All the hens came to Lady Buff Orpington’s tea party and, as usual, Minnie Minorca was the last to arrive, for, as usual, she had spent the day with her psychiatrist, her internist, and her beak, comb, and gizzard specialist.
“I’m not long for this barnyard,” she told the other hens. “What do you suppose I’ve got now?” She went about the room, giving all the hens a peck except her hostess, who pecked her, but without affection.
“I’ve got blue comb,” Minnie went on.
A chill had fallen upon the gathering, as it always did when Minnie Minorca began reciting her complaints, old and new, real and hysterical. “Dr. Leghorn found out today that I am edentulous, and he told me so,” said Minnie, triumphantly. “Of course I’ve always had chronic coryza, Newcastle disease, and laryngotracheitis.”
“Minnie has so many pains she has given each of us one,” said Lady Buff Orpington coldly. “Isn’t that nice?”
“I love you girls,” said Minnie, “and I love to share my troubles with you. You’re such good listeners. I was telling my psychiatrist about my new ailments, including incipient dry feather, and he suddenly blurted out some of the things he has been keeping from me all these years. He said I have galloping aggression, inflamed ego, and too much gall.”
“Now there’s a psychiatrist who knows what he’s talking about,” said Miss Brahma, and she tried to talk to her hostess about the weather, and the other hens tried to talk to one another, but Minnie Minorca kept on telling how charged with punishments her scroll was.
As she rambled on, describing in detail the attack of scale foot she had had in Cadawcutt, Connecticut, one of the hens whispered, “I’ve just put some sleeping pills in her tea-cup.”
“You must have some more tea,” cried Lady Buff Orpington, as she refilled Minnie’s cup, and all her guests repeated, “You must have some more tea,” and Minnie Minorca, delighted to be the center of attention and, as she thought, concern, hastily drank the slugged tea.
After she had passed out, one of the hens suggested that they wring her neck while the wringing was good. “We could say she broke her neck trying to see what was the matter with her tail,” the conspirator suggested.
Lady Buff Orpington sighed and said, “We’ll draw lots to see who wrings her neck at the next tea party someone gives. Now let’s go out and take a dust bath and leave old Fuss and Fevers to her nightmares.”
And the hostess and her guests went out into the road, leaving Minnie Minorca to dream of a brand new ailment, called Minnieitis, or Mrs. Minorca’s disease.
MORAL: Misery’s love of company oft goeth unrequited.