Kreative Kue 286 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“Okay, now hold it right there.”
“I understand this whole art museum thing.”
“But I don’t get what we are doing here in the middle of the night.”
“I can explain.”
“Please do then.”
“We came at night because you see better then.”
“Oh, so you wanted me to be able to see the art better?”
“You know what a highly intelligent and sensitive bird I am, so you want me to critique a few pieces.”
“That’s not it.”
“Ah. You want me to appraise some paintings. I’ll have you know my appraisals are sought after.”
“To write a review on a piece or the collection.”
“Okay, I give up.”
“There is a mouse in this room, and we would like you to have it for dinner.”
“You want this highly trained and wise owl work for his dinner?”
“I hope no one finds out about this.”
“I mean, think of my reputation.”
“As a bon vivant and renaissance bird. I had those damn eagles convinced I walked on water.”
“A little too much brag, I would say.”
“‘A little too much brag, I would say.’ You sound like my wife.”
“Sounds like you should have taken her advice. You ready.”
“Wait, wait, wait. Are the security cameras working?”
“I don’t want this to hit the internet. Could you turn them off?”
“Absolutely not. Besides, no one cares about seeing you catch a mouse.”
“I’ve got a million followers on Tic Toc, 100,000 on Instagram, 25,000 on Twitter. They will care.”
“I don’t know about that. I just need the mouse caught.”
“Could you at least call my agent?”
“Yeah. She’ll know what to do. Maybe this could be the beginning of Super Owl, the next hero.”
“Maybe I should have used a cat.”
“That orange one I’ve seen around.”
“He has an agent too and is much fussier. He’ll want catering and star billing.”
My effort was:
I honestly don’t know why I do this job. Day after day they get me up, weigh me then bring me in here so I can show off how quietly I fly. Granted, they have the decency to turn the lights down – not off, because my species doesn’t often hunt in total darkness. Oh, we can do it alright, but it’s not our preferred way. We’re what they call crepuscular. Can you say that, children? Cre-pus-cu-lar. No. Thought not. What’s it mean? It means that in the wild, we hunt at dawn and dusk. That’s right, we prefer low light to no light.
This time of day, my wild cousins would be sleeping – except in the spring when they have to find food for the wife and kids and end up starting earlier and finishing later. Yes, it is hard work and no, we – or rather they, my wild cousins – don’t do it by choice. But it’s necessary to bring on the next generation.
What’s that? Is it easy to catch stuff? No. And let me explain why.
First off, there aren’t as many small animals as there should be. Something to do with farming or land use, I’m told. Secondly, and this is important, the little critters we catch for ourselves and our families don’t want to be caught and eaten. Now that might sound obvious to you, but imagine if you went into the supermarket and the sausages or pizzas disappeared down holes to get away from you – that’s if they’re not hidden already.
I’m glad you asked me that and I know that a lot of people believe it. Think about this, though. If we flew silently so the little critters didn’t hear us coming, how much would that help? How close do you think we’d have to be for them to hear the air over our wings? Pretty damned close, I’d say; and if we’re that close, there’d be nowhere to run. No. We use hearing to find our food. The little fellahs scamper around, often in long grass, and although their heat trace will give us a clue that’s just to get us started. Did you know we close our eyes during the last part of the hunt? Well, we do. It stops them from being injured if the little guys fight back or if the grass is sharp and so on. We need to hear any slight movement. If we didn’t fly silent, the tiny sounds wouldn’t get through the wind over our wings.
You’re very kind. Thank you. Don’t feel sorry for me, though. The wife and I have food brought to us every day, we have safe shelter from bad weather, and no predators – and if we get the sniffles a vet looks at us. Yeah; I sometimes wonder what it’d be be like to be wild and free, but…
I’m afraid that’s not true. Birds of prey don’t fly for fun. In fact, they only fly for food and to escape from danger, to defend territory, to find a mate – oh, and some migrate. But never for fun.
Anyway. It’s been great talking with you, but I have to get ready for the next lot. Meanwhile, Ill leave you with a little limerick I wrote:
When owls go out in the dark
Don’t think that it’s just for a lark
It gets kind of rough
To find and kill stuff
It sure ain’t a walk in the park.
On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at email@example.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.
Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.