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Jackson Goes for a Run, Realizes Why He Hates Birds

A man finds he's the pig in a real life game of Angry Birds.

It was the first legitimate spring day of the season. The air finally warmed, the sun was out and there was not a cloud in the sky. I decided that rather than go to the gym and pretend to be a hamster on the tedious treadmill; I would call my friend James and see if he wanted to go for a run. He did, so we hit our local trail. It was a gorgeous day and about halfway through the run we decided to stop so I could catch my breath and James, who is much more fit than I, could do some ridiculous looking exercise that appeared to be more trouble than it was worth. I leaned up against a tree and felt something tap my head. I reached up and felt a cool, moist substance oozing into my hair. A bird shit on me. I knew exactly why.

--

I have long had a hate-hate relationship with birds. I do not consider birds my friends, because they are trying to take revenge on me for one of their fallen brethren. Birds hold grudges, if you did not know that already. Does a bird shit on your car after you just finish washing it? Do they fly into your house windows in an attempt to scare you to death? If you answered yes, then you have managed to piss off at least one bird in your lifetime.

It started for me when I was seven, and I was running down the sidewalk back to my home where my mother was expecting me for dinner. Almost to the front door, a mockingbird dived bombed my head (I do not know why to this day), narrowly missing my scalp. It circled back and hovered inches from my cowering frame, beating its wings in anger and making obnoxious and threatening noises. In terror, I prayed that it would leave me alone but it seemed clear it was going to go nowhere fast. So, I grabbed a rock and set out to kill the mockingbird. I did not know this at the time, but one is not suppose to kill a mockingbird. Apparently, there is a famous book or something about it. I am convinced that this is what started my curse with birds.

Shortly after I killed the mockingbird, I was at the beach with my mother. Even back then, the beach was always a special place for me. I am never more happy or relaxed than when the sun is warming my shoulders and sand is beneath and between my toes. This day at the beach was extra special, because my mother played hooky from work and pulled me out of school for the day to go play in the sand and surf. Five minutes into the day, my mother yelled at me: “Stop throwing wet sand on me or we’re going home!” I was perplexed because I had not thrown anything at my mother. She looked down at her leg and realized with horror that a seagull had relieved itself on her. I started to laugh, and as I did I felt a thud on my head as I noticed a pelican fly by. The pelican had relieved itself on me. My mother took us home and my day at the beach was short lived.

As my life went on, so did the vengeance of the birds. I assumed that the whole thing would blow over, or that it would be confined to a specific species or geographical area. I was wrong; apparently birds have a telegraphic network over the entire planet and put the word out quickly. As a teenager, my first wreck was because of a cardinal. It was a hot and beautiful summer day and I was out for a drive with the windows down. As I was driving down the road, a cardinal flew directly into my driver’s side window and began flying about the cabin making noises and relieving itself on the center console and dashboard. I panicked and ran off the road, taking out three mailboxes in the process. The cardinal flew out the passenger side window, chirping as it went. I am convinced chirping is a bird’s version of maniacal laughter.

I took my dog for a hike once and was assaulted by a group of birds. We were walking on the trail and I began to be pelted from above by pinecones, gumballs and twigs. “What the hell?” I thought. I looked up and there were five vultures high in the branches hissing and pelting me with their ammunition. I can only surmise that they were trying to injure me so they could turn me into their dinner. A friend of mine later informed me they were likely just trying to scare me away from their actual dinner, a deer carcass in the nearby creek. I was dubious, however, because to my knowledge my friend had never killed a bird and did not have a death warrant hanging over his head by the Avian Brotherhood.

A suicide dive-bomber has also attacked me. I was driving a truck for the home repair company I was working for when out of nowhere a large black crow swooped down and flew directly into the center of the windshield, causing it to spider web. I was startled and ran off the road and into a tree. When I explained what happened and why, no one believed that the crow had chosen to end its life as part of the conspiracy against me, and instead assumed that I was on drugs. I was promptly fired.

The birds have not always resorted to direct, physical attacks. They often have resorted to psychological warfare as well. Most mornings I awake to the sense of someone staring at me, only to look out my window and see a gigantic owl peering at me with squinty eyes. “I will kill you one day,” the empty eyes seem to say. There is also a woodpecker that insists on tormenting me throughout the workday just outside my office window. My typical workday has the following soundtrack:

 

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

 

Ten minutes of silence pass.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Five more minutes of silence pass.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

Knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock knock.

 

My most recent encounter with the avian kind was a stealth assassination attempt at the beach. I had discovered a weekend in my busy schedule that I could sneak away by myself for some rest and relaxation and booked a hotel room overlooking the ocean. It was a fairly warm day in March, so I decided to take a nap with the balcony door open so I could hear the waves crash on the shore. I have always found taking a nap with the balcony door open while listening to the ocean to be relaxing. Until, that is, you wake up to a seagull perched just inches from your face on the bed. At that point, taking a nap with the balcony door open at the beach is terrifying.

When I opened my eyes and foiled the avian assassin’s plan, I flew off the bed and ran around the room in circles screaming, “He’s trying to kill me!” over and over. The assassin flew out the window. For whatever reason, when the police arrived (summoned by housekeeping, I presume), they assumed I was drunk thanks to the empty wine bottle in the room’s trash can and told me if they had to come back out they would arrest me for disturbing the peace and public intoxication. I decided to exercise my right to remain silent, rather than explain what was really afoot. After they left, I slammed the balcony door shut, locked it and drew the blinds closed. I didn’t leave the hotel for the rest of the weekend for fear of further attempts on my life.

--

Once James stopped his acrobatic maneuvers long enough to realize why I was looking up to the sky annoyed and fearful, he did the one thing that James does best. James turned the attention to himself and began his own story: “The last time I got shitted on…” I didn’t catch the rest of it because it wasn’t important, but this first phrase indicated to me that being literally shit on was a regular occurrence for James. I knew what was going on immediately. It wasn’t just me the birds were targeting any longer. The conspiracy had extended to my friends as well.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © This work has been copyrighted upon its publication by Michael S. Rothrock. All rights reserved. The complete work, nor any portion thereof, may not be reprinted, reproduced, redistributed, or republished without the express written consent of the copyright holder. Violators may be subject to a legal mess.

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