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    Once a well-feathered crony grew so fat its perch threatened to give way.
    When this strange bird first showed up at a house in a gated community of well-to-do masters of business and high-ranking government office holders, the owner had felt honored. The prestige of having a personal crony could make one the envy of the entire neighborhood.
    Not surprisingly, therefore, the crony’s host was eager to make it feel right at home. No expense was spared in providing not only an inviting, cushy perch but also an oversized eating tray filled to the brim.
    The crony immediately replied in miffed tones, however, that what it was being offered was no better than chicken feed. Afraid its pet crony might fly away in a huff so soon after showing up, the homeowner ordered the most expensive brand of feed in hopes of supplying it with whatever it craved. 
    The richness of the fare wasn’t the crony’s only complaint, as it turned out. Quality was one thing; quantity was quite another. And the quantity being offered wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy any crony of substance, the now-quaking host was given to understand in no uncertain terms.
    The portions were immediately doubled, and when these disappeared in a trice down the crony’s craw, they were doubled again, then again and again until the entire supply was exhausted. 
    New stocks were laid in but disappeared even faster than before. The crony was putting on pounds with every mouthful now, swelling by the bite and fouling the area below its now-creaking perch with the outcome.
    With the cost of keeping a crony putting an increasing strain on its host’s finances, the belongings of the house started to show up for sale in the front yard. And when these measures also proved inadequate, furtive raids on neighboring properties added any lawn furniture not bolted down.
    Through all of these desperate, impoverishing measures, the crony itself continued to prosper until it had grown larger than the house and could be seen from great distances leaning over the roofline like some dark idol awaiting the sacrifice of the first-born within.
    Would the family that had counted on calling this place home for years to come have to flee under cover of night with what little they could carry from their promising life before the crony took command of it? 
    Would the crony, rattling its feed tray the following morning to no effect, discover the family gone, struggle off its perch, and waddle after them?
    Or would it simply move next door in the gated community of well-to-do masters of business and high-ranking government office holders?