Rooster Eggs

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I'm in front of my parent's house and I'm getting cold feet. It's not really about them: we don't always get along great, but I can go talk to them when I have to. Well, maybe they also play a role in the way I'm second guessing all of this. I mean, the departure.

Am I really gonna leave the town behind without looking back? I know I'm still a little bit of a stranger here, but getting a job felt like settling a bit. Like growing up. I don't wanna go back to being a bum, not really.

I'm also not that comfortable with leaving anyone here. I mean, I'm no savior, but we're fleeing town for a reason, right? There's a limit on how little I can decently care about what happens to others. Domenica apparently has contacts with people who could do something, but I don't know them and I doubt Domenica has already been through a situation like this. What then? What if things really get out of hand? What will happen to the people who aren't aware of what's going on?

One of the scenarios playing in my head involves all of them slowly getting brainwashed like the HappyBroiler's workers, letting Brooding Peaks turn into a ghost town. Another involves the mountain just being sealed off and people disappearing when the get too close. I'm not even touching on the subject of what if this chicken god decides to descend from chicken hell and the whole town turns into a mad rotisserie. I don't know what's real and what's a complete fantasy anymore. Will the people of this town be OK, beyond Tig and my parents?

Anyway, I can't really waste time here, because I have to go see Tig afterwards. Spread the news. Here we go.

I knock and enter directly, like I'm used to, but no one seems to be around. They're probably kicking back in the garden, enjoying the late afternoon. I go outside through the back door but no one seems there either. I call my dad, but his cell phone is turned off and my mom doesn't have one. Damn it! They must have wandered off or found a new activity to go to, after salsa lessons and pottery. I'll call them again. I have to find Tig and missing my parents feels like a pretty bad omen. Before I leave, I grab an empty backpack and fill it with clean-looking clothes. As far as luggage goes, this will do.

I cycle all the way back to Tig's house. It's a solid twenty minutes ride and I'm not taking it slow. I ring the bell. Of course there's no answer. She doesn't reply to calls either.

I have to calm down because I'm not very far from a panic attack. It can't be what I think. From what we've seen, only the factory workers were brainwashed, so there's no reason for Tig or my parents to be under that spell. But if they're not, why would my parents be out at a time like this without giving me a heads up? Yeah, most of the time it's lame to have my parents call me on a regular basis at my age, but at least when they go missing I'm really noticing it. Also, Tig is still supposed to recover at home. All three of them have cell phones. There isn't anything that would justify them being away like that, unless...

Of course. The Yolkside Lunch. That was today and Tig was organizing it. I sigh in relief. This is typically the kind of event my parents would attend. At this time, the lunch should be turning into happy hour. Soon the stage will get setup and an actual band will play old classics for the folks that feel like couple dancing. If I get there in time, I should be able to get both my parents and Tig at the same time, but it's almost time for Dave to show up at Domenica's house. I do not have much time to fret. The most reasonable decision is to call Domenica.

"Hey Deb," she says, "are you OK?"

Sure we haven't been at our safest lately, but the question still hits me because of how it highlights the insecurities we're living through right now. We're strong women all right. Let's keep it that way.

"Hey Domenica," I say. "Listen, I think both my parents and my friend Tegan are at the Yolkside Lunch right now. I'm not very far from it, but it might take a while to actually discuss things properly. Are you gonna be all right carrying the boxes with Dave?"

"Oh, he's here already," she says. Damn! I'm not a good dependable person. I should have called way before. "Listen," she says, "why don't you wait for a few minutes? We're almost done here, so if you give me the address we could grab you on the way. I'd feel safer if you weren't wandering alone."

"I'll hardly be alone," I say, "there are probably two hundred people sitting around at Yolkside park right now... but I get your point. I can wait."

I give her the address and sit on the porch. I hope she gets here fast, because if evening comes and the concerts get started, it will become nearly impossible to find them. I should have told her to meet me directly at the park instead of here. It's a pain to wait somewhere with nothing to do.

Indeed, it takes them a good twenty minutes to reach me, but when they do arrive I can see what happened. The pickup trailer is full of stuff. Not literally full, but close, given that I'm probably gonna have to fit back there too. It won't be too comfortable in there. I can thank my skinny ass.

Domenica and Nathan are sitting neatly on the passenger seats and yes, there are only two of them. I think they're getting along pretty well with Dave. On the other hand, he shoots me a look that makes me want to slap him: 'ah, women,' say his eyes, looking at all the stuff they have brought. Well, man, try having a kid, a career and suddenly letting go of everything because your lives are in danger. Wouldn't you keep a lot of stuff too? We'll talk about this later.

"Everything OK on your side, Dave?" I say. I have to raise my voice to cover the sound of the engine.

"Fine," he says. "Are we good to go now?" I guess he's been waiting quite eagerly for this departure. I hate to do this, but I have to delay it a little more.

"I just have to go pick up my parents and friend at Yolkside park, if you don't mind. I don't want them to stay in the midst of all this."

"You know you're not all gonna fit in the trailer, right?" he says, half-joking. Look ho's being mister common sense.

"My parents have a car," I say. "Anyway, it will just be a minute. I won't be able to forgive myself if I don't warn them."

Dave shrugs. "Hop in, then. You do what you want, but you'll be lucky with those parents of yours if they don't want to put you in a padded cell."

I add my bike to the pile of things in the trailer. "Thanks Dave, I'll handle my own family," I say. I jump in, tap the side of the trailer and Dave drives us to the park.

When we get there, there is still visibly a very large amount of people, which makes the idea of finding them kind of crushing. It's not like I have a choice. Their phones seem to still be off and Dave isn't gonna wait the whole night. When I get off the truck, Domenica gets down too. Nathan waves at us, looking vaguely worried.

"Can I come with?" she says. "We'll be done sooner with the two of us, right?" The world is a dangerous place and Domenica doesn't want me to be out there on my own. If this was a guy it would be bordering on awkward to be overprotected that way, but she's just too cute.

"Let's go," I say, taking her hand. Yolkside Lunch, here we come!


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