Just add Tequila.

“It’s fine, just drink it,” they assured me. “No pasa nada”

“Drink it”

I’m a city boy and drinking milk straight from a cow was a little daunting. Isn’t it supposed to be pasteurised and homogenised and presented in attractively and persuasively labelled bottles in hygienic fridges in the supermarket?

This was warm.

Even when the milkman delivered milk directly to our house when I was a child, it was cold. But no, this milk had just moments ago been extracted from the cow’s udder, and I was being urged to drink it as is.

The milky breakfast was the sole reason my Mexican friends had dragged me out of bed at the crack of dawn and led me through the cold, deserted streets of Tecalitlan to a farm on the town’s outskirts.

The milk wasn’t just warm, it was bubbly and frothing like a barista’s latte, but nowhere near as appealing.

I lifted the cup to my lips.

“Stop!”

“What?”

“Don’t drink it,” they now insisted.

Thank goodness, I’d been saved.

But before I could celebrate, my friend produced a small flask and poured a mysterious liquid into the warm frothing milk.

“It kills the bacteria,” she explained, while her compatriots laughed in the background.

“It’s Tequila.”

Ralph The Rowdy Rooster. Chapter 2.

Chapter 2

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Edie woke up. She rolled over and looked at the clock.

4am.

She rubbed her eyes and looked again.

4am.

“But how, it can’t be, am I dreaming? This is not possible. I told Ralph to wake up later”

Just then, Yarrow walked into her room. He looked like a zombie again, but today he looked like a confused zombie. They both yawned.

While Yarrow was munching through his cereal, he had an idea.

“Maybe Ralph doesn’t speak English,” he told Edie.

“What?”

“Maybe he didn’t understand us yesterday,” and he rushed out the door and into Ralph’s enclosure. He started speaking to Ralph, but not in English. He used his own language. It didn’t have a name, but it had a bit of Dutch, because his favourite colour was orange. It had a bit of Japanese, because he watched anime cartoons, and it had a bit of Italian, because he loooooved pizza.

Edie and her parents watched Yarrow talk to Ralph. They didn’t understand his language, and his friends didn’t understand his language. Would Ralph understand his language?

Later that day, when Yarrow was at his friend’s place, he fell asleep while playing handball. To make it worse, he was in KING when he fell asleep. In KING! His friends carried him to the DUNCE square and left him there. His friends were always playing jokes on each other, they were great fun to hang out with. Yarrow only woke up when he heard his dad come to pick him up.

Edie’s day was worse. It should have been great, because she went to Marcela’s birthday party with all of her best friends. There was food, plus drinks, and lollies, there was a jumping castle, and even a clown. Edie was having so much fun, but then disaster struck.

Marcela’s cake was placed on the table. It was beautiful and blue with images of dolphins, because Marcela was obsessed with dolphins. Edie offered to help put the candles on the cake, and then it happened.

She placed one candle, then she yawned.

She placed another candle, and she yawned again.

When she placed the third candle, she yawned the biggest yawn she had ever yawned, and her eyes closed. Then she fell forward, further and further, until her head went SPLAT, right into Marcela’s cake. It was a disaster. The dolphins were ruined, the cake was ruined, and Edie’s face was covered in cake and icing. She couldn’t even say sorry to Marcela, because she was fast asleep.

“We have to try again,” said Edie when she got home and washed her face. Yarrow tried to watch his cartoons, but Edie was even more determined than before.

“Ralph needs a clock!” she decided.

“What’s a clock?” asked Yarrow.

“It’s a thing old people use to tell the time. Mrs Kauff uses one, and she showed us one in class last week.”

“But where do we get a clock?”

“We make one.”

So, Yarrow and Edie walked off into the bush to find materials to make a clock. Luckily, they didn’t see any snakes. Luckily, they didn’t see any spiders. Luckily, they did see a wallaby and they did see a Rosella. Edie loves Rosellas, they’re so colourful.

Edie and Yarrow found a piece of wood, which was shaped like a circle. They found some small stones, leaves and flowers. Then Edie came back with two sticks; a big one and a little one.

