Please Don't Feed The Birds

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
And never pick on anyone named Francis.

Submitted: August 15, 2015

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Submitted: August 15, 2015

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When the bus driver tells you not to put your arm out the window, believe her.  Same thing with signs.  If someone feels strongly enough about something to make a sign out of it, you should pay attention.  But I didn’t know about any of that when I was hanging out on the playground at McDonalds.

This is at least partly their fault.  They built the playground.  How can a 57 year old resist?  And they put up the sign.  The one that said Please Don’t Feed The Birds.  So of course I did.

It started innocently enough. Nothing more than a simple French fry.  I gave the small brown bird the sliver of potato.  He flew off and perched on the fence.  I forgot about him.  Ascending Hamburglar Mountain via a series of curved plastic tubes is a real workout if you are 6’1”.

The bird was waiting for me when I walked to the parking lot, perched on the mirror.  I assumed he’d fly off when I opened the door, but he went straight into the cab of the El Camino.  He made himself at home in the box of coiled up rope I keep behind the seat.  I could see how that would look like a nest.

I wasn’t sure what to do next so I took the path of least resistance.  I got in and drove home.  At one point he was chirping in time with “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”.  I left the vehicle in the driveway and rolled down the windows.  Figured I’d seen the last of the bird.  I was wrong.

That evening when I took my beer mug out to the back porch, he was there.  Sitting on the armrest of my favorite chair.  I knew it was the same bird because he had a French fry crumb stuck to his beak.

The next day I put up a bird feeder and filled it with sunflower seeds.  Figured the 50 pound bag would last a while.  I was wrong.

Because that afternoon I was back at Mickey D’s PlayPlace, feeding more birds.  I couldn’t help myself.  I had a plan to keep them out of the truck.  I’d brought my fully automatic SuperSoaker squirt gun, and it was loaded for bird.  I was ready to stand my ground. 

So I was able to get into the cab without any birds.  That prevented the nasty mess from the first time.  I should have known they would just perch on the tailgate all the way home.  They looked funny with the wind blowing their headfeathers back.  The bumper needed cleaning.  I used the squirt gun.

Wasn’t long before the manager at my favorite restaurant said something about a restraining order and told me I was no longer welcome on the premises.  Like that would stop me.  I bought super-sized fries from the Burger King across the street.  I threw them over the fence at McDonalds whenever the manager’s car was not in the parking lot.  The birds knew who was buttering their bread.  There were so many following me home there wasn’t room on the tailgate. 

So many birds it looked like there was a black cloud behind me.  I drove 10 miles per hour in the right lane, with the emergency flashers going.  It only took a half hour to get home that way.

That was about the time I began attracting the attention of law enforcement.

At the same time, I realized that bullying Francis Cannon 45 years ago was a bad idea.  When I was 6 inches taller than him, and 25 pounds heavier, it seemed like a great idea.  He was easy to trip, and I perfected my wedgie technique with his involuntary assistance.  My favorite trick was smashing my fist into the dessert on his lunch tray.

How could I have known he would end up 6’4” and 250 pounds of muscle after his growth spurt?  Or that Francis would turn into Frank and become an Army Ranger?  Or that he would go to law school and become the District Attorney?

When I sat in Mr. Cannon’s office with my lawyer, I did not have the urge to give him a wet willie.  Clearly those days were over.

Frank was more merciful to me than I ever was to him.  He offered me a second chance.  He’d drop the charges if I would to give up my bird habit.  At the moment, it seemed like the thing to do, so I agreed.  And I never fed another bird again, until the next day.

Pretenses of friendliness disappeared the next time I sat in his office.  The look on his face made it clear who was going to do the bullying from now on.  I had no idea how creative he was.  Apparently Frank had given payback some thought.

I have to admit, he came up with the only possible solution.  By then, things had gotten completely out of hand.  There were so many birds at my house the sky was overcast all the time.  My plants were wilting from lack of sunlight.  The mailperson refused to drive down the street after she was attacked by crows.

When Frank offered me a choice between prison and exile to the tract of hunting land he owned in the northeast corner of the state, it would have been a no brainer even if I were a birdbrain.  Me and the birds were heading east.

I’m okay with giving up contact with the rest of the world.  Frank’s cabin is so remote, there will be no cell phone or internet.  He does have a ham radio.  I guess I can be friends with old people.

So here I am, walking down the shoulder of U.S. 72 on the way to our new home.  My State Trooper escorts are riding Harleys and I can barely hear them.  The pop-pop of their engines has no chance against the flapping of a million wings.

I only have one regret.  The nickname the media came up with.  It’s stupid.  I can’t help it if Joseph Alcott built a mill on the creek behind my house 200 years ago and his children named a road for him.  I can’t help it if Burt Lancaster made that movie.  I do not deserve to be known as The Birdman of Alcott Trace.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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