Coq a Doodle Do
by Jerry Guarino
Damn French! No wonder they
chose this bird as their national symbol. When
you think of whining and complaining, who else
comes to mind? It all started when Joe moved in
with his new wife Barbara. Joe, please do
something about that bird.
Joe grunted and pulled off
the covers. Im getting my air horn.
Barbara said No, not
that, youll wake the neighbors.
Joe stumbled to the door.
OK, the hose then.
Joe emailed the local
police, explaining the situation. They showed up
the next day. Mr. Mariani, did you send the
email about a rooster keeping you up?
Suddenly Joe felt nervous.
Yes officer, every night theres a
rooster waking us up at 3:00 am. I was hoping the
town might round him up. The officer took
out his pad. Its been going on each
night for a month. Every time a car would drive
by, the rooster thinks its sunlight. And
not just car lights. Fire trucks, police cars,
ambulances, every lunar phase except a new moon
and even lightning sets him off. It started with
fireworks on the fourth. That was the longest
The officer feigned concern.
Tell me where this rooster is exactly?
Joe gestured him to come in.
Back here and they walked to the
backyard. Then Joe pointed out the vacant county
land, over the fence from his bedroom.
Sorry, sir. Youre
going to have to contact the county.
Needless to say, Joes attempt at finding
the county official in charge of stray roosters
Barbaras son Jim
stopped by to see if he could catch the rooster.
He ran fast, but he couldnt change
direction or dive underbrush like the bird could.
Jim got out his rifle and Pow!
Joe jumped up and ran
outside. Jim, youre gonna get the
cops out here.
Jim lowered his rifle.
Sorry Joe, I had a clear shot.
Joe gestured that it was ok.
Did you get him?
Jim looked back at the bird
running. Almost, theyre very fast you
That night Joe and Barbara
were relaxing in the hot tub on the deck, trying
to forget about their confused animal alarm clock.
Joe was giving her a back rub. Both of them had
their eyes closed. Candlelight around the Jacuzzi
set the mood. Then they heard a rustling sound,
like squirrels at the bird feeder. When they
looked up, the rooster was in the driveway,
bobbing his head and walking toward them.
Incredulously, the bird walked up the deck stairs
and stopped just ten feet from them. Joe looked
at the bird. The rooster tilted his head and
squeaked. Barbara gaped and whispered. Throw
some hot water on him. Joe scooped up a
handful and let it fly. But the rooster was quick
and headed back off to his den, like the
Joe had had enough. He went
downtown to the animal control office. Do
you pick up stray animals?
The girl behind the counter
replied. Yes, of course, is it a dog or a
Joe stammered a
rooster, its on county property and comes
up to our house every night and wakes us up.
The girl frowned. Im
sorry sir, but roosters arent covered in
our charter. You can rent a trap though.
Joe saw the traps. All
right, then youll take the bird if I bring
Sorry, we dont take roosters.
Joe took out his money.
OK, give me the trap and he headed
home. Hed worry about what to do with him
if he caught him.
Joe lugged the big trap out
to the field, put it inside a garbage bag and
left a trail of food for ten feet up to and into
the trap. How do you catch a French bird? Joe put
out French toast and French fries, figuring it
would bring literary good luck. That night, Joe
and Barbara went to bed hoping to be woken up by
something other than Coq a Doodle Dos.
3:00am. This time it wasnt
the midnight crowing, but a scream, like a dog
had the bird in his mouth. Barbara, I hope
the rooster isnt in a fight. The
screaming continued for minutes, then silence.
Joe and Barbara gave each other a worried look.
The next morning, Joe
walked out to check the trap. Silence. He pulled
the garbage bag off the trap. There in beautiful
red and brown colors sat the animal. Oh no,
I caught a fox. But when he picked up the
trap, the bird came to life and Joe dropped the
cage from the surprise. Luckily it didnt
open. He practically ran back to the house.
Barbara, I got him. Now what to do
Jim drove up. Hey Joe,
you got him.
Joe interjected. Yes,
but the city wont take him.
Jim had an idea. Ill
take him out to a winery. Should be a safe place
for him to crow.
A week of restful sleep did
wonders for Joe and Barbara. Now that the rooster
was gone, they got back to their normal routines,
including intimate dinners and movie nights.
Barbara even made French food and rented
Casablanca for the evening. Jim stopped by to
update them. Jim, sit, down have some
dinner. French hens with country vegetables
and wine sauce. Tempting fate, they even had
napkins with rooster heads on them. Joe and
Barbara were embracing the French now that the
bird was gone.
Delicious mom, but I
have some bad news. The bird was doing fine for a
while, then one of the vineyard workers found a
coyote dragging the carcass away.
Barbara put down her fork
and left the table. Suddenly Im not
Joe looked at Jim. That
news could have waited.