Sunday, October 7, 2007

The kidnapping of a flock of birds

I’m going to relate to you a true story of a small but ridiculous nature. It involves the inadvertent kidnapping of a small flock of birds. Or rather, a flock of small birds. It happened at a Seven-Eleven, of all places, the significance of the name of which still eludes scholars. But I digress. One peaceful morning that was almost too quiet, I walked out under the open sky through the streets of D.C. looking for sustenance. There are lots of folks who partake in a similar venture each day, on a more serious level. My search for food had the purpose of sopping up the Jack Daniels that had settled in my stomach, rather than the daily hunger that haunted my bones, but once again I digress. I went in to a local convenience store, got a muffin and a coffee, and stood there underneath the blue sky and its white cloudy freckles. I devoured my muffin in such a way that the crumbs littered the ground, wastefully. I felt bad, but the fight against a hangover is a fight against time, so I persisted. However, the crumbs did not go to waste. Each bite I took, with the rain of manna that it cast upon the ground, was succeeded by the descent of a flock of small birds who hid in a bush nearby. They would descend, and eat, and leave all before the turn of a head or the sip of a hot coffee. These birds were small and meek, cartoon-like in stature. I’m not unconvinced that they weren’t the birds that spontaneously appear to fly around your head after strong contusions. Perhaps they were on a lunch break. Regardless, they took to me like water does a towel. I started to walk away, and they followed. They kept their distance, for sure, but with each bite they would approach and eat the crumbs then recede to a place safely out of reach. I was perplexed, so I even tested this out a few times—I stepped and ate, stepped and ate. They followed and followed. Now came a dilemma. I have to leave. So, do I leave the muffin so the birds can eat in the comfort of their own neighborhood, or do I go on my way and let them go hungry? I decide to leave with the muffin, because Jack Daniels is very persuasive. I thought I had hurt the birds in doing so. However, they just followed me right down the street, eating and retreating, eating and retreating. My own little lamprey eel, in the form of a flock of birds. A symbiotic relationship on the streets of D.C. Bluebirds on my shoulder. I walked all the way to Jeremy’s house, and they followed me nearly all the way. They dispersed with one block to go, flying off in every direction. “My God,” I thought. “I’m doing the same thing to my friends.”

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