THE BLACK CHICK
Tommy had always been a good, docile child. He had never made a fuss in the evening when, at the appointed time, he had to go to bed. Often, although not always, his mother, Louise, sat next to him on the bed and began to tell him a fairy tale. Most of the time ( almost always) Tommy fell asleep before she got to the end of the tale. Then she, Louise, came back in the living room to her husband Clive and her ( their) two teenage children, Peter and Maggie. On the evenings there were also some of their friends, who had come to dinner and who would stay until late at the night. Louise, all satisfied, smiling, announced to all those who were waiting for her ( there, in the living room), yes, even as if she had freed herself from a big ( heavy) weight: “ The puppet(the doll) is already sleeping as a little angel” Then finally the fun could begin for all them, without having to worry of the hassles of the little brat ( that little snotty), without having him between their feet, that little plague. They could start playing cards____and there were those who preferred to challenge each other in a chess game. They could start dancing, but also singing, accompanied by the music they preferred. They could watch the movies they liked.
In a couple of hours, when Maggie and Peter would have gone to bed too, they could have drunk alcohol even until they got drunk , and they could have talked freely about any subject, even the most gory (the most grumpy). Ah, what a relief anyway for all of them when the little Tommy had gone to sleep…. So that evening it was really a surprise, but even a shock, when little Tommy not only he didn’t agree to go to bed ( to be put to bed), but he yet started yelling that NOOOO! He couldn’t go to bed! He had to find Picki-pick! His friend couldn’t be gone! Ah, he just had to be hiding, the rascal! Yes, he wanted to play hide and seek ( with him/Tommy)! He wanted Tommy to find him! And he, Tommy, oh, he would find the rascal! . The child, kicking, kept shouting loudly : “ PICKI-PICK! Do you think I cannot find you? Ah, I know that you want that I believe that you are gone! Iuuhhh! But I know that you are not gone at all! You just snuck up somewhere, little bastard! But I will find you!”
In front of ( facing) a Tommy unexpectedly reluctant to go to bed, indeed the child was rebelling furiously ,that he seemed possessed, at the idea of having to go to bed, they all___that evening there were also their neighbors, the Robbins , at their home____kept wondering who could be this Picki-pick, so almost desperately invoked by the little boy. No matter how many times they asked him and asked him again, there had been no way to know it from Tommy. The little boy kept shouting: “ Oh, Picki-pick is my friend! “ Then he kept yelling, crying: “ PICKI-PICK!!! Come out! Show yourself! ( Let me see you, for God!)” They, Louise and Clive, Maggie and Peter, the Robbins exchanged worried glances, winking at Tommy who, having escaped (from) his mother, who was taking him to bed, had started to open all the doors, to enter all the rooms, where he opened drawers and wardrobes, continuing to scream : “ Picki-pick!!!! But where did you go, rascal! Come out! ( come forwards) Oh, yet I know you are here! No, I can’t believe you’re gone!” “ Hey, Tommy, but who is this Picki-pick?” They insisted on asking him, now more worried than curious. And he, Tommy, didn’t even think to answer. So much so that some of them, first of all Louise and Clive, began to think that there was no Picki-pick. Oh, but sure, it had to be just a gimmick of Tommy, an excuse not to go to bed. Or, as Peter and Maggie thought instead, if Tommy was looking for it even into the drawers of the bedside table, and in the box of chocolates, but even into his parents’ shoes, and in the milk bowl , but then Picki-pick, it was a very small pet. “ Tommy, is Picki-pick a kitten? Or is it a small dog? Perhaps is it a Chihuahua?” They asked him. “ Noooo! Picki-pick is not a kitten and not even a puppy!” Tommy screamed, as he kept rummaging everywhere, turning the house upside down.
“ Oh, my God , Tommy, won’t your Picki-pick be a mouse?” Mrs Robbins screamed, who was terribly afraid of mice. “ Noo! It’s not a mouse!” Tommy’s face was red as a pepper. He, all disheveled, kept running from room to room, looking for Picki-pick. He had even gone to look for it under the beds, even into the water closet. “ Then, let me guess…oh, I bet that it’s a lizarf, isn’t?” Noo! It’s not a lizard!” “ What is it then? On, tell us what it is!” They all asked him.
“ Picki-pick is a chick, a black chick” Tommy finally said, leaving everyone in disbelief, astonished. A CHICK? And where could Tommy ever have found a chick? There were no chicken coops around.
