Kreative Kue 311 asked for submissions based on this photograph:
“That is a funny story, sir.”
“Well, in all honesty, there’s too much awful news on the air today.”
“Yes, well, we probably won’t be able to air that one. Now to the purpose of our interview.”
“Oh yes. You wanted to know what happened to my hawk.”
“More specifically, sir, we have had reports of your hawk attacking people.”
“I think the term ‘attacking’ is a bit harsh.”
“There is an older woman in the emergency room with head lacerations which she says were done by a hawk.”
“Oh, I don’t doubt that. Pricilla can be very forceful when she wants something.”
“Pricilla is your hawk?”
“Yes, I named her after my mother-in-law.”
“I see. What did Pricilla want from that older woman.”
“I suspect she thought the woman was wearing a wig.”
“Priscilla is a bird of prey, and she has a hard time resisting the urge to take off to high places with some prey.”
“But a wig isn’t prey.”
“Pricilla thinks so. Think of this from Priscilla’s point of view. She swoops down, grasps the wig off a living being, and carries it to a potential nesting place. It’s like catching mice.”
“What happens when she finds out the wig is not alive?”
“She goes hunting for another. All this fuss is over a bird trying to fulfill its destiny.”
“Sounds pretty dangerous for those wearing wigs.”
“Not unless they are somehow glued in place.”
“You trained Pricilla?”
“Goodness no. I bought her from a previous owner.”
“Someone with an affinity for wigs, I presume.”
“Come to think of it, the guy was bald.”
“Yeah, well, that’s a wrap. I cannot believe I’m given these assignments. I should have known this was a clinker.”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.”
“You wearing a wig?”
“How did you know?”
“A little birdie told me. I would duck in three. . . two . . . oops too late.”
“So, Mr. Wrightbottom, can you tell us about the endangered Snufflepotomaus bird that inhabits this area?”
“Actually, that’s Snufflepotomaas, but I’ll forgive your ignorance. I’ll do better. I show one to you.”
“Um, are those M&M’s you’re pulling out of your bag?”
“My what? You mean my satchel? And ‘duh’ . . . I mean of course these are. Watch and learn. Look towards the long grass, near the base of that larger tree.”
“Okay! I mean, Larry, turn the camera that way.”
“Nyuk! Nyuk! Gobble! Gobble!”
“Oh . . . okay, and what is that move you’re doing? What does bobbing your head and sticking out your tongue do?”
“I’ ‘aw’ ‘in’ in’.”
“Ummm . . . it draws them in?”
“You’re nodding, so I guess that’s a ‘yes’.”
“Mr. Wrightbottom, what exactly is going on he—”
“Hey! We told you yesterday to stay out of here! This time I’m gonna’ call the cops! Flattening the ground keeper’s tires in his driveway, and then stealing his clothes from the locker! You’re going to jail, buddy!”
“What the **** is going on here!”
“Psst! Dave, we’re still on the air.”
“Oh ****! I mean, keep rolling! This boring gig just got a whole lot more exciting! Who knew the crazy guy could run! Did he just . . . aghh! Could have gone all day without seeing that!”
“I hear you Dave, in all my years I’d never thought I’d watch a naked man being chased across a golf course, while dropping M&M’s from his bag.”
“It’s a satchel! And who’re you calling crazy!”
“Apparently he can hear well, too.”
“Okay, I guess that’s a wrap, or unwrap. Larry, you want to go for a beer?”
“Yup, or two.”
My effort was:
I’ve been a journalist ever since I left school at fifteen. My first job was as a runner for my local evening newspaper. From there I progressed to that great training ground: the small ads, followed by control of the births, deaths and marriages section – what we called ‘Hatch ’em, match ’em and despatch ’em’. Three years I was on that. Then I was apprenticed to Joe, an experienced journalist. I followed Joe everywhere he went. Usually, my job consisted of fetching him pies, mugs of tea or glasses of beer, depending on the time of day and the location. But he did teach me a lot. Whilst he was consuming whatever I’d brought him, he’d always talk me through what he’d done and how he’d approached the latest job. Sometimes, at the juiciest parts, he’d even empty his mouth before giving me the details.
Eventually, Joe said he’d take a chance on me, and sent me out on my own to watch and report on the official opening of a village fete. It was our local MP did the opening, and as we were only a month or so short of an election, I took the chance to ask him some questions about the local political scene and his plans for the next parliament, if he and his lot were elected. Boy, did I get a roasting from Joe for that. I was supposed to report on what I saw. I wasn’t supposed to interview the celebrity. I pointed out to Joe that he hadn’t said I shouldn’t, which he accepted was true, and in fact pointed it out to the editor when he was called in to be hauled over the coals for letting me go out alone.
I never found out exactly what happened in that meeting, but a memo that went round the following week told me all I needed to know. It was to all staff, and it said that Joe had been promoted from senior reporter to chief reporter, and I was moved from trainee reporter to junior reporter to understudy Elise, who was in charge of political reporting. When I asked her about it, Elise said that although I shouldn’t have done that interview, and although my piece was simplistic and naïve, it showed promise. Her job, she said, was to knock me into shape as a political reporter, if I was agreeable. I blushed. Why? Because I had for some time had a bit of a crush on Elise, and the idea that she found me ‘agreeable’ provoked a reaction that, had she noticed it, she would have thought highly inappropriate.
After about five years with that paper, I had a call from a commercial radio station. They were headhunting me as political commentator and offering more than twice the salary the paper was paying me. Of course I took it. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t everybody, given the chance? Anyway, I did that job for seven years, occasionally freelancing with a local TV outfit. It was my work with local TV that got the eye of the regional bosses of a national TV news collecting outfit, which is where I am now.
The deal with the news TV is that I don’t do politics at the editor level – they’ve got very senior guys for that – but I do general news reporting which sometimes has a political dimension Today, I’m talking to the founder of a bird centre that works win conservation of birds of prey around the world and has been heavily involved in the efforts to address and reverse the drastic declines of vultures, particularly in Pakistan and South Africa.
Important work, yes. What they are doing is vital on so many levels. And there probably is a political angle to it, if I dig deep enough. Thing is, though, if I handle this well, maybe the political editor will see it and be sufficiently impressed to offer me a permanent slot on his team. So. Heads in gear and here goes.
“You ready, Sir?”
“As I’ll ever be.”
“Great. Deep breath and let’s get started. Three… two… one… and – I’m standing here this morning in what is unquestionably one of my favourite places in the south of England. A haven of peace and tranquillity broken only by the calls of some of the world’s most iconic birds of prey. I’m going to be talking with the founder of this very important charity about the work it does in the struggle to conserve vulnerable populations of some of the planet’s most endangered species …“
Although not mentioned by name, acknowledgements are due to the Hawk Conservancy Trust (https://www.hawk-conservancy.org) and to its founder, Ashley Smith.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.