It all started when my back was turned.
Just like most horror movies.
The setting was my horse's stall on a lovely afternoon. I was grooming Dorkgoober in preparation for a ride, he was chilling out during what amounts to a nice equine massage, and I was happily enjoying some bonding time with him.
It was going to be a warm day (yay, at long last, here high up in the Rockies!), so I was wearing ankle-high paddock boots with my lightweight riding tights.
That was mistake #1.
I'd haltered the Goobs and tied him with a safety clip to the stall bars. His tack was in the room next door, so I had the stall door open for convenience.
I had my back to the open door, perfectly content and practically whistling, minding my own business.
Da-dum… Da-dum… Da-dum… Da-dum…
Bam. I felt a blow to the back of my calf and a sharp pain at my knee. The hell?!?
I whipped around and saw this little monster running at me to attack me again with his wicked little claws, spurs, and beak:
Y'all, that rooster's beady little eyes are definitely related to these from Jurassic Park:
Now what? I thought. How am I supposed to fend off this murder bird?
I have no experience with chicken wrangling. I grew up in the suburbs.
The curry comb and brush in my hands became my defensive weapons:
Every time he rushed toward me, I'd try to aim his beak into the brush and push him backward, out the door. My leg hurt and there was some yellin' and cussin' involved, no lie. Glad I was alone. I finally got him out and that stall door closed.
I turned around and kept grooming my horse, albeit stripped of the nice mood I'd been in before, and Murder Bird wandered off to the other end of the barn. And every time “Chicken” (who's a rooster, but that's literally his name) made a noise like he was the boss, I'd growl back.
Meanwhile, Dorkgoober just eyed me like he was amused. Notice who didn't even flick an ear to warn me of the pending ambush? The Goober. There are good reasons his other nickname is Stinkerbelle.
That night I went home to find I had a big bruise on my calf and a hole poked into the side of my knee. It's been ten days and the hole still isn't fully healed.
Anyway, that was pretty much that for a few days. Chicken and I just kept a healthy distance from each other.
And then the owner of the barn where I board my horse went on a trip. As we'd agreed, during that trip it would be up to me to feed the three horses, two big goats, one medium goat, one sheep… and Chicken.
The non-horse menagerie shares a single stall with attached covered pen, and there's a sliding stall door to get in there to feed them. The horses, who each have their own stall + pen, are excited you're bringing them food and are delighted that you're going to come in and give it to them. Besides, they know you're the boss. (Okay, one Hussy mare likes to slam her hoof against the door impatiently if she doesn't get fed immediately, but she and I have had a couple of come-to-Jesus moments about that, and so far, so good.)
The menagerie, bless their *^$ hearts, couldn't care less about silly virtues like politeness. They are vying like the
Three Four Stooges to get out the door, and the instant I start sliding the stall door open while trying to block the egress, they are like this:
Multiply this by four.
Lemme enhance the mental image with a few more specifics. The big goats are… leviathans. I don't know goat breeds (again, ‘burbs girl here), but I'm going to say easily 200 pounds each. In fact, the big boy is named Tyson, very appropriately. He variously head-butts his stallmates, tries to shove me out of the way, or stands on his hind legs to climb me like a wall. The four shoats (sheep + goats) managed to squeeze past me yesterday and proceeded to run around the (closed-up) barn like a gang of hooligans on a meth bender.
Meanwhile, Murder Bird was just waiting for me to enter his primary domain.
I finally persuaded the shoats to get back into the stall, squeezed in somehow to dump their sweet feed and hay, and crossed the stall to shut the door to the outside pen so they'd be safe at night from the coyotes and mountain lions.
Murder Bird was waiting.
Thanks to the hay that had accumulated in the doorway, the outer door didn't want to close. Murder Bird left the others scrabbling for the sweet feed to attack me while I was distracted with the door latch. Despite me doing my best to wield the plastic feed scoop as a shield to keep him away, he made two more holes in my legs.
I'll just mention how grateful I am that barn owner got home that day.
Also, next time I have to do Murder Bird feeding duty, I'm bringing a spray bottle.
(SNIPPAGE OF POLLS & BOOK GIVEAWAYS…
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My wishes for you
I hope you're having a lovely June with family / friends and summer joys!
May the mermaids always find you.
P.S. Mareisa, my heroine in THE OCEAN BETWEEN US,
is getting ready for her closeup! 🙂
And… may your July be filled with great books. 😃
Yours in Magically Fantastic Romance,