Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rusty Pails #53: The Special Delivery

by Rocky G. Macy

I awoke from a session of resting my eyes the other afternoon with quite a start.  Somebody had let out a fierce scream, and before I could get myself free of the recliner to go investigate, a second scream ripped through the air.    I stumbled out the front door just in time to see our new mail carrier, Raquel Rainwater, putting off down the lane as she made her deliveries. 

What in the name of Heck Frye had she been screaming about?

Then there was another scream – up close – definitely not from Raquel’s skee-daddlin’ mail wagon.   The last time I heard a shriek that loud was when Gramma Pinkins got her bloomers caught in the wringer of her ol’ washer – and she was still wearing ‘em!  

I followed the angry sound to a large package sitting near my mailbox.  Well, it wasn’t actually a package – but appeared to be some sort of cage with a couple of colorful throw pillows stuffed inside.   As I was edging closer to investigate, one of the throw pillows screamed again. 

I adjusted my spectacles and bent over to see just what the devil was making all of that danged commotion.  There, cramped securely into a tight wire cage was not one, but two peacocks.  More accurately, a peacock and a peahen. – and they looked like they were  about ready to fight their way out of the cage.  (I’d heard tell of cage fighting, but somehow I didn’t think that this was what it was all about!)

As I was carrying the cage out to the middle of the yard to get it away from the road, the cavalry arrived.  Heck pulled up in his pickup truck with Shadetree Mike beside him in the front seat and Truman Treetopper bouncing along in the back.    Truman was usually a bit too ripe to ride up front with the big boys, especially on a warm day, and this particular day was gettin' warmer by the minute - just like me!

“What’s up, Rusty?”  Heck asked as the trio of misfits began climbing out of the truck. 

“Are you sure you don’t already know?”   The shipping label on the cage had a Sprung Hinge postmark with no return address.   My kettle was just beginning to simmer, and it wouldn’t take long to reach a full boil.

“Why Rusty has himself a pair of pea fowl,” said Shadetree Mike, noting the obvious.   “If that male drops any of his tail feathers, my Ermine might like to have them to make herself a new Sunday hat.”

“Or maybe we could give both of these noisy varmints to your other sweetie, Gladys Clench, and she could make some peacock pies.”  I shot back.   “Which one of you birds thought I needed these birds anyway?”

“I’m shocked you would think it was us,” Heck protested, a bit too piously.

“At least make yourselves useful and help me get this danged cage open.”  I fumbled with what I figured was the latch, but wasn’t having any luck.   Heck reached to the back of the cage and released a couple of hooks that I hadn’t noticed.    “You seem to know a lot about this contraption,” I said, with suspicion dripping from my voice.

“Just a lucky guess,” he replied.  “And I suspect that the door opens like this,” he said as he pulled the door wide and both birds began to fight their way to freedom.

We all stood back and watched as the peacocks unfolded themselves onto my lawn and began to strut their stuff.    The male displayed his beautiful fan as he walked a couple of laps around the yard.     Both birds appeared surprisingly peaceful and content – for about a minute – and then it all broke loose!

The big male stretched his wings and took flight – straight at Heck’s head – where he grabbed Heck’s expensive toupee (with the permanent wave) in his claw and made a beeline straight for the peak of my old barn where he sat perched like a vulture clutching a rat.

And the other rat, the big one still on the ground, was hoppin’ mad and hairless!   Papa Peacock had just gotten his revenge on the guy who had stuffed him into the cage – and if that fool wanted his hair back, he would just have to fly up there and get it!

The peacock on the roof of my barn let out a scream that could have been heard halfway across the county, only this time it sounded more like a laugh!

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