This week’s prompt from Sue Vincent’s #writephoto stable is this
‘Sorry? Did you…?’
‘A crow. Yes.’
‘Right now ‘why’ is more pressing.’
Jim Pale stood back. This was a joke. Some teen’s trick. Or one of those TV shows making a fool of him.
‘I’m neither a trick nor spoof TV.’ The crow sounded quite put out.
‘Did you read my mind?’
‘More your expression. It helps us survive to know what predators think.’
‘I’m not a predator.’
‘Not now you’ve got Lidl and a taste for cottage pie but it’s not that long ago you ate my ancestors. A millennium is nothing in the life of a crow.’
‘You’re not 1000 years old.’
The crow grunted. ‘All I’m saying is I have to be desperate to speak to a human.’
Jim stepped back. ‘Why aren’t you flying?’
The crow sighed. ‘At bloody last. The ‘why’ question.’
‘Look. If you want help, sarcasm is hardly going to encourage it.’
‘It’s in the name, moron. ‘Crow’. It’s what we do. We could have been sneers or eye-rolls but we stuck with crow as the name. It’s suggestive of superiority.’
Jim began to turn away.
‘Oh alright. I’m sorry. Ok? Does that make it better? You’re the dominant bloody species and I’m a sodding bird yet your skin is a thin as an anaemic slug.’
Jim coloured. ‘Sorry. How come you’re… Actually, what are you doing? Hovering? Floating?’
‘I’m stuck. Frozen. Rendered immobile. One minute I’m swooping down for that burger crust there, the next I’m here, in mid beat like one of those ridiculous porcelain ducks you love to stick above your fire places.’
‘No one has flying ducks any more.’
‘You looked in no. 72 recently? She even has antimacassars. Can we stop this redundant intimacy and will you see what’s stopping me flying?’
Jim stepped forward. He looked around the suspended crow. ‘It looks like you have two strings holding you in place.’
Jim peered hard. ‘Actually there are more than two.’
‘Is it some sort of net?’
‘Noooo, more like puppet strings.’
‘I’m no one’s bloody puppet.’
Jim reached up and tugged at one. The crow’s left wing beat slowly.
‘Hey, stop that! Bloody cheek.’
‘You’re trussed up like a…’
‘Don’t say it. Don’t you dare say it! Just cut me down and I’ll be on my way.’
‘How do I know I should? I mean I don’t know who you belong to, do I?’
‘Oh that’s great. I’ve just undermined your whole belief system by talking and showing you I can mind-read…’
‘Stop bloody quibbling. And now you question if I’m someone’s pet.’
Jim nodded. ‘Yes. Fair point.’ He reached up and touched the nearest wing.
The crow jerked away. ‘That tickles. Be firm, will you?’
‘You are touchy, aren’t you?’
‘Do you really need an answer to that?’
‘No, I suppose not. Here,’ he unhooked a string. Then another. After less than a minute the crow stood by Jim’s feet. ‘Better?’
‘I just want to know who did this. Bloody nerve. Right. I’d better be off.’
The crow turned and stretched its wings.
Jim said, ‘Are you going to say thank you or anything? Show your appreciation?’
The crow twisted its head and held Jim’s gaze for a moment. Then he took to the air and flew in a wide arc. As his flight path crossed where Jim stood he emptied his bowels in a white stream of avian faeces that hit Jim slap on the forehead.
Jim staggered back, stunned. ‘What was that for?’
The crow curved away cackling. ‘I thought you lot considered that to be lucky? Well, be lucky Jim Pale. I hope it’ll mean you’ll have something to crow about.’