YEAR OF THE SNAKE CONTEST
The Death of Joey the Rooster
Year of the Snake entry for November. 486 words.
Grampa was always so drunk that nothing could wake him up at night. Joey was his favorite rooster, but the older Joey got, the more his crowing would go on throughout the night. Joey would pop off as often at midnight or 3:00 a.m. as he would at 6:00 a.m. This woke Gramma up. A lot. And it didn’t make her happy.
One night when Grampa was snoring away about 1:00 a.m., Joey went off just as Gramma was dropping off to sleep. This made her very angry. Definitely the angriest she’d ever been so far. That’s how anger is when it’s about the same thing every time. It just gets worse and worse.
“Daddy,” she said, “go make Joey stop crowing.” But Grampa was dead to the world. And no matter how much she shook him or elbowed him, Grampa would not wake up.
Meanwhile, Joey was going off left and right. It was amazing, Gramma thought, that the neighbors never complained. If she were a neighbor, she’d complain. And then she was also married to Grampa, so her reasons to complain were even greater.
This was it. She couldn’t take it anymore. She got up out of bed, put on her robe, and headed downstairs as quickly as she could move. Cutting his throat, Joey’s throat, might be too obvious. It had to look natural. She stood at the bottom of the stairs contemplating options. Breaking his neck, Joey’s neck, would be too obvious as well. She imagined his head, Joey’s head, hanging limply. It had to be suffocation.
Wrap his head in a plastic bag? No, that seemed too cruel because it would take too long.
She stood at the kitchen sink and filled her washing bucket with water. That would be the fastest way.
She carried the bucket and a flashlight out the back door and over to the cage where Joey was still crowing up a storm. She opened the walk-in door and put the bucket down.
Shining the flashlight full in his face, she whispered, “Come on, Joey, come here.” Of course senile old Joey didn’t even know she was there. Swiftly she reached up and grabbed him by the throat. He burbled in mid-crow. It hurt her some to do it, but she held his head under the water until he stopped struggling. When she lifted him out of the bucket, he looked a little too wet for comfort. She went back to the house, grabbed a dish towel, then returned to the cage where she did her best to dry Joey off. Then she laid him on the coop floor.
Gramma returned the bucket to the kitchen, turned off the lights, and went back upstairs to bed. She knew that when Mr. Kaneshiro found Joey in the morning, she would have to act shocked and surprised, but she also knew that she was up to it.