There are cocks living behind my house.
And not just any kind of cocks, but game cocks—the kind engineered for wholesale bloody murder.
But let me backtrack a bit. The house, in question, is my childhood home in Cebu. In the early 90s (a period we can designate “B.C.” or “Before Cocks”), this was an idyllic, pastoral place (as idyllic and pastoral as you can get in the Philippine suburbs at any rate). We had a garden with fruit trees (mostly of the dwarf variety), a number of dogs (exclusively of the mongrel variety), even a swing (entirely of the steel variety). It wasn’t the set of Lassie, but it was a nice place for an introverted child with morbid tendencies to grow up in at any rate, because it was quiet (and had lots of air and sunshine besides).
But all that was before the advent of THE ENEMY. I’m not clear on the details to this day—my parents still can’t talk about it without launching into some kind of conniption—but some game fowl breeder set up shop on the immense property adjacent to the rear of our house (in brazen defiance of any kind of zoning restriction) and our entire neighborhood promptly transformed into the set of Chicken Run on steroids.
And as anyone who’s lived near these creatures can confidently tell you, the entire notion of roosters crowing at dawn, in choral unison, is a blatant misconception. Roosters crow at any time of day, and in the tragic case of my neighborhood, they especially like crowing at night, during its (formerly) deadest hours.
It took years for my family to acclimatize, but we did learn to sleep through these surreal rural intrusions. Given that I no longer live in Cebu, however, the first night or two back home is always difficult; for inexperienced visitors it’s downright impossible. Abbey woke up this morning with a crease across her forehead that could have been Braille for: I’m going to murder those bloody cocks.
She can join the queue.