Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Friday, 16 January 2009

No-one likes a bully

The digital temperature readout attached to the Farmacia Catalucci in Cannobio this morning told me I was experiencing plus two degrees at 8:30am. I shivered in the car seat, glanced back at the children's red fingers and noses and a question-mark of doubt appeared over my head. Towing B back up the hill at 9:30am, the sun was shining warmly on our faces, making each of the five mandatory bench-stops an exercise in basking. This, and the nostalgic smell of woodsmoke on the air, is one of the reasons I love Lago Maggiore in winter.

In Carmine Superiore the past year, I have had cause to learn a new Italian word to add to my paltry vocabulary : prepotente. It's a noun, and unlike so many other Italian nouns, does not change form depending on the gender of the one you apply it to.

It means 'bully', and a bully is a bully is a bully, regardless of gender, race, creed or colour. Or species.

There has been a lot of bullying going on in Carmine Superiore recently. The bully in question is much like any other bully. He's a guy (although, coming from an all-girls school, I know intimately that the very worst bullies can be girls) whose standing in the pecking order is not what he would want it to be. He has a certain ability and this enables him to take out his bad feelings about himself on others. And other people have allowed his unacceptable behaviour to continue since he was old enough to throw his weight around. This bully can certainly give it out, but like all bullies, he can't take it when he's dealt some of his own medicine.


Carmine's bully-boy struts around the place with his chest puffed out, egged on by his single, solitary, friend. He picks on anyone within range, convinced that he is the centre of the universe and that everybody is out to get him. He is frequently inexplicably enraged, and is often to be found, his neck feathers fluffed, making the most noise and the least contribution to his particular corner of society.

Yes, you've guessed it, today is the day that Mama and the Young Cockerel did battle once and for all.


We have two cockerels among our ten-strong squad of chickens. One is a couple of years older and a couple of kilos heavier than the other. He's the boss. The younger, lighter chappie, one of the very few we bred last year, seems to think that pecking me and clawing me every time I go into the pollaio might relieve his feelings of inferiority.

Today, I had had enough of having to carry a big stick in with me every time I fed the chicks, and of watching my butt every time I bent down to check the laying boxes, and of never turning my back on the bullying wretch. To say nothing of the several times he's attacked AJ and B.

I entered. He eyed me sideways. He pecked his girlfriend and stole a piece of leftover pasta from another. I inched my way past the girlies down to the far end of the run, keeping him in my sights all the time. Convinced he was preoccupied with the remains of a nutella sandwich, I turned my back in order to clean the water fountain, and it was then that he hit me, with his spurs, at roughly calf-height. I dropped the scrubbing brush and went after him, got him in a corner, and, avoiding his beak and his claws I had him by the ankles and upside down in the air. He instantly went limp, and was again looking sideways at me, but this time with a very different expression on his beak. I knitted my eyebrows together, put on my fiercest Mama face and bellowed at him a few meaningless threats. I stood there, wondering what I should do next, and I think he was wondering what I would do next.


Instead of hauling him off to the baita and the chopping block, I gently turned him the right way up and set him down. He bobbed his head at me and headed for the security of the coop as fast as his drumsticks could carry him...



Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008, 2009. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

15 comments:

Vanessa said...

Good on yer, girl!

Dave King said...

Excellently well done.

Braja said...

I love that there is no gender applied to that term. Very appropriate, isn't it?

GutsyWriter said...

I loved your story. I honestly thought you could only have one male with all the females at a time, not two. I'm also surprised how he attacked you, seeing as you give the food to them. Very descriptive.avere

Kia said...

Ciao Louise, I liked reading your today post :) Have a happy weekend!

karin said...

Loved your story! I suppose if he ever tries that again he'll be coq au vin! Seems like at one point in our lives most of us have encountered bullies. Oh to be able to have taken them and hung them upside down!! I'll have to teach my grandkids that new word!

There's an award for you at my blog, should you chose to accept it!

Joy in the Burbs... said...

You showed him whose boss. Way to stand up to the bully.

Have a great weekend.

Joy

LadyFi said...

Well done you. He reacted as most bullies do when confronted!

Loren Christie said...

Loved this post!!!

Karabeth said...

I've never been "comfortable" around chickens and that probably has to do with the fact that my great-grandma's rooster (who lived under her stilted house in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky) chased me and scared me half to death when I was about four.

To me, the only good chicken is one broiling in my oven!

Enjoyed your story.

Louise said...

Thank-you to everyone for your kind comments! But especially to Karin, who made my day! I'm off to your great site to take a look. Louise

Anonymous said...

This is a great short story, with exciting descriptions and yes, bullies are really cowards, human or otherwise, when confronted with a big stick. Dish it out from now on and we will see who's the boss.

KatyB said...

I bet he's going to be next in the pot isn't he?

Anonymous said...

*Bully* for you! (hahaheehee)

Warren Baldwin said...

Hilarious. A different twist than what I expected when I first began reading it.

