Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Conspiracy of Cockerels or the Way of the Rooster

Editor's Note: Readers are cautioned that this post contains large lexemes.  Those with corollary disease should consult their lawyers prior to further ingress such that a regrettable lexical calamity might be avoided.

ROOSTERVILLE, Sri Lanka -- KNN has been called in to investigate mysterious happenings in the Colombo metropolis during the past few months.  Residents of Wellawatte report of being unceremoniously roused in the dead of the night by the incessant crowing of roosters (Gallus gallus domesticus), albeit temporally challenged ones.  Under the quiescent cover of darkness, the cacophonous overtures are said to burst forth suddenly, like sporadic gunfire, shattering the tranquil slumber of the populace.  All accounts suggest that more than one deranged bird is involved in this dastardly scheme to subvert the enumeration of sheep.

Kahuna and the Genie set up camp in the aggrieved neighborhood a few weeks ago to study this strange phenomenon firsthand.  After several overnight vigils, they confirmed that a league of infernal roosters was indeed crowing raucously in the wee hours, long before any vestiges of astronomical twilight and as early as a quarter past eleven in the night.  The sun, they concluded, had no part to play in this ostrobogulous melodrama.

Citing contemporary research[1], Kahuna noted that whilst most sensible roosters crow at dawn or in the morning hours, less balanced fowl could potentially crow at any hour of the day, particularly when agitated.  Roosters, being territorial animals, also crow in response to a rival's call.  An in-depth study by Leonard and Horn[2] found that dominant roosters are more vocal, crowing more often and at a higher frequencies.  Dominant roosters also respond more vocally to rivals than subordinate roosters.  The study concludes that crowing is a means establishing the pecking order among roosters. Kahuna speculated that if sufficient dominant roosters are collocated carelessly, a broadcast storm could manifest.  This, He theorized, would sound similar to the vile fugue wafting through the night air in Colombo.

Continuing his diatribe, Kahuna said the historical record is replete with accounts of discombobulated roosters.  He noted one such case of a befuddled bird in The Mansions of the Gods[3], from the chronicles of Asterix, by the sublime Goscinny and Uderzo.  In this narrative, in or around 50 B.C., the village rooster—later identified as Chanticleerix[4]—is agitated by a Roman-lead uprooting of trees in the adjacent forest and awakens the whole village by crowing in the middle of the night.  The regrettable events thus set in motion prove to be the undoing of the glorious general's[5] latest plan to conquer all (yes, all) of Gaul.

Back in the present time, Kahuna said that He suspects a hidden hand orchestrating the rooster inharmonic of Colombo.  Arguing that recent events had sinister overtones not readily explained by the laws of chance, He mused that the errant birds may be in the pay of that shadowy genius, volumetric ornithologistProfessor Ebenezer Gordon. According to Kahuna, Gordon has mastered fowl language and is able to communicate with the feather-brained.  The precision aerial baguette strike on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the recent airdrop of a deer fawn on a Montana power line by a renegade bald eagle are believed to have been executed at the behest of the arch-zoologist.

Much to Kahuna's disappointment, evidence incriminating Gordon failed to materialize during inquiries.  He finally commissioned a cloud[6] of bats to locate the offending roosters, presumably by means of echo-location.  This admittedly batty strategy laid bare the complex but organized nature of the rooster cabal.  The cockerels were found to be widely distributed across the neighborhood in a multichannel surround sound configuration.  The contingent of roosters comprising the low-frequency effects channel was discovered to be deviously installed on hallowed ground, at an ancient temple with an impeccant name.  From this blessed perch, the infernal creatures would harass the neighborhood not only with discordant impunity, but also veritable diplomatic immunity. Astoundingly, the focus of this multichannel rooster audio network was found to be a dwelling occupied by none other than that proponent of Haddockism and Taschist ideology, the Admiral.  Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles, indeed. In ten thousand thundering typhoons, no less.

When confronted with the evidence, the Admiral readily admitted being the potentate governing the Rooster Empire with its declared purpose of outsourcing rooster crowing for the entire planet.  KNN learned that the service is delivered at dawn in customer timezones using high-fidelity audio streamed over the Internet from Rooster Central. The Rooster Keeper scoffed at concerns of a breach of the peace in Wellawatte arguing that, "it's happy hour somewhere in the world."

In an exclusive interview with KNN, Kahuna said that the evidence falls into place and hazarded a sinister motive behind the Admiral's penchant for driving past the temple in question at every available opportunity, despite shorter routes between point A and point B.  He concluded that this was nothing but a ruse to furtively twiddle the low-frequency effects channel infested by particularly rebellious roosters.  Adding insult to injury, Kahuna further alleged that Rooster Central is left on autopilot with the Admiral residing in a quiet neighborhood far away from the clangorous monstrosity she created in Wellawatte.   It was only a matter of time, He prophesied, before the highly rattled population of Wellawatte takes matters into their own hands.  In a seemingly unrelated development, the torch and pitchfork futures market surged in after-hours trading shortly after Kahuna's interview aired on KNN.

On that uneasy note, we conclude the Way of the Rooster.  Tune in next time, when Professor Gordon talks about his navy of lake monsters in the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta.

[1] Jennifer Nemec. “Secret of the Rooster’s Crow.” GRIT, February 2008.

[2] Leonard, Marty L, and Andrew G Horn. “Crowing in relation to status in roosters.” Animimal Behaviour 49 (1995): 1283-1290.

[3] Goscinny, R, and A Uderzo. The Mansions of the Gods. Translated by Anthea Bell and Derrick Hockridge. Kent: Hodder Dargaud, 1984.

[4] Goscinny, R, and A Uderzo. Asterix and the Class Act. Translated by Anthea Bell and Derrick Hockridge. London: Orion, 2003.

[5] A reference to Gaius Julius Caesar, who preferred the third person when referring to himself, no doubt provoking Marcus Junius Brutus et al., in the process.

[6] The collective noun for bats according to Scorpio Tales.

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