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| The Bird
By Joseph Scipione
The bird perched on the tree branch watching me; the brown of its eyes barely
visible behind its large, dark pupil. It faced me, head turned to the left so it
could stare at me, through me. It looked into my soul. It knew my thoughts. It
knew somehow what I had done. That bird, that vile creature, that crow. They
are scavengers. A week old squirrel dead, on the side of the road, rotting, can
become a feast for the grotesque creature which watched my every movement.
I looked back at it, trying to scare it, hoping it would go away. I felt stupid
having a staring contest with it, but I knew that I couldn't trust it. I needed to
get rid of the bird. I needed to make it go away. Ah ha! I thought, I'll open the
window; that will scare the bird, birds are stupid, it will flyaway, and not watch
me anymore. I walked to the window; the bird had already taken two steps
back. How dumb this bird is, I thought, it thinks I will hurt it. Unlatching the top
of the window, I never took my eyes off of the crow. My hand moved slowly
from the latch in the middle of the window down to the bottom of it. I did not
want the crow to get startled and fly to another branch, I wanted to scare it
away so it would never return, never watch me again. Both my hands reached
the bottom of the window, I griped it tight. "Fucking bird!" I shouted as I threw
the window open, slamming it against the jam. "Get outta here!"
The crow didn't move, it didn't even take a step back or flap its wings once.
No, no, no, it remained perched, watching me and seeing everything. I had to
do something; this creature could not watch me anymore. It couldn't! I had to
get rid of it, even if that meant hurting it. I didn't want to, but I couldn't have it
watching me. It was probably better off dead anyway. It wouldn't have to eat
dead animals anymore. It wouldn't be the scum of the earth anymore.
I reached for the screen and pushed it out. I stuck my head out the window
and watched the screen fall to the ground, landing on the porch right near the
front door of my house. It crashed to the ground and rested at a forty-five
degree angle, held up by the pile of rolled up newspapers the paperboy
delivered this week. I turned back to the room, went over to the bed and
grabbed a pillow. Perfect! I returned to the window, leaned my whole upper
body out of it, and threw the pillow at the damned crow. In slow motion, the
pillow flew through the air, end over end, right at the bird. The bird, looked
right at me, flapped it wings and pushed off the branch as the pillow flew
harmlessly by. I missed it! I couldn't believe it, the bird, the stupid, bird
hurdled the pillow! It floated back down and landed on the same branch, never
taking its eyes off me. Then, for the first time, it opened its mouth.
"Caw! Caw!" That crow said to me.
“No! No!" I shouted out the window at the beast. This thing! It was surely no
animal. No! It was a monster.
I turned my back to the bird, walked out of the room and down the hall. I
approached the stairs, descending them two at a time until I got to the bottom.
I reached for the basement door wrapping my hand around the knob, it was
wet. I flicked on the light heading down the stairs and wiped my hand on my
shirt, leaving a dark stain.
"That's it," I said when I had reached the bottom of the stairs. I bent down,
picked up my shotgun, and checked the shells. One chamber empty, the
other, still loaded. The shotgun felt cold in my hand, but it was also comforting,
I was glad to be holding it again.
"I only need one shot." I said as I went back up the stairs. I smiled thinking of
the bird and its final moments.
When I got back to the bedroom I went straight to the window. I knew that bird
would still be there. That idiotic bird, I hated it. I hated it like I had never hated
anything in my life, it had to die. It needed to die. It deserved to die. I stuck
my head out of the window again. Stupid bird, I thought to myself as it stared
knowingly back at me. It knew!
"This is your last chance!" I said to the bird. "I'm giving you fair warning!" The
crow didn't move, it stood there and stared at me. It looked like it was smiling
at me. It was smiling at me!
"You think this is funny?" I asked it. "Caw! Caw!" It said again.
I shook my head, grabbed the shotgun, cocked it and fired a shot right at the
damn bird. I loved watching it fall from the tree, the blood already dripping from
its wounds. Now who was laughing? I watched it fall hard on the cement walk.
I laughed the whole time. The bird, the crow, the beast was dead.
I walked back down the hall, down the stairs and into the kitchen. I opened the
cabinet under the sink and pulled out two rubber gloves, the kind that cover
your arm to the elbow. I pulled them on. That damn crow, at least it's gone, I
thought to myself. And I got rid of it.
I opened the door to the front porch and stepped over the pile of newspapers
and the screen to reach the front walk. I bent down and picked up the dead
bird, I didn't want any of its kind coming around and eating it. I held the thing in
my hand, away from my body, turned and quickly walked through the house,
then out to the back yard. The best part about it was that I already had a hole
dug for that thing. I walked out to the middle of the yard. Past the barbeque,
out behind the above ground pool that we got three years ago but never used.
I put the bird down next to the hole I had dug and walked over to the shed. Not
bothering to turn on the light, I felt around until I found the shovel I had been
using before my lunch break. I grabbed the shovel, walked back over to the
hole, threw the shovel down, and kicked the bird into the hole. Now I was
satisfied that it would never tell anyone what it had seen. The bird landed right
on my husband's chest, covering his wound.
"There," I said to the bird, "now you have a friend."