Rooster, The Man -A Story Challenge Story and Shim Shoy Folktale-

by Patrick Coughlin

There’s a song the children of the town sometimes sing as they play about;

Rooster didn’t have a tongue

The Good Lord didn’t give him one

Or someone cut his tongue away

It’s just impossible to say

Rooster was born in an asylum, where his little tongue was taken out by a crazy person.  Still, he turned out okay.  He was big and strong and smart and skillful, though his whole life there were people who considered him a grunting misborn idiot, and a certain percentage of these always treated him with a cruelty.  Still he learned patience and the fine art of listening and learning, and so he turned out okay.

At the orphanage, no one adopted Rooster, nor would they, this big strong boy gesticulating strangely with his hands and grunting.  So the Friar  educated Rooster himself, in scholarly fashion and criminal.  Something of an artist of open minded living, the Friar  fashioned an ingenious little lockbox that fit snugly in Rooster’s vacant jaw and started a smuggling venture and secret message service, all very ingenious and clandestine.  Thus did young Rooster range daily all about the town, subtly delivering secret things, often stopping to lend his strength to tasks and people in need of it along the way.  In this way Rooster gained a small reputation of strength and goodnaturedness.

A kindly Farmer would send for Rooster occasionally, sometime for weeks at a time during the harvest.  When the Farmer wanted to build, Rooster showed a talent for carpentry, and his education provided him with the knowledge of architecture, and he designed and built for the Farmer a barn, grain silo, and windmill.  These structures were impressive, and people came to know about them and Rooster’s skills.

The Farmer had a sweet natured daughter, and Rooster loved her more than anyone or anything else in the world, and passionately, too.  He knew he could never have her if he remained silent, so he wrote her a love letter of exquisite beauty that woke her to the true depths of his heartmind, and she found herself deeper in love than she could say. Rooster wrote another letter of stunning elegance, this one to the farmer, asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage, to which the stunned Farmer and his Wife agreed, for they were folk who prized nature of character over the circumstances of the material world.

Riches would come to Rooster, however, and thusly to the Farmer and his Wife and the Friar, too.

There was a man who had always kept a curious eye on Rooster, since the first time the silent little boy delivered a secret message to him from the ingenious little box in his hollow mouth, and he would always send for Rooster when he needed someone he could trust to make a delivery.  To this man, it was not Rooster’s naturally enforced silence that made him trustworthy, it was just something he knew to be so.  This man was a criminal, and by the time of Rooster’s wedding had become the biggest Boss in town. 

He paid Rooster a huge sum to design and build for him a great mansion, riddled with concealed passageways, secret doors, and hidden vaults to store his fortune in ill-gotten gains.  Here was another who could see Rooster’s value where others did not. Rooster designed and built many such houses for the Boss’s asscociates, and was well paid by them, as well.  Rooster bought the farm neighboring his In-Laws, and built a new little house for his blushing bride, and life was just as wonderful as it can be. 

Some time went on by, and the Boss died.  His son took over.  The Boss’s Son was cruel and always had been.  As a boy there was no greater tormentor of poor misunderstood Rooster as this vile little thug.  As a man he was no better, and life in the town became a grim and nervous affair for many.  He had learned  some things from his father however.  One of these things was the secret value of Rooster.

The New Boss went to the little house and told Rooster he needed him to show him all the secret ways of the house he had built for his father, as they two were the only ones who knew them all.  The New Boss was rude about it, reminiscing on the torments he would inflict on Rooster when they were boys.  He did not bring them up to apologize, he only laughed at them again. 

Rooster went with him and and showed him the secret vaults and and entrances and escape doors.  By the time they were done, Sonny Boy was five times wealthier than he had dreamed, and drunk with a great greed temporarily fulfilled, he shoved a box flowing over with gold coins into Rooster’s arms and sent him away, but Rooster left the gold in the vault when he left.

The New Boss came by again a little later, with the box of gold coins, angrily insulted that Rooster had not accepted it.  Rooster still did not want it, however.  The New Boss tried to elicit some greed from Roster’s wife, but, being a fulfilled person, she was unreachable in this fashion.  Sonny Boy had not seen this quality in a woman in his whole life, because his was a world of crime and criminals and greed.  He didn’t believe it, and it made him even angrier.

He demanded that Rooster show him the secret entrances of his late Father’s associates, which only Rooster knew.  Rooster refused, and enraged, the New Boss pulled a knife and swiped menacingly at Rooster’s Wife.

In his love letters to her and in his heartmind, Rooster refers to his Wife’s cheeks as his own apples of immortality, a god’s delight.  As his eyes beheld the short, thin red line emerge glistening  from his Wife’s cheek, his golden apple’s perfect flesh wounded, a stout locked door deep deep and deep within Rooster fell open without a sound, and an all consuming storm burst forth, filling Rooster.

He grabbed the  New Boss by the arms, pinning them to his sides, and squeezed mightily.  Sonny Boy tried to scream over the sound of his cracking ribs, but his inner mechanisms for such activity were already crushed.  When the knife fell from his hand, Rooster crunch-folded him over one knee and hurled him through the front door, which was closed, smashing it into pieces.  Sonny Boy’s bodyguards, his most vicious thugs,  were waiting outside for him.  They tried to avenge him, but Rooster smashed their heads in with a splintered plank of wood from the shattered door.  He loaded their bodies into their ride, and, setting the the whole thing on blazing fire, sent it down the road to town.

Rooster went back inside and tended to his beloved Wife.  Strong as an iron ox, she had never known his touch to be anything other than gentle and loving, and this moment, in the aftermath of bloody carnage, is no exception. 

Many people in the town were grateful to Rooster for ridding them of such a vile group of gangsters, even though they knew he did not do it for them, and Rooster became something of a living legend. That’s why the children in the town sometimes sing a song when playing about, that always begins

Rooster didn’t have a tongue

The Good Lord didn’t give him one

Or someone cut his tongue away

It’s just impossible to say


Thank You