Flash Fiction: The Grey Fedora

Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to write a story including the words bird, roof, egg, war, hay. This week’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie.

Give Cathy’s new Facebook page, “Granny MacKenzie’s Children’s Books,” a “like” and a comment perhaps?

The Grey Fedora

by Cathy MacKenzie

A sudden noise caused Robin to peer down. At first he pondered the blur of grey until he realized Harry stood beneath him. The worn fedora, propped precariously on the elderly man’s head, looked as if a fly could knock it to the ground. Perched as it was, the hat reminded Robin of a weathered nest, similar to Robin’s home cuddled in the knuckles of tree branches.

Robin couldn’t help but notice white stippling the hat. For some reason, the sight struck him funny, and he would have giggled but birds couldn’t laugh, at least not the way humans do. The bird wasn’t sure what humans had to laugh about. Then again, what did he, Robin, have to laugh about? Compared to man, Robin was a mere speck hatched from an egg, a life that mainly existed roosting on tree limbs or flying over roof tops. No, Robin didn’t enjoy a life of laughter. Unlike birds, humans made war; perhaps that’s why Robin wondered what Harry laughed about. After much thought, Robin decided he preferred life as a bird, getting along with feathered folk, free to fly at whim.

Well hidden behind thick summer leaves and tough branches, Robin observed Harry puttering about. Harry ambled here and there, yanking weeds and tossing them into the wheelbarrow. Though the man occasionally scanned the tree, Robin felt safe; the man couldn’t attack him, not high in the sky.

The bird wondered why the thought that Harry might harm him entered his mind. No reason existed—none except for the glaring white stains upon the grey felt.

Soon, Harry disappeared and Robin heard the slam of the door.

Alone again, thought Robin, glancing around to see if his feathered friends were available. Piss on you, he chirped, when he saw no kin about. Maybe being a bird wasn’t so great, after all. The others had forgotten him, just as humans sometimes don’t care about their friends.

Robin eyed his nest, which needed padding. Though Robin felt lazy, he flitted to a low-lying branch. He’d have to fly to the country for perfect nesting hay, and he didn’t have the ambition to stray too far. He fluttered to the lawn and pecked at sturdy grass. He could gather enough grass for his nest if he kept at it long enough.

What was that? Robin cocked his head toward the sound of the screen door.

Harry was back.

Robin hid beneath a bushy bush. Harry strode into the garden and plopped to the concrete bench. The sun danced on the man’s shiny head. Had the lowly fly succeeded? Then Robin spied the hat clutched in Harry’s gnarled hands.

Harry’s face looked as sweaty as his hairless head. Robin regretted pooping on Harry’s hat. He hadn’t meant to, but he had had an accident. No doubt something he had eaten. He had likely left white stuff on the windowsills, as well, but that’s what birds did. They flew and pooped.

Several days previously, when Robin deposited the slimy treasure on Harry’s hat, the irate man had brandished a fist in the bird’s direction and spewed wild words Robin had never heard previously.

Despite Harry’s recent rude actions, Robin felt possessed to make amends. Harry seemed oblivious when Robin flew to a shrub by the bench. What did Robin have to do to get his attention? A song, Robin thought, and so the bird burst out in tune, cheeping as birds do. Harry remained motionless. Was he deaf?

Just before Robin was about to dart away in defeat, he noticed a worm crawling on the grass. A tasty morsel, Robin thought. When the bird swooped down for the prey, Harry, still clutching his old hat, jumped up as if the bench were about to collapse.

The situation unfolded as if time had stopped for Robin, as if his matchstick legs had formed roots that delved deep underground. Harry moved in slow motion. So did the worm. Robin, distracted by too many events, understood Harry’s purpose when the man raised his hat. The hat whacked Robin on his left wing. The bird squalled. Feathers flew as if pillows had been involved in a fight.

“Take that you dratted bird, pooping on my favourite hat. It stinks now, hear me. Stinks. I hate birds. Always have.”

Harry scooped up the shivering bird and glared into dazed eyes. Robin attempted to open his beak, to protest Harry’s handling of him—to try to save himself—but couldn’t.

Robin felt himself hurled into the air but, with a mangled wing, was unable to fly. As the air uplifted him for several seconds, he closed his eyes, awaiting the final descent. He landed, hearing the deafening crunch of his right wing.

A tornado of air swirled over Robin when Harry lifted his right foot. Robin closed his eyes.


The Spot Writers—Our Members:

RC Bonitzhttp://www.rcbonitz.com

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenziehttps://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Deborah Marie Dera:  www.deborahdera.com


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