Marcie didn’t know why they took her eggs, but the people were so wise and kind she was sure it was for something good.
It was Saturday morning. Dad had left to run an errand, leaving the little girl home alone; she wasn’t so little. She was ten. She loved Marcie. The chickens were their only pets, and Marcie was her favorite. So she’d taken the chance to do what she wasn’t supposed to do, and bring Marcie inside.
“You sit here, Marcie.” She set Marcie on a chair. Marcie hopped on the table. The little girl put a hat on her. The little girl scratched Marcie’s butt.
“Bethel and Gen were so very rude yesterday,” said the little girl.
“Bach,” said Marcie. As in Johannes Bach. It was what she said.
“Satan should swallow them up,” said the little girl. ‘Satan should swallow she/he/it/them/that up’ was her catchphrase.
“Bach,” said Marcie.
The little girl took two eggs from a basket. One of them was Marcie’s. The father had collected the eggs that morning. The little girl cracked them into a buttered frying pan.
The next morning, father went to the coup to check for eggs. Three chickens, no eggs. He shrugged and went back inside. Some mornings there weren’t any eggs.
There weren’t any eggs the next morning either, so he looked around more carefully. A heap of straw in the back corner. He reached for it. Marcie pecked his hand.
“Ack!” said the father.
“Bach!” said Marcie.
Father said, “Don’t do that,” and pushed her aside. He reached for the pile, and she tried to peck him again. His hand blurred in the dodging. He grabbed Marcie by the back of her neck, and pushed her into the other half of the coup. There was a little grate, which he closed. Marcie safely imprisoned, he reached into the pile. Five eggs, with a heap on straw on top. A good haul for two days. He put the eggs in the basket, and let Marcie out of jail.
The wall was high, and Marcie was not much good at wing assisted jumps, even as far as chickens went. But after a few tries, she made it to the top of the cinderblock wall.
“Bark bark!,” said the big black dog, and jumped, forepaws on the wall, snapping mouth not all that far from Marcie.
She jumped down, and tried the back wall.
“Bark bark!,” said the big white dog, and jumped, forepaws on the wall, snapping mouth not all that far from Marcie.
She went to the other side wall. “Yap yap!” said the little brown dog, running in circles next to the wall, because trying to jump up it would’ve been too absurd.
Marcie watched the dog awhile, then took a big, wing assisted hop, landing in the middle of the yard. Well beyond where the dog had been.
The dog bit her leg. Small, yes, but very quick. “Bach!” screamed Marcie, and pecked the dog. The dog let go, and Marcie took the biggest hop of her life, into a tree. The dog ran around the base of the tree, yapping.
She hopped from the tree back to the wall, then to her own yard.
She went to the front yard. The black road was patrolled by giant, roaring fast monsters unpredictable intervals. She watched the cars go past. She’d almost gathered her courage to risk it when a Harley-Davidson streaked by.
Its rumbles were still with her when she made it back to the coup.
She tried to convince the others that they needed to leave, but there’s not a lot of nuance in “Bach!” She been baching at them a lot since Saturday morning. At first they’d been nervous that there might be a cat, but now they thought that whatever was wrong was wrong with her.
The little girl came out to say good morning to Marcie before leaving for school. She tried to pet Marcie, and Marcie tried to peck her. Both failed.
The little girl stepped around and grabbed Marcie by the back. “Dad, something’s wrong with Marcie!” Her leg was bloody where the dog had bitten it.
She ran to the house, carrying Marcie. It was hard, because she was a little girl, and Marcie was a big chicken. She got the door opened and yelled again, “Dad, something’s wrong with Marcie.”
Her father came down the hall slipping a belt through the belt loops of his pants. “I have to leave for work in—oh.” He’d seen her leg.
“Take her to the back porch.”
The little girl hesitated.
“I went to see that in the sunlight.” That wasn’t a lie, but the larger motive was the unhygienicness of having a chicken in the house.
He got neosporin, a box of band-aids, and two paper towels, one damp, one dry, from the kitchen, and joined his daughter and Marcie on the back porch.
He sat next to them, and tried to wipe the leg with the wet paper towel. Marcie tried to peck him.
“It hurts. She doesn’t want me touching it. You’ll have to hold her tight.”
The little girl held Marcie tight.
The father wiped off the blood with the damp paper towel, then wiped off the moisture from the damp paper towel with the dry paper towel. Marcie relaxed and let them look at the leg. It had already stopped bleeding. “Looks like a little dog bite,” said the father. “Wonder how she got it, but it doesn’t seem too bad.” He smeared neosporin on it, and wrapped three small band aids around the bite. “That’ll do till we can get her to the vet.”
He stood up. The little girl let go of Marcie. Marcie jumped up, wings flapping, and pecked his face. He jerked back, lost his balance, and fell off the porch. The back of his head struck red brick. The brick got redder as blood flowed out.
Marcie landed on his chest. He didn’t move.
“Daddy!,” the little girl screamed.
“Bach!” screamed Marcie. “Bacha Bach, Bach!”