Animal Dilemmas – Duck Cow
The cow had a very similar mind set to that of the sheep it had just left bewildered. It chewed grass or fodder all day, processed the ingested plants and relieved itself without shame wherever it was standing, as the sheep knew all too well. It learned this behavior by its parents and community of cows. They were all born and raised in a rigidly controlled environment created by the giants.
The Cow itself was pulled out of its mother by the hand of a giant. It was nursed and cared for by plastic bottles and rubber gloves. When reunited with its mother it was blind to the social rules of a farm animal. So it had to learn quickly. It learned to be tamed inside the metal enclosures, to go outside only when the doors opened, and to eat when provided with food.
It learned to stay with the group when in the fields and walk back into the farm at the end of the day. It learned not to notice the rest of the world and not to dream. That was its world and the best part was eating fresh spring grass on the hills, in relative freedom.
The spring had almost arrived and the cow spent as much time as it could in the farmyard with its head through the metal grills staring at the hills. The grass was still very young as it was reported by the first outing of the sheep. The cow was tired of eating grounded corn mixed with undistinguishable crap.
As its mind drifted over the hills it was brought back to the farm by a loud ‘quacking’. It was late afternoon and most cows had entered the barns. When it turned around the yard was littered with ducks. The ducks were not raised by the giants for commercial purposes. They were semi-free and ran and leaped around the farm in packs.
The farmer raised the ducks as a hobby and because he and his family loved duck meat balls. The cow had noticed their relative freedom but was unaware of their common fate.
The ducks were a noisy lot. They always had some gossip to ‘quack’ about. Their quacking filled the air in the yard and made it impossible to dream. The Cow’s thought turned from green and happy to dark static noise. It couldn’t exactly tell what the ducks were talking about. It only caught random phrases. But that made it even angrier.
It faced the lot of ducks and ‘moo-ooo-ooo-ed’ as loud as it could. The ducks didn’t pay attention, they were used to un-recognizable sounds by the other farm animals.
The Cow however had just about enough ‘quacking.’ It had a rare decease that manifested in ‘quacking’ intolerance. The Cow didn’t know that because the decease had been dormant for the past five years. Every bit of exposure to ‘quacking’ just brought it nearer to the surface. And that day the last drop had been added and the condition manifested itself in anger and rage.
The Cow stormed across the yard like a bull. It split the band of ducks in half and made them fly for their lives. The ducks dispersed on the edges of the yard but the Cow didn’t give up it ran along the fence causing chaos. Most of the ducks sifted out through the grills of the fence and slowly walked away towards their barn without looking back.
A few ducks however, bored with farm life and hungry for adrenalin, stayed in the Cow yard. They separated in two groups and conspired to drive the Cow even madder. They were confident that the madder it was the worse its aim would be. The Cow was getting foamy on the lips it gasped for air. It ran from one side of yard to the other and around dispersing the ducks only to see them coming together again.
The Cow couldn’t stop, it needed to justify its imprisonment somehow. And this was the means that had come to hand. If it couldn’t get green field it wanted blood. The other cows were observing from the barn passively, never stopping chewing.
The ducks’ leader, in the mean time, had climbed the fence and worked its way to the behind of the cow. It utilized the moment of reflection that had fallen over the yard and leaped from the fence to the back of the Cow. That stunt brought an explosion of ‘quacking’ from the rest of the ducks. The Cow didn’t waste time and race to them.
The duck could balance itself on the back in motion. I spread its wings and glided to the middle of the yard. The Cow nearly hit the wall when the ducks scattered. It turned back around in rage and leaped for the duck in the middle. The other ducks regrouped but the duck in the middle of the yard stood still.
Like a rock it stood without moving. The Cow gathered speed and just before it landed on the duck a loud, short, sharp noise erupted. Boom, the farmer’s shotgun put the Cow to rest. The duck leaped up a little and landed on the fallen body. The other ducks gathered around with short ‘quacks’.
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photograph by Ryan McGuire