The Italicized Peacock

Crows have been known to build fake nests in order to fool predators. Sister Madly intends to utilize this strategy the next time she goes camping by pitching a fake tent to fool her friends.

She might even make use of a papier-mâché Sister Madly decoy, which no doubt will go unnoticed for the first 36 hours.*

* Possibly 40, if special mushrooms are involved.


In a rational world, there are many reasons that one would camp out in the wild: to get out of the city, to go on an adventure, to hide a body, or to simply experience nature.

Oh there was nature, all right, in those outdoor adventures of yore…

Professor- was that a peacock?!

While the Professors heard her question, they apparently did not hear the distinctive, prehistoric squawk as their only response was a look suggesting that Sister Madly was treading dangerously close to butterfly-net territory. It would seem that not one of the Professors’ credentials included a PhD in birds.*

* Or anything useful, for that matter.

Furthermore, the Professors must have assumed that Sister Madly not only hallucinated the Peacock’s Song, but did so out of hunger as she was handed a bag of vegan cat treats.

cougar encounter

For those unfamiliar with the species, ‘cats’ are those cuddly creatures that purr when happy and strategically hack hairballs into your shoes without the slightest bit of shame. There are kitties in the wild, this much is true: but they are awfully big kitties, Professor- seriously, are these Treats for the cougars?

“For the… Peacock.”

Now Sister Madly’s parents didn’t raise a fool- a darling rapscallion with latent psychopathic tendencies, perhaps, but not a fool. She was well-aware that when the word Peacock was spoken, it was italicized. So they didn’t believe there was a Peacock in the vicinity; so they were merely humoring her like a dim-witted child. So Sister Madly, in return, humored those hollow smiles by indulging in the Cat Treats herself.

However, it seemed that the Treats were intended for the Italicized Peacock after all, for no sooner did Sister Madly start munching on the Treats that the bag was snatched out of her hand with a serious reprimand.

“If you must eat, Sister Madly, then eat this.”

jacks2‘This’ turned out to be a most luxurious lump of something akin to the color grey, of which even the Italicized Peacock would be jealous. As the Italicized Peacock was unavailable, Sister Madly had the luxurious lump- which she ritualistically drenched in ketchup like a petulant 2 year-old- all to herself. The ketchup, however, was all in vain as the lump tasted like a near-death experience.

‘This’ was not something she should be eating. ‘This’ was something she should be playing Jacks with while sitting on the sidewalk, and Sister Madly became very depressed that it was in her mouth.


Sensing her dissatisfaction in the second-hand lump, the Professor engaged in a lofty dissertation on how oysters are a source of vitamins this and that, antioxidants, iron, zinc and oh, they can make pearls, Sister Madly! Isn’t that one of your birthstones? Aren’t you just tickled pink?

Sister Madly couldn’t help but be skeptical of any nutritional advice coming from someone whose daily serving of fruits and vegetables had, until recently,* consisted of whatever was garnishing a cocktail glass. But when she heard that oysters are also said to be aphrodisiacs, she began to suspect that the Professors had ulterior motives.

* This Professor had been a pescetarian for 4 days at this point, and would continue to be one for another 6- because, bacon.


But that’s ridiculous; when one is out of one’s element, one tends to be skeptical of anything unfamiliar. No doubt the Professor accidentally packed the Cat Treats instead of trail mix, and the oyster was simply overcooked. Of course the Professors had no ulterior motives; they were in it strictly for the adventure- that is why they insisted on that rugged fundamental: individual foot-baths infused with salt, rosemary and mint.


Face it, Sister Madly: there are ulterior motives at play. You are secretly being seasoned- what other possible explanation is there? Not even a pampered city slicker would insist on a salted rosemary and mint foot-bath out in the wild- isn’t all the sweat, dirt, and funky foot aroma part of the primal allure?

This suspicion was confirmed by the horror displayed when Sister Madly absolutely refused to washed her feet, and no amount of cider could make her comply. It doesn’t take a genius to pick apart your dastardly plan, Professor: a trail of Cat Treats leading from the woods to a rosemary and mint-marinated Sister Madly* smorgasbord, thus satiating the cougar appetite and calling a truce between the civilized world and the wild.

* A free-range Sister Madly, of course. 

“Those aren’t Cat Treats, Sister Madly; that’s eggplant and tofu jerky. It’s been marinated in beer. Aren’t you allergic to hops?”

Eggplant, tofu, and hops.

Eggplant and Tofu…

Definitely utilizing that papier-mâché decoy during the next camping trip.*

* The Italicized Peacock agrees.


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27 responses

  1. You will always be a free ranging Sister Madly…..:) . Most definitely bring the papier-mâché decoy next time…..stuff it full of eggplant and oysters however in case the Professors go cannibal on you when the bacon may not be enough to satiate them…. then ride off with the Peacock and the Cat and live happily ever after stripping off your clothes and romping through the wilds stark naked as nature intended..(sorry I Like to play things out further than normal sometimes in my head….:) ….. btw I believe you when you say you heard a Peacock* – * that last may or may not have been in italics….:)

    Liked by 1 person

    July 8, 2016 at 5:51 AM

    • It most definitely was a Peacock…. or a Pterodactyl. A goblin once told me that they have a similar call.