Friday, 16 January 2009

No-one likes a bully

The digital temperature readout attached to the Farmacia Catalucci in Cannobio this morning told me I was experiencing plus two degrees at 8:30am. I shivered in the car seat, glanced back at the children's red fingers and noses and a question-mark of doubt appeared over my head. Towing B back up the hill at 9:30am, the sun was shining warmly on our faces, making each of the five mandatory bench-stops an exercise in basking. This, and the nostalgic smell of woodsmoke on the air, is one of the reasons I love Lago Maggiore in winter.

In Carmine Superiore the past year, I have had cause to learn a new Italian word to add to my paltry vocabulary : prepotente. It's a noun, and unlike so many other Italian nouns, does not change form depending on the gender of the one you apply it to.

It means 'bully', and a bully is a bully is a bully, regardless of gender, race, creed or colour. Or species.

There has been a lot of bullying going on in Carmine Superiore recently. The bully in question is much like any other bully. He's a guy (although, coming from an all-girls school, I know intimately that the very worst bullies can be girls) whose standing in the pecking order is not what he would want it to be. He has a certain ability and this enables him to take out his bad feelings about himself on others. And other people have allowed his unacceptable behaviour to continue since he was old enough to throw his weight around. This bully can certainly give it out, but like all bullies, he can't take it when he's dealt some of his own medicine.


Carmine's bully-boy struts around the place with his chest puffed out, egged on by his single, solitary, friend. He picks on anyone within range, convinced that he is the centre of the universe and that everybody is out to get him. He is frequently inexplicably enraged, and is often to be found, his neck feathers fluffed, making the most noise and the least contribution to his particular corner of society.

Yes, you've guessed it, today is the day that Mama and the Young Cockerel did battle once and for all.


We have two cockerels among our ten-strong squad of chickens. One is a couple of years older and a couple of kilos heavier than the other. He's the boss. The younger, lighter chappie, one of the very few we bred last year, seems to think that pecking me and clawing me every time I go into the pollaio might relieve his feelings of inferiority.

Today, I had had enough of having to carry a big stick in with me every time I fed the chicks, and of watching my butt every time I bent down to check the laying boxes, and of never turning my back on the bullying wretch. To say nothing of the several times he's attacked AJ and B.

I entered. He eyed me sideways. He pecked his girlfriend and stole a piece of leftover pasta from another. I inched my way past the girlies down to the far end of the run, keeping him in my sights all the time. Convinced he was preoccupied with the remains of a nutella sandwich, I turned my back in order to clean the water fountain, and it was then that he hit me, with his spurs, at roughly calf-height. I dropped the scrubbing brush and went after him, got him in a corner, and, avoiding his beak and his claws I had him by the ankles and upside down in the air. He instantly went limp, and was again looking sideways at me, but this time with a very different expression on his beak. I knitted my eyebrows together, put on my fiercest Mama face and bellowed at him a few meaningless threats. I stood there, wondering what I should do next, and I think he was wondering what I would do next.


Instead of hauling him off to the baita and the chopping block, I gently turned him the right way up and set him down. He bobbed his head at me and headed for the security of the coop as fast as his drumsticks could carry him...



Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008, 2009. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

15 comments:

Vanessa said...

Good on yer, girl!

Dave King said...

Excellently well done.

Braja said...

I love that there is no gender applied to that term. Very appropriate, isn't it?

GutsyWriter said...

I loved your story. I honestly thought you could only have one male with all the females at a time, not two. I'm also surprised how he attacked you, seeing as you give the food to them. Very descriptive.avere

Kia said...

Ciao Louise, I liked reading your today post :) Have a happy weekend!

karin said...

Loved your story! I suppose if he ever tries that again he'll be coq au vin! Seems like at one point in our lives most of us have encountered bullies. Oh to be able to have taken them and hung them upside down!! I'll have to teach my grandkids that new word!

There's an award for you at my blog, should you chose to accept it!

Joy in the Burbs... said...

You showed him whose boss. Way to stand up to the bully.

Have a great weekend.

Joy

LadyFi said...

Well done you. He reacted as most bullies do when confronted!

Loren Christie said...

Loved this post!!!

Karabeth said...

I've never been "comfortable" around chickens and that probably has to do with the fact that my great-grandma's rooster (who lived under her stilted house in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky) chased me and scared me half to death when I was about four.

To me, the only good chicken is one broiling in my oven!

Enjoyed your story.

Louise said...

Thank-you to everyone for your kind comments! But especially to Karin, who made my day! I'm off to your great site to take a look. Louise

Anonymous said...

This is a great short story, with exciting descriptions and yes, bullies are really cowards, human or otherwise, when confronted with a big stick. Dish it out from now on and we will see who's the boss.

KatyB said...

I bet he's going to be next in the pot isn't he?

Anonymous said...

*Bully* for you! (hahaheehee)

Warren Baldwin said...

Hilarious. A different twist than what I expected when I first began reading it.