Lucy Talmidge had two passions. The first was ballet. She loved the music and the way the dancers moved, and even the acres and acres of tulle. She had spent her life teaching the fine art of the dance, and working to promote the art everywhere she went.
Her second love was chickens.
It was a strange thing to admit, even to herself. Ballet was acceptable and within certain normal social conventions. A love of chickens was downright odd. She could’ve told people she enjoyed bird watching, leaving out the specificity of her appreciation, but, she didn’t, and endured the awkward glances.
The glances got a good deal stranger if she dared mention her current project.
Lucy was training chickens for the ballet.
It was a very difficult proposition. Chickens resisted training. They also tried to wriggle out of tutus, and could not be bothered with shoes made for humans, much less pointe shoes. She despaired that she’d ever see a chicken dance en pointe.
Another challenge was lifts. Chicken wings were woefully underdeveloped, and didn’t seem to be good for anything other than a spicy sauce and ranch dressing. Yes, she did know they were flightless birds, but, couldn’t they have just *tried* a little? Would it kill them to exercise those puppies the tiniest smidge? True, without hands, it was possibly a moot point, the hen being lifted tended to panic and flap frantically and futilely, crashing into the rooster in a cloud of feathers and loud squawking.
Not only did she face daily the challenges brought on by teaching an ill-suited creature to a demanding task, there was colluctation from animal rights groups, who felt this was probably one of the cruelest plans ever concocted.
One member of the ASPCA noted, “Ballet dancing is cruel to humans, why would anyone wish to inflict such a thing on herself, much less an innocent animal who can’t chose? I might enjoy *seeing* ballet, but, have you seen these dancers’ feet? Or seen how little they eat, or seen all the the health risks and injuries associated with professional dance? Waterboarders have nothing on most Ballet Masters.”
colluctation / col – LOOK – TA – shun / noun, Latin. strife; opposition
From the Latin "colluctation-, colluctatio," meaning "to struggle." The Latin form also shows up in French, where the meaning is the same.