Every little breeze

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“Mister Mayor. The townspeople are expecting a speech.

“A speech? What for? Look around you. It’s a lovely day. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the crickets are chirruping in the fields; everything is beautiful in the world. Why would I want to spoil all that to give a boring speech?”

“Because it’s your job, Mister Mayor. It’s what the people expect. It’s why they’re all gathered here in the square.”

“But it will be a political speech. How boring is that?”

“The elections will take place next weekend, Mister Mayor. If the townspeople don’t re-elect you, you won’t be mayor any more. You won’t have a job. The opposition will be in power.”

“Does all that matter? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the crickets are—”

“Yes, Mister Mayor, we’ve been through all that. Just deliver the speech we prepared, fire the villagers up, get them into our corner, then the mayor’s seat and the council will be ours and won’t fall to the opposition.”

“But does that matter? Does it really matter? The sun is shining, the—”

It matters. Do you want those people to undo everything we’ve devoted the last decade to building up? Have you seen their plans for education, for housing, for policing?”

“TL;DR!”

“Then it’s a good job some of us have read their manifesto, and understand the devastating effect their plans would have on the town.”

“Can’t you win the election without me? I find the whole business so tiresome.”

“Would that we could, Mister Mayor. Would that we could. The simple fact is the people love you; they relate to you; you inspire them, although goodness only knows how. For Pete’s sake they listen to what you say the way they don’t listen to the rest of us; the ones who formulate the policies and do the work. So, if not for yourself then for us, just knuckle down, buckle down and do it, do it, do it!”

“Can’t I sing just one song first? You now the little people like to hear me singing.”

“God give me strength. Go on, then. One verse of one song.”

“♫ Each time I see a little girl
Of five, or six, or seven
I can’t resist the joyous urge
To smile and say —”

“MISTER MAYOR!”

“What?”

“You can’t sing Thank Heaven for Little Girls!”

“Why ever not?”

“It may have been acceptable in 1957, when it was written, but this is 2021! You can’t sing that kind of song now. You just can’t. It’s highly inappropriate. You’ll have all the parents up in arms.”

“How about Louise?”

“What about her?”

“Not the little girl, Louise, the song. It’s even older than Thank Heaven but can’t upset anyone, surely?”

“Start it, and I’ll let you know.”

“♫ Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise,
Birds in the trees seem to twitter Louise,
Each little rose tells me it knows I love you, love you. ♫”

“Lovely, Mister Mayor. Now the speech?”

“Now the speech.”

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 309 published on this site.

Kreative Kue 309

Kreative Kue 308 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

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John W Howell is a multiple nominated and award-winning author who blogs at Fiction Favorites. Details of John’s books can be found on his Amazon author page

I’ll Show You by John W. Howell © 2021

“Okay, so the next thing you need to know is not to touch that pole with your beak while sitting on the wire.”

“Why’s that?”

“If you touch the pole, you will create an ungrounded connection, and the electricity will fry you.”

“Geez. Why do you guys sit on these wires anyway.”

“You mean to tell me you don’t sit on wires back in your town?”

“Heavens no. We have trees.”

“Trees?”

“Yeah, big green bushy things that have limbs you sit on.”

“Sounds nice. Well, anyway we have no trees, so I’m trying to give you some pointers on how to survive in the big city. How long you going to be here?”

“Just a week. I have to attend a nest clearing. My cousin is becoming an empty nester.”

“Lucky bird for sure. Okay, back to the lessons.”

“Why are you hanging upside down?”

“I’m not upside down. See that bug on the sidewalk.”

“Un-huh.”

“Don’t touch it.”

“What do you mean. All bugs are fair game.”

“Not that one. He’s a made bug.”

“Made bug. What does that mean.”

“He is a member of the bug mob.”

“Yeah, so.”

“You touch him, and you’ll have every bug in town wanting to cash in on the hit notice.”

“You serious? I never met a bug I couldn’t handle.”

“Hornets?”

“Well, no. I stay away from them.”

“They are the mob enforcers.”

“Good to know. What else?”

“Don’t take any popcorn from the old lady on the bench.”

“Why not?”

“She has a cat in her valise that loves birds. The popcorn is bait.”

“Good grief. I need to get back home.”

“You flying?”

“Yes.”

“Watch out for the Peregrine Falcons.”

“The what.”

“Birds of prey. They sit on the buildings and wait for pigeons.”

“I’m not a pigeon.”

“Some are nearsighted. Just be careful.”

“How do you survive in this jungle?”

“I keep my wits about me and one more thing.”

“What’s that.”

“I pay protection.”


My effort was:

A lesson learnt

“Okay, I flew up here, Dad. What else do I have to learn today?”

“Well, Son. For starters, you have to learn where to find food.”

“I got that already. I stand here with my gape wide open and scream until you come and feed me.”

“Yeah, but I’m not going to do that for ever, am I?”

“Why not?”

“Because parents only feed their chicks that way until they’re old enough to feed themselves;”

“That doesn’t seem very fair.”

“Life isn’t fair, and that’s a good lesson to learn, too. Anyway, I haven’t always been a grown-up,. I was a hatchling once and had to be fed by my parents, too.”

“You have parents?”

“Of course.”

“But you’re old! How ancient must your parents be?”

“They died a long time ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. So who fed you after they died?”

“Nobody.”

Nobody?

“Nobody. Before they died – a long time before, actually – I had learnt to feed myself.”

“Are you and Mum going to die, Dad?”

“Yes. Of course.”

WHAT?!

