Animal Farm + Stephen King = The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of

5 Jul

There is a reason you are not supposed to feed the animals.

I think I might have some nightmares about peacocks tonight. I know, it sounds ridiculous. “A friggin’ peacock?” you’re probably saying to yourself right now. “But they’re just birds!”

Well, let me warn you: hot dog buns are to peacocks what crystal meth is to rednecks. Their natural state may be harmless and dumb, but introduce hot dog buns and you will end up with crazed peacocks chasing you, pecking at you, and screaming bloody murder for, “MORE MORE MORE” hot dog buns.

I happen to know this because the campground where Alan and I spent the weekend in Chincoteague Island abuts a waterfowl sanctuary. We walked through it our first night and were enchanted by the birds (and miscellaneous other animals). “I wish I had my camera,” Alan remarked as he knelt and got a peacock to come within five feet of him.

The next night we returned with hot dog buns, thinking we might be able to lure a few birds close enough for a good picture.  Within a few minutes of introducing one peacock to some bun crumbs, we were surrounded by a half dozen birds. And they were far from timid. Not only would they eat from Alan’s hand, they would sneak around behind him and try pecking at his other hand or pocket – wherever they thought the rest of the bun might be.

We could feel the tide turning and realized we were running out of bun with a few bold and demanding birds growing ever more persistent, so we started to walk away – heading to the horse pen to see if we could tempt them with some apples. Initially, most of the peacocks followed us, hoping for more crumbs, but interest quickly waned when they realized we had nothing more to offer.

Except for one angry little f*cker who became increasingly pissed that his meth supply had dried up. He became aggressive and – when he wasn’t attempting to attack us – would open his mouth and hiss, then scream bloody murder. (If you’ve never heard a peacock scream, trust me: it’s like a cross between a crazy lady and a cat dying, but on Volume 11.)

Remember the scene from Cujo when the dog is foaming at the mouth and straight crazy? Well, let’s just say it occurred to me that this bird might be rabid. Alan finally got him to back off by throwing rocks at him.

You might be asking, “Why was Alan carrying rocks?”

Well, he had rocks because only minutes before, when we entered the sanctuary, he had stooped to pick them up to chuck at an aggressive rooster that came charging at us with the ferocity of a guard dog determined to keep us off his land. (We were the only people in the park, except for a little girl who apparently lived there and witnessed the scene from her screened in porch. I could hear her shouting, “Oscar, you get back here you naughty rooster.”)

It’s pretty humiliating to have a rooster named Oscar stand you down in front of a five year old, so Alan grabbed a handful of rocks from the road and began chucking them at him. “Alan! You can’t do that. The girl is going to think you’re trying to kill her rooster!” I was horrified, thinking we would get expelled from the campground for attacking birds in the sanctuary.

However, those rocks did a good job reversing the dynamic, so Alan and I were finally able to pass. Then the whole peacock thing happened. “What the hell happened in the past 24 hours?” we asked each other. It was like a scene from a Steven King book – one night the place is enchanted with all these magical creatures; the next night we’re being attacked by them.

We wrapped up our crazy visit by visiting the pen that held the goat and ponies. Alan started slicing an apple and fed it through the fence to the ponies. They loved it. Then the biggest goat in the place (who, the night before, had impressed us because his balls were so big that when he laid down, they seemed wholly separate from his being and almost required their own zip code) came over, looking for a bit of apple himself.

“Careful,” I warned Alan. “Goats can jump. If he decides he likes that thing, he might end up on this side of the fence. And if he does, we’re screwed.”

Alan agreed, and chucked a small piece of apple on the ground for the goat. The goat must’ve liked it, because as soon as the apple was gone, he came to the fence and jumped up so that he was standing on his rear legs, looking Alan in the eye. And that’s about the time we decided we’d had enough wildlife and tossed the remainder of the apple over the fence while hustling back to the campground. Because somehow I don’t think something whose balls are as large as cantaloupes is going to be intimidated by a few rocks tossed at his head… and apparently Alan agreed.

My, what big horns you have...

3 Responses to “Animal Farm + Stephen King = The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of”


  1. Fear the Peacock | The Popdialectic - July 8, 2010

    […] We had some adventures revisiting the waterfowl park on day two of our trip, but Alison has covered that ground. I will just say that if you choose to feed apples to goats and hot dog buns to peacocks, make sure […]

  2. How Did You Get Here? | The Popdialectic - August 6, 2010

    […] “fear of peacocks.” Sorry, but that one’s just weird. If it weren’t for the little girl watching, Alison and I would have just kicked the shit out of the birds that were coming after us. Fear of […]

  3. Kanga — Oh, No You Didn’t | The Popdialectic - July 18, 2011

    […] He probably just wants to pat it on the head. I mean, who wouldn’t? But as Alison and I can attest, you don’t approach random exotic animals without being prepared that while they might be […]

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