“Why is one big and one small?” asked Yarrow.

“The small stick shows the hour, and the big stick shows the minutes, and together they tell the time,” Edie explained.

They spent all afternoon making their clock, and it was almost dark when they finished. Finally, they took the clock to Ralph and told him:

“Ralph, look at the clock. This is 4 o’clock,”

Then Edie moved the big stick and the little stick.

“This is 6 o’clock. You can wake up at 6 o’clock, but not before.”

Ralph looked at Edie, then looked at the clock. He looked at Yarrow, then looked at the clock. He was still looking at the clock when Edie and Yarrow left the enclosure. It was dark now, and they were so hungry. They could smell their dinner, and it smelt really, really good.

Image: Arib Neko

Ralph The Rowdy Rooster. Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

Edie woke up. She rolled over and looked at the clock:

4am.

“Nooooo, why does Ralph have to wake up so early every day?” she sighed.

Edie rolled over and tried to get back to sleep, but it was impossible. She thought about having some breakfast, but it was too early. She thought about reading a book, but she was too tired. So, she tossed and turned and thought about how to stop Ralph The Rowdy Rooster from waking her up at 4am every morning.

While she was thinking about this, she heard a strange noise. She heard little pieces of plastic smashing together in the next room. Her little brother Yarrow was recreating a battle scene with his toy soldiers. He couldn’t sleep either.

Eventually Edie smelled coffee. Her parents were wide awake and they were making her breakfast. How come Ralph didn’t wake them up? It’s not fair, Edie thought.

She shuffled out of her room like a zombie. Yarrow shuffled out of his room like a zombie.

“Good morning,” said their parents.

“Good mor…” Edie started to say, but her greeting was swallowed by a big, long, heavy yawn.

Munch, munch, munch, she chewed through her cereal, still half asleep.

Munch, munch, munch, Yarrow chewed through his cereal, also half asleep. Edie looked at Yarrow and thought,

Do I look as bad as him?

Yes, she did.

That day at school, Edie couldn’t stay awake. She tried and tried, but she kept falling asleep. When she got home, she kept falling asleep while she was trying to make a birthday card for her friend Marcela. That’s it, she thought, I must find a way to stop Ralph from waking up so early. She walked over to the TV and turned off Yarrow’s cartoons.

“Hey, I was watching that,” he protested.

“Not anymore, we’re going to talk to Ralph.”

Yarrow followed her and did what he was told because he didn’t like waking up at 4am, and because he knew Edie could be very determined. Not bossy, just determined.

Edie and Yarrow entered Ralph’s enclosure. They scattered food scraps on the ground to get his attention.

“Ralph,” said Edie firmly, “you must stop waking up at 4am every day!”

Ralph looked up for a moment, then kept pecking at his food. Yarrow picked up a piece of apple and offered it to the rooster.

“We want to sleep for longer in the morning, can you wake up later please?” he asked.

Ralph finished eating the piece of apple, then looked at them both attentively.

“I fell asleep today when Mr Gresford was reading the book and I don’t know what happened at the end of the story,” Yarrow said sadly.

“And I fell asleep during Science,” said Edie, “so now I don’t understand photosy…phostyso…photisyonpasenthelis…oh, I don’t know what it is.”

Ralph looked at Yarrow, then at Edie.

“Ralph, see those hills over there…” and Ralph’s eyes followed Edie’s finger as she pointed to the hills beside the family’s property.

“…you must not wake up until the sun comes over the top of those trees, ok?”

Ralph kept looking at Edie. She was sure he understood what she was saying.

“Or, you can wake up when you smell the coffee,” said Yarrow, and Ralph pushed his little beak up into the air like he was trying to smell something.

Yarrow and Edie were certain Ralph was listening, and that he understood what they told him. They were quite happy. They walked out of Ralph’s enclosure, closed the gate and walked back into the house with big smiles on their faces.

“We’re going to get a good night’s sleep tonight,” Edie assured Yarrow.

Image: Arib Neko