by Molly Collins
You are thirteen now, the age at which men come from near and afar to take from a young woman her precious heirloom cuckoo clock. As your father, it is my duty to seek pledge from you to keep it until you are married, as it is of the utmost value. There is nothing more precious to a father than his daughter’s cuckoo, so with acceptance of your pledge, I present to you these instructions for safekeeping.
The cuckoo is fragile and should be treated as such. First and foremost, the seal of authenticity must remain intact, for if broken, no respectable collector will consider such a damaged good. As such, the clock must never be transported by bicycle or tidied with cylindrical instruments. In fact, the seal is so delicate that it will disintegrate upon even the slightest of touch, so you mustn’t lay a finger on it. And it goes without saying that it cannot get wet.
Mind that you may not sell, lend, or rent out your cuckoo, for while it is in your possession, its bill of sale carries my signature. At such time that you do wed; I shall transfer the bill of sale to your husband, whose signature it will carry until death is upon him. Should death find him before you, I shall place your cuckoo up for public auction to acquire new ownership.
Occasionally an appraiser may attempt to tinker with your cuckoo without an appointment, as it is simply in their nature to increase the number of cuckoos in their collection. Still, you mustn’t allow this—such an event would be reprehensible and have most certainly transpired from you having ventured into the public with it or doused it with so much oil that it slipped from your grasp without objection. As such, it is your responsibility to guard your cuckoo from all purveyors.
There is no finer cuckoo than yours. I swear before you to war over your cuckoo and to combat confounding cuckoo conduct around the clock.
Molly Collins is a comedy writer based in South Carolina. She is a graduate of The Second City's Online Satire Program and trained in improvisation at Alchemy Comedy Theater in Greenville, SC. Her work has been published by The Second City Network and McSweeney’s.