This gift disappears on its own

It was a dark and stormy night.

No, sorry, that’s how Snoopy always starts his stories. Let me try that again…

It was a bright and not very stormy day.

I was down in my dungeon office working, or perhaps napping, when I heard it. It was coming from the back yard.

An ungodly screaming. Like the horrific sound of one of the monster Orcs from the Lord of the Rings with a toothache, or maybe some evil being from outer space yelling swear words.

So, of course, I ignored it. At first.

But the squawking and screeching only got louder and louder. In fact, it got so bad, I finally had to drag myself out of my chair and go investigate.

And as I climbed the stairs up to the family room, I paused halfway up. It hit me like a proverbial sledgehammer: that horrible sound is coming from inside the house.

Heart pounding, step by step, slowly, holding my breath, I reach the top of the stairs. The shrieking is deafening. The door is already half open. I push it. I step into the family room. I turn. And there it is…

Chicklet the cat is sitting there, nonchalantly. A look of pride on her fuzzy face. She is expecting me to praise her, for she has delivered to me a gift.

I see immediately it is the source of the ongoing cacophony. It is a rather large bird, and it is yelling bloody murder.

(Now, dear readers, I feel I should interrupt this dramatic tale to reassure you that in spite of being carried into the house by a cat, this bird was essentially uninjured. But it had certainly lost its temper.)

The black and white present from the cat was on its back flapping and shouting, and I started flapping and shouting also.

I should have grabbed a towel, but I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a handful of grocery bags that happened to be sitting there, and ran back and covered the whirling dervish.

Both the bird and me were freaking out. I grabbed it and it dug most of its claws into my hand, but I have a fairly high pain threshold (yeah, right), so I ran to the back door, struggling to hold onto this flapping fury of an angry bird. It’s squawking louder than a murder of crows screaming at a stupid squirrel.

I threw open the back door and charged out, heading for the back alley, where I could give the bird its freedom and feel good about myself for the rest of the day.

I took three steps into the backyard when it hit me. I mean really hit me. Like someone smacking me on the head with a hammer.

The mother magpie (I’m assuming here) instantly came out of the blue (literally) and nailed me on the top of my head. It dive bombed me right on the spot where I have, shall we say, a little less hair than I used to. With its claws.

I was so startled, I yelled at the top of my lungs and involuntarily threw the bird and the bags into the yard and roared back into the house like the Road Runner being chased by Wile E. Coyote.

There was blood, and it was mine. Not much, mind you. So, heart still pounding, I poked my slightly punctured noggin out the door to check to see if the traumatized fowl was OK, and there was nary a feathered friend in sight. I took this as a good sign.

Chicklet the cat, however, was mad at me for three days. She doesn’t like ingratitude.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

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