The sky was gray, save for shiny Venus, but it was quickly shot through with streaks and strands and wisps of pink when Koko and I went walking this morning. The air was heavy, still and thick, carrying the sweet fragrance of plumeria and the acrid smell of urine-soaked concrete from the dog-in-a-box structures that dot the street.
A mynah stood in the middle of the road and screamed, and the colony of wild chickens collected by the little boy who lives two houses down from me clucked and crowed, with a rooster inexplicably lying make in front of one of the cages.
The kids on my street often catch the chickens, which they care for as pets, and I sometimes hear them calling loudly to each another: “One of the chickens got out!” Other times they report excitedly on the chicken fights — natural, not staged — that they witness.
It’s all far more wholesome than the fighting and squabbling that characterized the most recent Council session, with Michael Levine today reporting more of the sordid details for those of us lacking the stomach to sit through 11 hours of it on TV.
The relationship that kids have with chickens is such a quintessentially Kauai kine thing, as epitomized by a classic scene Jimmy Trujillo and I witnessed the other day while driving down Kawaihau Road, heading to the radio station. Two young boys were on a bicycle, one sitting and pedaling, the other standing behind, holding a white chicken close to his chest.
It made me think of a story that a friend, who was running an after-school program at the time, recounted to me. It’s part of a much longer piece, entitled “Parallel Universes” that will be published in Bamboo Ridge, Hawaii’s literary journal, this fall:
“I’ve got the kids and we’re down at Lumahai, you know, where we always go, on the beach road, and we can’t get out because the tourists have parked on both sides and this Jeep blocked us in, so I send the kids to go ask every tourist on the beach whose car is it but nobody’s admitting nothing and I’m getting mad and the kids got a pet chicken, you know, and they take it around and stuff and this tourist lady was kinda yelling at them, saying it was on too short a leash, and I’m like, ‘lady, give it a rest,’ and then this other tourist starts in, she’s some kind of animal expert or something, and she’s saying they shouldn’t take the chicken around on a leash and I’m saying to the kids like, ‘let’s go already, get in the truck,’ then the first lady said, ‘what are you gonna do with that chicken?’ And the kids said, ‘eat it!’ and she said, ‘that’s it, I’m calling the police,’ and by then I’m just boiling and I put the truck in four-wheel-drive and push the Jeep out of the way and the kids are in the back and one of the boys starts yelling, ‘fucking haoles!’ as we drive away.”