Getting knighted for being an alarm clock wasn’t the acclaim Randy was going for when he pursued a place in the Order of the Kernel. Randy wanted to be knighted for valor. Randy wanted to be knighted for chivalry and bravery and other impressive epithets ending in ‘ry.’

So Randy trained … hard. He pushed himself harder than any other rooster. He flapped faster, pecked harder, ran faster, fought with more finesse and skill than any other rooster. He learned to cook, to build nests and stealthily set them on fire. He learned to swim and fish and perform assassination underwater, on land, and in the sky. He even joined the elite synchronized rooster dancing and almost-flying team the ‘Cock Stoppers.’

Yes, things were looking bright for Randy becoming a most distinguished and successful member of the Order, until the snake incident. Randy was terribly frightened of snakes. But so was every other rooster, so being pranked with a snake wasn’t something to be worried about. What Randy hadn’t considered, however, was how much his success was pissing off the other roosters. What Randy had never considered possible was that another rooster could be angry enough with him, and threatened enough by him to overcome that universal snake fear just to mess with him.

That’s how Randy came to be crouching over his toilet bucket at the same moment as a snake was trying to escape. The cry that burst from Randy was so loud and so piercing that every head in the camp poked out of tent flap and window, popping up from deep trenches and down below the foliage of trees from wooden perches. His cry was at once overpowering and soothing, jolting and comforting, pervasive and intimate. In short, every single fowl fell ferociously in love with Randy’s voice, and the clamor for more was universal. Within a week he was stuck. He was the most famous rooster. He was the most loved rooster. He was the most showered with gifts and food rooster. And he was the most bored rooster. He was the most tied-down-with-no-future-of-adventure rooster. He was the only rooster with no vacation time or sick leave. He was the only rooster in the Order with no prospects for advancement or skill development or a social life. His voice had become his sole purpose and life. His superiors started making things up for Randy to announce, excuses to use his beautiful talent.