Just as I was beginning to think suburban cockerel ownership might be possible, a spanner was thrown well and truly in the works. I awoke at 6am to Rocky giving a splendid solo performance. As did the rest of the family. Curiously, he could barely be heard outside of our walls, but the bizarre acoustics of our integrated garage meant that he came at us in stereo. After a week of toing and froing about the plucky youngster, I decided with not a little regret that he had to go back from whence he came.
Decision made, I contacted the breeder and arranged to take him back this afternoon. I let him out with his harem for a few hours and watched the trio moving about the garden and annoying the sunbathing pekins sadly. But finally the time came. Fishing out the cat carrier, operation Return Rocky began.
I say 'operation' because what should have been a fairly straightforward procedure turned in to quite an epic. It should have gone a) open cat carrier, b) pick up cockerel, c) place cockerel in carrier, d) close carrier. It didn't go that way. For a start, he can fly quite well. Well enough to escape my clutches and fling himself in to the pile of crap currently occupying my garage. So for a good ten minutes I played a nerve wracking game of jenga, where the object was not to pull things out and keep a cohesive whole, but to not flatten the hiding boy chicken. After a lot of swearing, several heart stopping moments where I suspected I had squashed him and one severe shin gouging, the little sod gave himself away by chuntering on the step behind me. Oh yes, Rocky had found his way out of the pile of teetering crap undetected, and had spent some time watching the funny human injure herself.
At this point, the ever tolerant husband wandered outside to find out what was keeping me. I roped him in to help and we spent at least fifteen minutes running laps around the garden with a jubilant Rocky easily zooming between our legs, flying over our heads and generally making us look like the clumsy mammals we are. We were certainly no match for the small yet perfectly formed powerhouse of speed watching us from the Palace roof. The pekins had come out in to the run to watch the show and were shouting encouragement. Such rabble rousers, pekins.
Finally I managed to herd him in to a corner. As I reached for him, he shot off again by running up my arm and down my back. I shrieked for the ever tolerant husband to grab him as he flew past. So fast was Rocky, the ever tolerant husband merely grabbed air, but in his haste to assist he managed to wrench his back. It took me a while to register that he was now clinging to the back wall of the house in a most unnatural pose. I only really spotted it as I dashed past the second or third time in pursuit of Road Runner. Asking him if he was alright seemed a bit pointless going by the look on his face and the interesting language he was using, so I settled for fetching him some pain killers. Now a man down, I reluctantly went to plan B. I gently herded the by now frantic young cockerel in to a corner, and swiftly grabbed him with the use of a towel. He shrieked like all the torments of Hades were upon him but didn't try to kill me, for which I was most grateful. I wouldn't have blamed him for wanting a fleshy souvenir.
The ever tolerant husband was by this time swearing less, but gurning more. More pain killers were found and ingested, and after a while we made the trip to return Rocky to his original home. When I arrived at the breeder's house, I put the carrier on the lawn and opened it. The plucky youngster was up and out of it quicker than I could blink, and leggesd it straight back to his old flock shrieking of the indignities that had befallen him.
I hope, unlike us, he isn't scarred by the experience.