“ A black chick? Where did you find it? Who gave it to you?” They started asking the child.
“ Oh, come on…nobody gave it to me…It’s he, Picki-pick which came here to me!” Tommy proudly claimed. “ Oh, Picki-pick! Where are you? Come here!” The little boy kept screaming, running all over the house , and rummaging everywhere.
Of course, when Tommy said that it had been Picki-pick, a black chick, which had come to him, none of them gathered there, in the living room, believed him. Louise and Clive exchanged a worried look….could their little one feel bad? Yet, somewhat, it was true that the black chick had gone to him, that is, it was as if it ( the black chick) had gone to him. A short time ago Tommy had found , among some books there at home, the goose game, which both Maggie and Peter had no longer played for time. Instead Tommy had become fond of that game. In one box of the game there was the figure of a black chick , precisely that one which would have become for him Picki-pick . When the player, during the game, ended up in ( on) that box, he had to go back. Despite this Tommy was absolutely fascinated, completely enchanted by that BLACK CHICK, so much fascinated ( fascinated to such an extent) that this was the real reason why he very often returned to that game, which he always had in his hands : that black chick, being able to see that black chick. He never was tired of looking at it. But more than this : he, Tommy, needed to know that the black chick was there, that it was there with him.
Then it happened that one day, while Tommy was alone at home and was looking, enchanted, at the black chick, it had detached from the cardboard on which it was flattened, since it was only the figure of a chick , and had gained thickness. The black chick , which had been only an image, a figure until then, detaching itself from the cardboard had, as if to say, materialized , it had assumed a body. The black chick suddenly had appeared in front of him standing on its thin pink legs, with its soft feathers, with its little yellow beak, with its dark , bright eyes, also they rimmed in yellow. The black chick had even given him a light peck on his hand. The chick had also made :pious-pious, opening its beak only a bit. It was ( had been) a very light PIOUS-PIOUS. Yet a lively, cheerful pious. He, Tommy took it as a greeting from the chick. Tommy had laid two fingers of one hand on the small round head of the chick, had caressed its feathers. How incredibly soft its feathers were. Above all to touch it, the black chick seemed more than ever a wad( ball) of cotton wool. Only the small feathers that sprouted sharp at the tip of its wings, had a harder look than the soft cotton wool that covered its body.
Tommy , absolutely thrilled (enthusiastic), he hadn’t said even only one word to anyone about the wonderful black chick he had called Picki-pick because of its habit of giving him little, light pecks, which were delicious . He knew that if he had talked to anyone in her family of that chick oh, everyone would make a fuss, start asking him questions, and it was likely that they wouldn’t let him to keep the chick. Tommy was too young__he was five years___to think that others, especially adults, would not have believed him if he had told them how that real black chick had come out, that is , if he had said ( told) that chick was born from the image ( figure) of a chick. For Tommy it was not at all strange, nor, much less, incredible that a chick could be born as Picki-pick was born. Oh, he also knew that chicks were born from chicken eggs, but that hadn’t to be the only way they could be born. Tommy had always kept Chicki-chick as much as possible with him. He had taken it to his bedroom, where he had found several comfortable shelters for it ( the chick) He had arranged ( prepared) dens ( hideouts) and bunks into the wardrobe, under the bed, inside the drawers of the bedside , even inside old shoes of his mother.
Sometimes, when Tommy wasn’t in his room, he had dared to put the chick into the pocket of his overalls. Of course, there was always the risk that the chick would jump out and his parents, maybe also their friends, could see it. Yes, sometimes it happened that Picki-pick suddenly disappeared, without Tommy could know where it had gone. Oh, but his black chick had always come back , without he ( Tommy) had needed to start looking for it, or calling it.
