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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 15 page 14

fiction

The Guide Rooster

by Tomas Sanchez Hidalgo

The latest fad this season as far as pets are concerned, says an advertising feature broadcast simultaneously on the two state-owned television channels — after documentaries on Silicon Valley on Channel 1, and “Career Opportunities in Spain, Part I,” on Channel 2 — is the guide rooster.

The guide rooster is the result of a long and costly genetic engineering project backed by 100% Spanish capital: deeply Spanish R&D. This new variety of gallus gallus or common European chicken, some seventy centimeters tall, with the same arrogant appearance and head as gallus gallus, adorned with a red comb, thick and usually erect, has a series of substantial and pragmatic differences developed for the rooster’s new use as a pet.

The roosters are designed for a diverse target group of potential users, all of them with a common denominator: they like to go out for a few drinks, in any state, place, or circumstance. Partaking in alcoholic ingestion — copiously or not — but responsible enough to not drive home, even so.

Thanks to this new genetically modified rooster, you can drink without later spacio- or temporal location problems. The guide rooster — supplied through modification with a remarkable ability to tug you along — will guide you at all times throughout the night, bar to bar, and will bring you home safe and sound at the end. Once vaccinated and with the pertinent obligatory chip implanted, you’ll only need to clip on a special rooster leash and give him clear commands. He’ll understand. This is the outcome of much trial and error at the hands of a group of methodical and persevering scientists.

The rooster should be taken for a walk around your area to get familiar with it, and be shown a map of the neighborhood and/or town with a series of basic directions. And you should introduce it to your circle of friends, so it doesn't feel left out.

They require a very Spartan keep, basically corn — also compound-feed-based corn — and water. In that respect, several establishments in the hospitality trade at the national and international levels have joined the initial proposal put forth by some bars in the trendy Malasaña area in Madrid which consists of placing bowls with corn on the bar for the guide rooster right next to the popcorn bowls for their owners — with the hope of creating symbiosis and economies of scale.

The idea is to create a certain atmosphere in any given bar, of an undeniable comic element for the person who bumps into a situation of this sort for the first time upon walking into their local watering hole.

The rooster is just as useful for dating: a shared fondness for the same kind of pet is as good a way as any other to break the ice.

Another benefit of this lab pet, which came about unexpectedly, a bit collaterally: if you have a rooster with a certified pedigree it makes you chic, makes you different. As with all things, there will always be classes, and everyone knows the unspoken rule in Madrid that you can't get into night clubs like Bangaloo, Gabana, or Vanitas with a common street rooster. Not to mention if you go to Bar Cock on Calle Reina.

The rooster is also a great help verbally alleviating daily tensions, if needed, without having to engage in fisticuffs. “I’ll sic my rooster on you,” has become, it seems, a leitmotif of their owners in recent times.

And, of course, the television spot concluded, your guide rooster acts as an alarm clock in the traditional method, if you have early obligations to attend to the next day.

After that, on Channel 1 there was a rerun with interviews with the famous Spanish inventors of foosball, Chupa-Chups lollipops, and the yarn mop. On Channel 2, “Career Opportunities in Spain, Part II.”