The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 11

“It’s raining,” said the mf to their friend Marfa, who was cleaning their oven. Oh Marfa: she cleaned like the wind, as neighbor Agnes had rightly declared.

Marfa looked up in surprise and doubt. Mr. mf was always joking. What did he mean? But this time it really was raining. You could see the splashes in the pool.

Reverberating.

You might immediately wonder: “HOW ARE THE CHICKENS IN THE RAIN?”

I am getting to that.

They are fine.

11 out of 10 nonplussed. Not even aware that it’s raining; the mf could just be sprinkling water on the compost again, to bring up the worms ‘n grubs ‘n all the crawlers. For the hens to gobble. The hens were not at all worried. To them, the sound of rain is like the scent of broiling beefs are to me.

11 out of a possible 10 for non-plussedness

The mf had been on the verge of llevanda una caja bastante grande al the coop, pensando, “Oh tal vez ellas requieran una big box de projectarlas de la lluvia.”

But then he remembered duh he had built them an entire rain-protection unit out of fallen Canary Island date palm fronds.

Yes.

The mf had been working up to something: made a plan, followed through; now, it was working.

The mf feels very proud. He doesn’t always need to feel proud. This is a recent accomplishment and not a moment too late; the need to feel proud can make a fella come up with some pretty weak excuses. Belief is mainly a matter of convenience, not truth, or so the mf ha hido pensado hace muchas dias, semanas, meses.

Still, the mf believes the chickens are sitting pretty. He had hand-machete’d the palm fronds clean of needle-sharp bristles. Oh, that was good fun. Hand-machete’ing is really the only way to wield a machete, and the mf does enjoy his wielding.

Be sure to loop your pinky through that little string on the bottom. That’s what it’s there for — to keep your machete from flying out of your grip mid-swing.

It’s bad enough to lose your bat mid-swing. You really don’t want to lose hold of a mid-swing machete.

Okay. That’s just one of my pet peeves. Machetes: put the little string around your pink.

Also, wear gloves, long pants, long sleeves. This shows respect to the machete.

That said, the mf surely crafted a fine thatched hut for his beloved hens. Oh, they are his feathered friends all right. All those murmuring bird sounds.

Published by MarkGozonsky

Mark Gozonsky has been writing stories and essays since he was a music snob prodigy in early-1970's San Antonio, Texas. Since then he has written about not only music but also baseball, gardening, teaching, parenting, cycling and the... glory of love. Lit Hub and The Sun have published his work, and so has the Austin Chronicle. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, where he teaches English to some of the nicest kids in the world at an arts-themed public high school downtown.

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