Tommy happened to think, even if it was more a feeling than a thought, that he, Tommy, was the very one who had given birth to Picki-pick. Yes, so much, for so long time he had looked at the image ( figure) of the black chick in the box of the goose game, that it, the real chick ,had come out ( had come to be, had come to life ), really living. Ah, ,Picki-pick was a such extraordinary creature, that Tommy was more and more enchanted by it, day by day. At times it seemed to him ( Tommy) that the chick was asking him,____ and it was asking him more moving its spout, or slightly lifting its little wings than with its eye, since Picki-pick , of course, always looked at him with only one eye,____” And you, Tommy, do you know where you really came from?” Tommy didn’t understand the feeling, not at all unpleasant, but which also frightened him a little, that Picki-pick ‘s question caused him. He didn’t even understand WHY Picki-pick was asking him that question. Yet it was somehow true that this was exactly what the black chick was asking him (Tommy): if he, Tommy, knew where he came from. The why for this question, oh, Tommy , he, could not understand it, since he still did not know that he had been adopted by Louise and by Clive. He didn’t know he was not born in the country where he lived, but he had come from a distant country devastated by the war. It could be said that Picki-pick, the black chick, was saying him, with its question, that he too, Tommy, was …..A BLACK CHICK.
That night Tommy kept looking for Picki-pick all over, but in vain. He ( the little boy) kept calling “Picki-chickkkkk!” at the top of his lungs, crying and despairing. The Robbins, almost embarrassed, had left after some time. Louise and Clive had scolded Tommy severely. He had to stop screaming! He had to go to bed! Tommy had to resign himself to being put to bed. But he, for sure, had no intention of falling asleep. So he kept ( remained) quiet in the bed, and waited for some time. Then, when he was sure that everyone was asleep, there at home, he slipped out the bed and put on his shoes. After looking again for Picki-pick in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in the cellar too, he opened the door and, squatting, came out of the house. If Picki-pick wasn’t at home, he would look ( would have looked) for it outside. After looking around, Tommy started walking down the sidewalk, throwing a look, from time to time in the almost deserted street. Cars passed only rarely. But there were the lights of the street lamps. With( at) every step ( he took) he hoped to see Picki-pick suddenly appear, and his heart beat faster at that thought. Tommy also thought he should call ( should have called) the chick, but he was able to do it only in a very low voice, almost in a whisper. And as he murmured the name of the black chick, he felt, with absolutely certainty, that Picki-pick would never come back, that he would never see it again. But why? Why did his black chick go away? He kept wondering. To think soon after: even if it’s gone, it can’t be far away. So ( Then) Tommy repeated himself that he had to find Picki-pick , and he would find it ( would have found it). When he promised this to himself, Tommy heard a voice, which perhaps was a voice inside him, saying: If you don’t find ( will not find) Picki-pick, don’t go back home even you.
Tommy walked through all the streets, the roads, even the alleys of his neighborhood. From time to time he also dared to call “ Picki-pick!” aloud. But he stopped immediately to call the chick as soon as he saw the light ( come) on into a widow (in a window). When he was beginning to be (to feel) rather tired and even sleepy, he seemed to see, in the light of a street lamp, just Picki-pick! But sure, it was right it , his wonderful black chick, which, hopping, was crossing the street on the crosswalk. ( on the pedestrian crossing). Tommy shouted out loud : “ Pickiiiii-chiiiickkk!” and, very fast, with his heart that seemed to be coming out of his chest, ran to catch up with the chick, which was reaching the other side of the street. When also Tommy, sprinted across the street, put his foot on the other side of the street, sure he had Picki-pick close at hand, sure that by now the black chick couldn’t escape him,Picki-pick was gone. He, Tommy, kept looking around, calling desperately: “ Picki-pickkkk!” The black chick couldn’t be gone! He saw it a moment ago! It was Picki-pick! The little boy, more and more desolated and incredulous kept wondering, crying, where on earth Picki-pick could have gone. He came to think, who knows why, that his black chick might have disappeared ending underground, perhaps it had fallen into a manhole. Tommy was looking down, stamping his feet on the sidewalk and even on the asphalt of the street, when a big car stopped, approaching the sidewalk. An elegantly dressed man came out of the car. “ Oh, but what is such a small child doing all alone on the street at this time of night?” The man said, going very close to Tommy. The little boy could barely stammer that name: Picki-pick , then he tried to say he was looking for it, but he burst into tears. “ Ah, poor little one, don’t cry. I’m here. I will take care of you” The man said, picking Tommy up and taking him to the car. How strange, just when the man put him on the seat of the car, it seemed to Tommy to see ( to glimpse) A BLACK CHICK from the car window. But that chick was much bigger than Picki-pick. Tommy started screaming and tried to get out of the car. But that smartly dressed man knocked him out with a punch on the head. No one ever heard of Tommy since that night. He too disappeared, as had Picki-pick, his wonderful black chick.