particular moment.

-“Wait!” she cried, her hard squawk ricocheting through my eardrums. “I’m sorry. I was impolite. Could you stay yet a little awhile? I would appreciate some company.” I stopped, smiling to myself, but hid my grin as I turned around to face her once more.

-“Do you really think I’m beautiful?” she asked, a hopeful gleam in her eye. I actually almost gasped when I realized that throughout our entire conversation, she had been holding the cheese in her mouth, talking as if unaffected by the large obstacle in her beak.

-She caught me staring for a moment and deftly replied “You hungry?”

-“Yes I am actually; I missed my meal time today looking for the kits.” I avoided her first question; it could’ve had messy results.

-“I’d give you this cheese, except I’m supposed to deliver it to some folks out east or something like that.”

-“How about this? My home isn’t too far from here, and I can get you a much nicer slice of cheese there. In the meantime, can you drop that cheese down here before I pass out from hunger?”

She dropped it before I could even blink, and she had already taken to the air by the time it would’ve hit the soil. Of course, I didn’t let it get that far. I snatched it out of the air, nipped off a piece and started chewing on it… for effect mostly. I slid the rest into a specially prepared satchel strapped to my belly and hidden by my red fur on top and the white on the bottom. Ingenious eh?

I kept my promise. I took her to one of my many dens out in the woods, introduced her to my cubs and Vixen, gave her nice size piece of mozzarella and sent her on her way.”

Mr. Sly used a very different approach then I would have, naturally, but then he doesn’t actually know her. So to end this story, I’m happy to say that the Poultry Party fell and the Bovine Bureaucracy is back in power. There was a report that reached my ears of one confused IRS man in Maryland, who had woken up with a large slice of Grade A mozzarella cheese on his forehead… but that’s an entirely different story…

(1)Most of the legal new immigrants happened to be ducks, pigeons and guinea fowl, but that’s a side note.

(2)This policy has actually caused more controversy in the Barnyard Assembly than ever before.
(3)Obsessive Compulsive Law Making Disorder
(4)To name a few: illegal egg exporting, grain hiding and producing counterfeit milk coupons.
(5)Canine Cops

(6)According to Mr. Sly, she was very easy to read. You could almost guess whatever she was thinking at
     any given moment.

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