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Timber the Psychotic Rooster

When swallowtayle started playing the violin at age four or so, she wound up going to these one-week summer violin programs. Since I had given up the violin in tears, frustration, agony, and angst, as only a five or six-year-old who's not used to spending the whole day in school and furthermore can't bend her wrist that way and even furthermore won't practice can, I was not going to Suzuki Institute. Since FatherSir worked full-time, and Mama had to shepherd swallowtayle around to all the different activities, and I wasn't much for sitting around bored, Mama had to think of something to do with me. So she stuck me for the week with various friends of hers. The first year, I was with her friend who made the plush fish, but after that, I was with my virtual aunt.

My virtual aunt had chickens too. I liked chickens. They were feathery, warm, pretty, soft, pettable, and you could play with them. So I would go out to the henhouse with my virtual cousin, and we would catch chickens to play with.

There was one cute little banty rooster named Timber. I liked him, because he was cute, with pretty feathers, and he was easy to catch. He put up with me holding him. I think at one point I did find a doll dress that fit him. He put up with it with surprising grace, mostly because I had a firm hold on him, and he wasn't used to little girls picking him up and mauling him around.

My virtual aunt claimed that Timber was vicious, and not to be trusted. I didn't believe her, because Timbie behaved for me, didn't he? My virtual aunt was amazed that the bird was being so patient, or perhaps so shell-shocked, when I was playing with him.

Suzuki Institute finished, and I didn't think about Timber much. One day, after Mama got off the phone with my virtual aunt, she reported that Timber, who was never the best-behaved rooster around her, had gone beyond fighting with her feet, and had instead made an insane kamikaze leap onto her head while she was collecting eggs. She came back into the house bleeding, which resulted in my virtual cousin fainting.

Timber wasn't around very much longer, after that.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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