      Sometimes I wonder what nature really intended- it gets mighty chilly up in the mountains when you’re not wearing any clothes (the goblin told me that, too, of course.)

      Liked by 1 person

      July 8, 2016 at 11:40 AM

      • Yes…I have seen many a nipply Goblin roaming the upper reaches… I often give them an old used sweater or two when passing through their territory….if you are ever in need of a nice cozy sweater let me know… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        July 8, 2016 at 11:45 AM

  2. Ha! I would be quite suspicious if someone drug me out into the woods armed with cat treats and started marinating me in rosemary. This just does not end well. The best thing to do with cougars is to make yourself big, so the fetal position is not a good strategy. We’re speaking of the big cats of course, and not the older ladies on the prowl. I have no idea how you handle those kind of cougars.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 8, 2016 at 6:05 AM

    • One day mankind will walk through the woods to see older women in leopard print and feathered boas crouched on the hillside… I believe that will be the next evolutionary leap!

      When that happens, hide the red wine in the tree tops.

      Liked by 2 people

      July 8, 2016 at 11:54 AM

  3. “tasted like a near-death experience”

    Fantastic line. I’m going to apply that to my extra-strong coffee.

    And, for the record, I’m ALWAYS dragging a body in the woods: mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    July 8, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    • Ha!

      I, too, end up dragging my own body through the woods since nobody else will do it for me- some friends they are!

      Liked by 1 person

      July 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM

  4. It seems Sister Madly does a lot of ranging free. I’m actually surprised that after being railroaded in to being a feline feedbag you weren’t in a grand funk!

    That would actually explain the mushrooms. Now these mushrooms, were they the crazy mushrooms or pretty colours mushrooms?

    Can I interest you in socks for your funky feet and a burlap bag to keep your mushrooms in?

    Liked by 1 person

    July 8, 2016 at 9:59 AM

    • Grand Funks are reserved for acts of barbarism, such as an 8 mile hike through unpretty scenery only to be rewarded with a salad.

      I’ll take any type of mushroom as long as it doesn’t talk to me (or at least, doesn’t talk to me until AFTER I have eaten a few.)

      Liked by 1 person

      July 8, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      • Mushrooms are funny ha ha and funny strange. Trust me on this one!

        How does salad count as a reward? In whose universe is salad a reward? Need a bear to handle it?

        Liked by 1 person

        July 8, 2016 at 12:50 PM

        • Do you converse regularly with Mushrooms?

          Salads are rewards in an unjust universe. How would a bear handle that?


          July 8, 2016 at 1:08 PM

        • It was how the mushrooms were conversing with me. I didn’t talk to them again for 5 years!

          What do bears know about unjust? We, errrr they have no natural enemies. We, errrr they eat their enemies.

          Now were it a cruel trick perpetrated by an unkind God, We feed them to the fish.

          Liked by 1 person

          July 8, 2016 at 1:17 PM

        • So mushrooms can be pretty catty sometimes. Duly noted.

          Do you- or rather, bears- have unnatural enemies?

          Liked by 1 person

          July 8, 2016 at 1:40 PM

        • Mostly humanity, they’re strange animals don’tcha know!

          Liked by 1 person

          July 8, 2016 at 1:49 PM

  5. I have truck full of sweaters tied to the top of my car…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    July 8, 2016 at 12:16 PM

  6. As most of you know, I worked at the Los Angeles Zoo as a tram driver back in the Reagan Administration. We had peacocks too. Ours were footnoted peacocks. They had pretty feathers. And I once had a serious conversation with my cat – wasn’t mine actually, I shared him with my pretty neighbor across the hall. Anyway, it was an important conversation where said kitty told me of his needs. One of us, I can’t remember which, had been drinking a very nice mushroom tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 11, 2016 at 1:20 PM

    • As it was the cat who told you of his needs, it was clear he who had been drinking the tea. Felines do not normally vocalize their needs, only their displeasure at you not meeting them- usually in the form of a hairball in a most inconvenient place.


      July 11, 2016 at 4:27 PM

      • Well that’s the cool part – our entire conversation was conducted telepathically! And I should have noted that peacock feathers are wonderful for playing “tickle” games with your significant other. Or even not so significant other, for that matter.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 11, 2016 at 4:48 PM

        • Oooh, I’ll have to keep that tickling thing in mind the next time a mime breaks into my apartment!

          Armed with peacock feathers- they’ll never see it coming!


          July 11, 2016 at 5:04 PM

        • Now I need a Xanax. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          July 11, 2016 at 7:09 PM

  7. locksley2010

    Eggplant and tofu? Good Gods!

    Liked by 1 person

    July 16, 2016 at 11:12 AM

    • Indeed! Food that is not fit for human consumption- if you can call tofu ‘food.’

      Liked by 1 person

      July 16, 2016 at 6:29 PM

      • locksley2010

        Not sure about ‘food’, but definitely ‘sustenantial filler’.

        Liked by 1 person

        July 16, 2016 at 10:58 PM

  8. Enjoy this post, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    December 11, 2016 at 7:03 AM

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