The square egg

That morning I found a square egg in the coop. I could see nothing remarkable about the chicken. It was the small brown one.

I took the egg. It looked perfectly square, and felt so too. I studied it from all sides, but apart from its shape it was a normal chicken egg.

Mary gave a start when I showed her the egg. “Give me that!” she yelled, and almost snatched it from my hand. I quickly pulled back my arm. “Easy,” I said, and gave her the egg. She immediately dropped it.

I was sitting on my knees, looking for the corners among the yoke, when Mary entered with some paper towels. “Move aside, you fool,” she said, “you are making a mess.” The shell fragments crackled between her fingers.

I went out to study the chicken again. Still nothing remarkable to see. Perhaps it had a square hole? When I was lying on my belly, looking at perfectly round cloacae as far as I could tell, I heard the scraping of a throat a little further on. From over the low hedge old Johnson smiled his fake teeth at me. He was holding a rake.


“Good morning.”

The next day the small brown one had laid another square egg. This time I let it lie where it was, and ran into the house to fetch my camera. Where had I left the damn thing? When I came back to the garden I saw Mary standing in the back, at the coop.

“There was a square egg here,” I shouted at her. It was gone.

“Sorry, dear,” Mary said, “I can only see round ones.” She laughed.

“Morning,” I snapped at the eternal neighbour in his eternal garden, and stormed back into the house. I was angry, though I did not know at what or whom.

That night I dreamed I was lying between the chickens. They were pecking furiously at my face. Mary and old Johnson pushed me against the ground, and laughed. Oh how they laughed!

The next morning the small brown one had laid a perfectly round egg.

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