“Everybody dies. That’s why we have young; to keep our species, our bloodline alive and healthy. You won’t live forever, either, you know.”

“Won’t I? Why not?”

“Just believe me when I say you won’t. These bodies grow old and die – if we’re lucky.”

“What’s lucky about growing old and dying?”

“Everything. Not everybody manages to do it. I have to level with you, Kid. Life can be tough. Some birds are killed by predators – cats, hawks, humans – some fly into things like cars, windows and those enormous twirly things on the top of hills, and some starve to death if they can’t find food.”

“You’re scaring me, Dad.”

“You’re right to be scared. It’s a frightening world out there. That’s why it’s important you learn to do things for yourself, so when the time comes, you’ll be okay.”

“I understand, Dad. What do I need to learn, apart from feeding myself?”

“Let’s concentrate on that first. Now – to get at the food we like, especially the juicy larvae, you have to drill a hole into tree bark, to dig them out.”

“What do I use to drill with?”

“Your beak.”

“My WHAT?”

“Your beak. You’ll need to build up your neck muscles so you can attack the tree like a jackhammer. It’s hard to start with, but you’ll get used to it. Once you’ve made a hole, you can use your long tongue to reach in and grab the goodies.”

“Isn’t there an easier way? I’m sure I say you yesterday getting stuff out of something down there, where the smaller birds are.”

“That’s what they call a bird-feeding station, put up by good humans — they’re not all good, by the way, so it’s safest not to trust any of them. There’s stuff there for all kinds of birds. Some of it we can use, like nuts, seeds and… mm mmm… suet.”

“Isn’t that easier than bashing your head against a tree?”

“It is, but you can’t rely on it.”

“Why not?”

“Sometimes the people who put it out go on holiday, sometimes they may be poorly, sometimes they just forget. It soon runs out, or gets wet in the rain and goes off. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great whilst it’s there, but you have to be able to find food when it’s not.”

“Okay, Dad. What do I have to do?”

“We’ll start the easy way, with the feeder stuff. There were peanuts in there yesterday and fat balls. Let’s see if they’re still there. Follow me, Son. Head down and go into a dive and remember what I told you to do when you throw yourself into the void…”

“Okay, Dad… Dad?… DAD? — What was the name of that Apache bloke?”


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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 keithchanning@gmail.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.

A lesson learnt

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“Okay, I flew up here, Dad. What else do I have to learn today?”

“Well, Son. For starters, you have to learn where to find food.”

“I got that already. I stand here with my gape wide open and scream until you come and feed me.”

“Yeah, but I’m not going to do that for ever, am I?”

“Why not?”

“Because parents only feed their chicks that way until they’re old enough to feed themselves;”

“That doesn’t seem very fair.”

“Life isn’t fair, and that’s a good lesson to learn, too. Anyway, I haven’t always been a grown-up,. I was a hatchling once and had to be fed by my parents, too.”

“You have parents?”

“Of course.”

“But you’re old! How ancient must your parents be?”

“They died a long time ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. So who fed you after they died?”

“Nobody.”

Nobody?

“Nobody. Before they died – a long time before, actually – I had learnt to feed myself.”

“Are you and Mum going to die, Dad?”

“Yes. Of course.”

WHAT?!

“Everybody dies. That’s why we have young; to keep our species, our bloodline alive and healthy. You won’t live forever, either, you know.”

“Won’t I? Why not?”

“Just believe me when I say you won’t. These bodies grow old and die – if we’re lucky.”

“What’s lucky about growing old and dying?”

“Everything. Not everybody manages to do it. I have to level with you, Kid. Life can be tough. Some birds are killed by predators – cats, hawks, humans – some fly into things like cars, windows and those enormous twirly things on the top of hills, and some starve to death if they can’t find food.”

“You’re scaring me, Dad.”

“You’re right to be scared. It’s a frightening world out there. That’s why it’s important you learn to do things for yourself, so when the time comes, you’ll be okay.”

“I understand, Dad. What do I need to learn, apart from feeding myself?”

“Let’s concentrate on that first. Now – to get at the food we like, especially the juicy larvae, you have to drill a hole into tree bark, to dig them out.”

“What do I use to drill with?”

“Your beak.”

“My WHAT?”

“Your beak. You’ll need to build up your neck muscles so you can attack the tree like a jackhammer. It’s hard to start with, but you’ll get used to it. Once you’ve made a hole, you can use your long tongue to reach in and grab the goodies.”

“Isn’t there an easier way? I’m sure I say you yesterday getting stuff out of something down there, where the smaller birds are.”

“That’s what they call a bird-feeding station, put up by good humans — they’re not all good, by the way, so it’s safest not to trust any of them. There’s stuff there for all kinds of birds. Some of it we can use, like nuts, seeds and… mm mmm… suet.”

“Isn’t that easier than bashing your head against a tree?”

“It is, but you can’t rely on it.”

“Why not?”

“Sometimes the people who put it out go on holiday, sometimes they may be poorly, sometimes they just forget. It soon runs out, or gets wet in the rain and goes off. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great whilst it’s there, but you have to be able to find food when it’s not.”

“Okay, Dad. What do I have to do?”

“We’ll start the easy way, with the feeder stuff. There were peanuts in there yesterday and fat balls. Let’s see if they’re still there. Follow me, Son. Head down and go into a dive and remember what I told you to do when you throw yourself into the void…”

“Okay, Dad… Dad?… DAD? — What was the name of that Apache bloke?”

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 308 published on this site.