The Tale of a Misfit Cock
Dreamed 1999/1/25 by Chris Wayan
for Rumiko Takahashi
I'm trapped in a tale by Rumiko Takahashi. A narrator explains "In Japanese culture, the role of voyeur is reserved for women over a certain age." Or did I misunderstand--is it that Japanese women beyond this age are allowed only the role of voyeur?
Either way, Japan is apparently riddled with secret hidey-holes for peeping. Even out in the woods and on hilltops--little caves and pavilions and treehouses built specifically for spying on lovers!
In the tale, I'm in a hotel or inn. In the next suite, a girl named Rumiko I've been traveling with (and have a huge crush on) is still up: I can hear her, see her light under the door. The sealed door between us.
I get turned on and thrash around on the bed, frustrated, wishing she were here with me. Hope she's peeping through the voyeur's crack in the door. I take it for granted there is one, of course. That's standard! But when I check... nothing! It's solid, unlike every other door in Japan...
I feel disappointed to have privacy! I can't seem to just come on to her directly--though I know she must like and trust me, to travel alone with me.
The next morning, she tells me a fable about our situation.
She calls it...
THE CHICKEN WHO DIDN'T WANT TO BE LUNCHOVER TEA
'This rooster wanted to sing and act. So he went out into the world... and the farmer let him go, because he was a defective chicken anyway. He had a bad leg--limped visibly. "Nothin' more useless" said the farmer's wife, "than a limp cock."
'He was skinny, too. Nothing much edible on him. So they let him limp out of the prison-farm, into the world...
'And out there... he found no one appreciated him any more than back on the farm. Now, that may have been because he had no talent as a singer--I don't know.
'But in the end, despite his defects, a woman did find some use for him.
'As soup. She ate him. And that ended his sad stage career. And this story.'
I'm silent a while, pondering her fable.
Make tea. When it cools enough to drink I sit with her on the verandah.
"Rumiko," I ask, "he would've been killed eventually, on the farm, so maybe he was still better off leaving. How long was his career out in the world, anyway?"
She sips her tea and stares off at the hills, full of voyeur-pavilions.
"Three and a half hours," she says sadly, and I wake.
My voice teacher introduces me to the members of a bizarre band, thinking I might fit in. They like my songwriting. I join. My first band! A real turning point in my life--I thought. But they all smoke tobacco and I'm allergic; rehearsals make me sick. I get a crush on the violinist. She and the lead guitarist are lovers, and soon after I join, they start fighting constantly. When they finally break up, so does the band. The violinist wants to be "just friends". All that investment in time and work and passion--both love and music--goes into the toilet.
Or the soup pot.
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