“Ok,” I say, resolutely.
“Ok,” Short Tony replies.
There is a short pause whilst we accept the fact that saying ‘ok’ resolutely before doing a difficult job does not really affect the difficultness of the job at all. Meanwhile the chickens look on suspiciously.
“I think the best thing to do is to sort of lure them back into the chicken enclosure,” I ponder. “Then they will not have so much room to run away, when we start chasing them.”
Short Tony nods his assent. “Do you still have your chicken catching device?” he asks.
I go to fetch my chicken catching device from the shed. This is a big sheet of board with some handles, which you can brandish in front of you like a riot shield. I was very pleased with it when I made it. It enables you to back a chicken into a corner and then keep it there whilst you grab it, plus it would be very useful should they riot.
I should try to market my inventions a bit more. Other individuals, organisations, governments etc would be grateful for my know-how, if they needed to catch any chickens or, for instance, if there was any serious trouble at the chicken G7.
But I cannot see the organisers of the chicken G7 buying into my idea. They would stick to straightforward first-generation nets. It is not what you know, it is who you know, and it is impossible for a lone-wolf inventor like me to get a foothold in the competitive tendering environment, no matter how good my product. I lift it from the shed, proudly.
“Right – are you ready with the scissors?” I ask Short Tony.
You clip chickens’ wings so they cannot fly any more, and destroy the LTLP’s plants. She has been really cross about this lately, what with her being in a heightened emotional state, and we are grasping the nettle accordingly. If we clip their wings, they won’t be able to get over Short Tony’s gate and thus into our garden.
In a way, clipping their wings will ‘clip their wings’ (as in the phrase ‘clip their wings’, meaning to restrict somebody from doing something, which essentially is what will happen when we clip their wings. This is just one of those delightful little etymological coincidences that makes the English language so interesting.)
I run towards a chicken, brandishing my riot shield. It yells in alarm and scuttles towards the corner, where I grab it.
“It’s these feathers. Yes,” confirms Short Tony, snipping away at the bird.
To avoid getting the snipped chickens mixed up with the unsnipped one, I put the first chicken over the fence into Short Tony’s garden.
“Oh. I’d forgotten they can’t fly any more,” I say, as it plummets like a small boulder onto the grass. It is unhurt, but adopts a reproachful air. I chase a second chicken around the enclosure. The second chicken has seen what has happened to the first chicken, so is unenthusiastic about co-operating, but not as unenthusiastic as the third chicken or, indeed, the fourth.
But within ten minutes, all the chickens are snipped, and pecking around on the grass, resolutely grounded.
“Is it just me, or was that unexpectedly easier than anticipated?” I ask Short Tony.
Short Tony surveys the chickens. “I can’t believe we just managed to do that,” he replied.
“The LTLP will be really pleased, what with her heightened emotional state thing going on,” I conclude, remembering that I mean to make a special announcement soon, but being careful not to hint as to its nature.
I replace the chicken device in the shed and walk slowly back to the Cottage. It is not often that a plan like that goes with any degree of smoothness, and I want to savour the moment.