Animal Dilemmas – Chicken Rat

short story on mischief

Short Story

The Rat’s bucket prison was set very close to the red hot burning stove. Even though, the ship’s cook was busy for hours cutting vegetables and melting hat into the pats the Rat knew its time was coming. In fact, anticipation along with the heat was vacuuming all its sanity away.

The metal bucket was so hot the Rat couldn’t stay in one place. Instead it was racing around and occasionally point at tiny rust holes on the bottom edge of the bucket. The Rat could smell the stew and somehow subconsciously was scared of it. All it’s hunger had evaporated in the face of the more immediate need to save its skin.

The ship’s kitchen was a busy and seemingly disorganized place. One corner held crates and bags of dry goods mostly potatoes. A limited selection of dry meats hung from the sealing. On old wine barrel held seawater in which a skinny apprentice washed the rusty metal bows for serving.

A few giant pots were crowding the stove steaming away with stew and beans. Their master was short and round giant that had forgotten how to smile. He was angry that the best food was locked away in the captain’s storage along with fine wine. So he was forced to drink burning run and eat rat meat.

Currently all his negative energy was directed towards the last live chicken on board. Some drunken sailors had broken all the chicken cages and the captain’s order was to cook the chickens first. The last of the chickens had eluded capture over the past few days of massacre.

But now by accident it had stumbled into the kitchen and cook had shut all doors in order to hunt it down. Everything else was on hold because the hefty giant was planning to eat it himself and serving rat meat to the crew as chicken. He was only giving one leg away to the rascal that had suppled him with the rats.

So this determined angry giant leaped as light as air from one corner of the kitchen to the other after the last of the chickens. That was the only reason the rat in the bucket was still alive. The Chicken itself had not survived because of sheer luck. It had done so because it had a difficult upbringing.

It grew up on a turkey farm and the few chickens that were raised there were mixed in with the much larger and more powerful birds. So they had to endure immense discomfort and fend for their lives daily. That had made the Chicken as cunning and as tough as a turkey.

For the first few days out of the cage it had hidden alone away from the pack of chickens, which had saved its life. It was never out in the open and only moved about at night. That is when it had stumbled on some grain in the kitchen and was spotted by the apprentice in the supply corner.

Now it was flying frantically through the rafters like successfully evading the cook. The giant threw pots at it and sweated like a monster in distress. The bird was light and fast while the cook was clumsy and had to take frequent breathing breaks. The bird was alert and used the cooks slacking to position itself on cross roads with several escape routes.

The giant was turning red and clutching a bottle of rum stumbled in the chicken’s direction. All the while the Rat was grilling with anxiety and anticipation of its fate. The Chicken was navigating around the stove while the cook was taking a rum break. The bird climbed on the metal grill over the bucket to have a better view of its adversary.

The Rat felt the animal above and looked up praying for an act of humility. The bird was composed and relaxed. It knew it was in control and had more than several moments until the cook would drag himself to strike. So it decided to use those moment to relieve itself of the digested grains.

The only witness to the runny odd colored feces exiting the Chicken was the mentally exhausted Rat. The rodent could even react and move as the fecal mass dripped on its face. It just stared up and thanked its fate it wasn’t the knife. Shortly after the cook was approaching and in a fit of rage threw the empty rum bottle vaguely in the direction of the Chicken. The birds leaped and landed behind the stove.

The cook managed another step forward before his heart froze in panic of the excess toxins and the giant plunged forward like a rock. His body knocked the bucket over and freed the Rat. The cook was dead. The Rat was free and through a crack in the wall ran and hid deep in the ship’s hull and never tasted anything but dry hey again.

The Chicken vanished like a skilled magician without a sound or trace. It was there and then it was not.



all stories: Animal Dilemmas

photograph by freeimages

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