Who would be a rooster?

Short-story comp winner Elaine Janes with Honey and Flapper.

Elaine Janes has won the latest Alan Cobham story-story competition.

Elaine won this month’s comp for her story about ‘What a job’, which contained lots of mentions of roosters. Runner-up was Nigel McMillan with ‘How would you like toupee?’.

The next topic is ‘The best sport’.

Alan Cobham, in his book What’s the Point argues that table tennis is the best sport because most people could play it successfully from about the age of 10 until old age.

Alan grandchildren have strong alternative views on this topic. What do you think?

In no more than 500 words, send your opinions to acobham@bigpond.com or, if hand written, delivered to Bookgrove by 31 May.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 13 June at Bookgrove at 4.30pm.

Don’t forget there is a cash prize of $200 for the winner and there will be only two more winners before becoming eligible for the final prize of $1000.

So, all you would-be writers, get your PC keyboard clicking.


by Elaine Janes

What a job it is to be born in this world as a rooster. You would not want to be a rooster for all the tea in China. It is a hell of a life just to survive on a weekly basis.

People who have chooks don’t want roosters. They get rid of them whatever way they can from chopping blocks to big farms where they can run and do their own thing. In a town area roosters are a ‘no no’ because of neighbour complaints. Roosters grow into big, strong, upstanding, handsome creatures with a superb tail plumage usually of mixed colour feathers. They can also growl, snarl, grunt and make ferocious noises. Above all that they cock-a-doodle-do at the first crack of dawn. Their job is to herald the approach of the day with a clear deep far reaching song voice. Roosters love high peaks and singing to a crowd of adoring females sitting in front is even better. Chooks and roosters love this time of the morning.

If kids are out in the street, screaming yelling fighting or playing with lots of noise no one takes any notice. Dogs can bark their heads off, that’s okay. Squabbling neighbours with loud noise can be unbearable, but if a rooster sings his song that is not acceptable.

Complaints are likely to come.

In addition to the crowing, a rooster is put on this earth to do his part of producing chickens in a natural way. Unfortunately a highly sexually rooster will want to harass any creature on two legs. He can paw the ground position, run, launch himself and land on the back of any chook, dig in the claws, use his beak to grab as much neck as possible and go his hardest. As you can imagine suburban homes don’t want roosters.

Unfortunately the life of a stunning looking rooster can be very short lived. We cannot change the rooster make up but do find ways to keep them quiet and it is a pity they have to be housed separate from the girls. Although they have a very fiery aggressive nature a rooster can bond with the owner in a way you would not think possible. The rooster loves a high spot to perch, can take ownership of a favourite garden pot, love mirrors in the garden and they do fly to high peaks. Roosters will do anything to protect his girls. If a predator attacked, he would fight to death before anything got to hurting his hens. How blessed was the rooster on the spire of Notre Dame cathedral? He came down in one piece. Just shows their amazing powers to survive.

What a job a rooster has, he can give a commanding performance and a most times treated as an outcast.


By Nigel McMillan


‘How would you like toupee?’ I heard my supervisor ask the customer behind the counter. He cast me a smile. I didn’t know whether to laugh or look away from the toupee on the man’s head. The silence deepened, the smile widened and a flush of embarrassment and anger spread quickly on the customer’s face. If the man had planned on passing off his toupee as the real deal, he had come to the wrong place. I never saw the man in the store again. I may have seen his toupee on the roadside.


My supervisor and I were engaged in an intellectual discussion concerning the Marvel Universe when an elderly lady approached us. ‘Excuse me young men,’ she said, removing her frames. ‘Can you tell me what aisle the pasta is in?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ my supervisor said, stepping forward. ‘The pastor won’t be here until Sunday.’ He clasped his hands together in a prayer like fashion and bowed his head. He then left without another word as angels followed in his wake.

The lady starred after him in disbelief.


‘Do you know that these Brussels sprouts are not from Brussels?’

The customer was silent for a moment. ‘I’m sure they’ll be fine. I might have to let them cook for longer.’

‘Would you be interested in trying a new vegetable that’s just come in? It’s called Irish pumpkin.’

The customer narrowed his eyes at my supervisor. ‘I’ve never heard of Irish pumpkin before. Is it any good?’

‘It’s great! It looks and tastes exactly like sweet potato…only it’s a pumpkin…from Ireland.’

‘Sounds good to me,’ the man said quickly, heading to the produce section.

My supervisor smiled triumphantly.

‘There’s no Irish pumpkin is there?’ I asked, amused.

‘Nope. Sweet potato sales have been low this week.’


I heard my name rising high over the sea of customers. I looked up from the checkout and saw my supervisor making his way towards me with a closed sign. He placed it on the end of the checkout. The angry mob with their torches and pitchforks and orange juice disbanded. ‘There’s some letters for you at the service desk.’

I was relieved I could have a small break from the madness I had endured.

My supervisor smirked and gave me a handful of lettuce. We may have lost some customers that day.


‘How’s your new robotic arm? Looks like the surgery went well.’

I turned to my supervisor. ‘It’s the latest model. Works great.’ I flexed my fingers.

The customer I was serving fixed his eyes on my arm. ‘It looks so realistic!’

When it was safe to laugh, we did just that.


Day off


The elderly lady returned to the supermarket in search of sustenance but was met with more reverence. ‘The pastor will see you now.’

He was a man of wit. He was my favourite boss. What a job. 

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