He was known as Bill.
He’d been given the name before he was even born. It had been scrawled in pencil on the outside of the large white egg.
Each day as the egg was turned the name would disappear and reappear.
After more than a month in the warm incubator, a crack appeared in the egg. Bill was ready to get out. But he wasn’t strong enough to do it on his own.
Carefully the man chipped away at the shell, breaking off small shards with his fingernails. He stopped and waited, hoping Bill could wiggle his way free. It took a long time and more help, but finally the small gosling hatched.
His dark feathers were wet and plastered flat.
His fragile pink skin showed through.
For nearly a day, he laid on a soft cloth in a small cardboard box. He was too weak to move, unable to even raise his head. The man put a light bulb over the box to keep the small bird warm.
This is how Bill, my goose (gander), came into the world.
Bill soon found his feet. He was part of a small hatch–the only goose–and shared his box with just one duckling. But from the start, Bill considered himself more human than bird.
From his home in the corner of the kitchen he would keep an eye on what the family was up to. At night when the family went to bed, we couldn’t sleep because his piercing peep-peep-peeps would fill the house. Batman and Robin had just been released so we cut George Clooney out of the cereal box and taped him to the side of Bill’s box for company. It seemed to help.
Soon, Bill was big enough to move outside to the coop and its covered run. He and his duck friend, Magellan, made their home there.
Even though he lived outside, Bill made sure he was in on pretty much everything the family was doing.
A few years later, though, things changed.