The Ballad of Ringo
by Sarah A.
(San Diego, CA)
I remember picking Ringo the rooster from a box of chicks at the farm across town the same day we bought Jezebel, the pygmy goat.
The woman at the farm said that the chicks would all be female. Strangely, she was wrong. Ringo was different from the other chicks we brought home that day, and at first we were excited.
My mother loved the plumage on roosters, and couldn't wait to see what coloration he would have when he grew up. Three days after we brought our new animal companions home, Bella, our cat, gave birth to a litter of kittens.
It was a strange confluence of luck that lead us to have so many baby animals in our home all at once, but Ringo the rooster, Jezebel the goat, and Menchi the kitten grew up together in the fields behind our California home, and they became fast friends.
We bought a small dog house for our baby goat, but the whole group of them slept together in that house night after night.
They even took their meals together. Watching them was adorable. Day after day they would all follow each other through the grass, playing each other's games, but as Ringo grew older, something in him changed.
He was gorgeous to watch as he strutted around the backyard, but his friendship with our goat and cat started to get a bit out of hand. At
first it was cute, watching the way he doted on them, but soon his affection turned into obsession.
Any time any animal (including us) got anywhere near the goat or the cat, Ringo would turn into a monster. He would fly out of nowhere, claws bared, and attack whatever creature dared to get close to his beloved friends.
One day, as my brother was leaving out the back door to get out the cat food, he heard a terrifying shriek as Ringo darted from his hiding spot on the roof and attacked the back of my brother's head with his outstretched talons.
My family had a meeting that night after we had cleaned my brother's wounds. We knew that we had to get rid of Ringo.
His violence had ramped up over the months, but he loved Jezebel and Menchi too much for us to separate them. It sounds silly, but we knew that despite Ringo's craziness, he really did have a soft chicken heart somewhere inside all of those feathers and talons.
We gave the whole group of them, rooster, goat, and cat, to our friends out in the country. We put the little dog house on a hill near their house.
The group of animals still lives out in the fields together, the goat and the cat playing together, and Ringo standing somewhere nearby just waiting for his moment to strike and save his friends.