He stopped at a stand called Farzoud Halal, perhaps only because it offered the peculiar sight of a man crouching in a bird-murda filled cage talking to a bantam cock. The man noticed Rilo staring and interrupted his monologue. "What?"
"Sorry. I thought you were talking to the bird," Rilo said.
Rilo nodded, and looked around to take in his surroundings. It was a jumble without sense or order. Garments, spices, com-units, next to meat and eggs. As if a child had taken the market apart and reassembled it by feel or color.
"Only, this stubborn bird refuses to stick to it," the kneeling man said.
"Oh, yeah," Rilo said, not fully paying attention. "Why is that?"
"The last in the batch," the man said, nodding at a barrel by his side. He reached in and pulled a bird out by its feet. "Always the same. the last one understands. Twenty birds! I pour the powder into all their ears, and then I ask them, 'Do you grant your servant permission to kill you, so that we may eat,' and one by one they all shake their heads telling me it's good. All of them, except for this one. It's as if the prophet blessed the last one with understanding to not shake your head when there is powder in your ear." He laughed and wiped his hands. "I want to be that bird, don't you?"
"Yeah. I guess."
The man left the last cockerel in peace, and crawled out of the cage dragging the barrel of birds behind him.
"What are you doing with those?" Rilo said.
"Cut their throats." He put a lid on the barrel, and went to a hose to wash.
"And the wise guy?"
"Nothing I can do about him. He has understanding. I'll sell him. Perhaps someone else can talk some sense into him." He grinned.
(from The Club of Santiago)