It was a dark evening. Well, not exactly an evening, more like later afternoon. It gets pretty dark by that time during early winter. Was a chilly evening too with the ocean breeze from the Atlantic blowing in hard. The partner was still sleeping. She used to get tired a lot caring for the little ones and screaming like hell at me. There were problems. We knew that. Something told me I won’t be seeing her again next spring and she’s going to be laying eggs with someone else.
We were pretty much alone there. The Canadian geese had all gone. No idea where they went each winter. Maybe Canada. The lakes nearby were also empty of the quacking ducks. Good riddance! But have always wondered where they went for winter when the lake froze over? No one seems to know that. Even now. Gets people angry sometimes.
I clucked around a bit. There was news of a fox running around and being spotted by neighbors lately. So kept a low profile, as low as I could. Clucked a bit softer than usual. Food was never a problem there. Always found enough worms and stuff to eat. And by the way, let me set the record straight, the early bird never gets the worm! At least not around here. Worms here wait for the sun to go down before they even think of turning up. Causes us so much trouble. It’s so friggin’ cold and then can’t see the damn things in the dark, and with foxes running around at nights, causes us untold miseries, what with kids and all to take care of!
Oh well, I clucked around a bit. And then I heard some noise and looked up alarmed. Turned out to be some humans collecting for something. Always wondered why they collected in such huge numbers. We never can take much of our own kind! I decided to keep a low profile as always. They never harmed us much, except when they were really struggling for food or when their chicken were struggling with some disease or fox attacks etc. Dumb birds. Always dropping dead at the drop of a hat!
But well, it’s generally a good idea to keep a low profile and stay out of sight when there are humans around. You never know what they need now and what they are short of. I had survived so long and grown so big mainly because of advice like this, and a lot of low profile keeping.
I looked around for a while. No worms or any darn thing that could be called food to be found. Had to return empty mouthed to the family and face the missus! Might even get pecked around badly. (Ever heard of the phrase hen-pecked?) I was about to turn back when I saw something lying in the sand glittering. It was even moving ever so slowly! I focused all my bad eyesight on that thing. Turned out it was sunlight reflecting off a snail’s shell. Now a snail is good food. But then it would also mean going out into the open and risking the humans. I decided to chuck it, keep a low profile and return to the family.
I walked along, dejected at not finding anything and wary of the missus. I saw her from afar, she was looking out for me and wasn’t looking too pleased. No bird is pleased when she’s hungry! I continued warily, ready to take flight if the situation demanded. And then I came into her line of sight. She lit up immediately, but I saw her expression change slowly from radiant hope to dark anger. How she knew from that distance when I had food and when I didn’t, I still have no clue about. I guess its one of those things about women!
I knew this called for the escape option. But then where do I run to? In her fury she would usually not rest until she had given me a piece of her beak! With foxes and humans running around, there weren’t much options open for me. I just knew what I had to do…
I went back to where I was. The snail was still there, not much headway made. Well, its a snail after all for Heaven’s sake! The humans were still there and I knew it would definitely bring me into full sight of them! I looked back, the wife was actually walking over to me and God, did she look menacing?! I knew it was suicidal, but there was not much options left. I made for the snail.
The snail was lying in open ground and I had to leave the comfort and safety of the woods to get to it. I got to half the distance and was well within the open area when I heard some rustling behind me. Thought it must be the missus and knew she’d be pleased on seeing the snail and continued on. The humans where the last on my mind. The snail was easy picking. I picked it up and turned back only to see a massive human standing there!
“Captain, there ain’t no geese this time of the year. Will this Turkey do?” he shouted. Geese, Turkey? How could a Turkey fill for a goose. We don’t even swim in water! How dumb can the humans get! “Well, doesn’t matter I guess. As long as its a bird.” shouted someone from behind me.
They say your life flashes before you at the moment of your death. In my case, there was no such thing. I just ran. I ran hard, in all directions, trying to make to the missus who was standing there near the edge of the woods, happy at having seen the snail in my mouth, but quite a tad worried at what was now a dozen human beings chasing after me with sharp knives. Slowly, foot by foot I moved closer to the woods, zigging and zagging whichever direction I could avoiding all kinds of things being thrown at me!
The woods were finally within diving distance of me and I dived, and dived hard to get to relative safety. I landed hard, and stumbled through overgrown roots and ended up a mass of feathers, the snail still in my mouth. I shook myself up and looked around triumphantly, to see a human standing there looking down at me. On one hand was a knife, the other held the missus by the neck. “Happy Thanksgiving!” and the knife came sweeping down. Oh well…
PS: Started off well I guess, didn’t know how to proceed and completed it by just letting my fingers free to type what they felt like. Not as good as I’d have liked it, but there it is.