Once a crony grew so fat its perch threatened to give way. When this crony first showed up at a house in a neighborhood of high-ranking government official, the owner had felt honored. The prestige of having a personal crony could make one the envy of the entire gated community. Not surprisingly, therefore, the house owner was eager to make the crony feel at home. No expense was spared in providing not only a more inviting, cushy perch but also an oversized eating tray and then filling it to the brim. The crony declared at once, however, that what it was being offered was no better than chicken feed. Afraid the offended crony might fly away so soon after showing up, the homeowner ordered every available brand of feed in hopes of supplying it with what it craved. The richness of the fare wasn’t the crony’s only complaint, it turned out. Quality was one thing; quantity was quite another. And the quantity simply wasn’t enough to meet the needs of any crony of substance, to put it bluntly. The portions were immediately doubled, and when these disappeared 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 faster than before. The crony was putting on pounds with every mouthful now, ballooning by the bite, and turning the area below the now-creaking perch into a foul pool with the consequences. When the crony’s insatiable appetite began putting a severe 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, swelling 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 thought to call this place home for years to come have to flee in the night with what little they could carry from their life before the crony took command of it? Would the crony, rattling its feed tray the next morning to no effect, discover the family gone, struggle off its perch, and waddle after them? Or would it just move next door?
Copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Grosshans