The Smartest Bird

April 13, 2009

smartestbird1I balance myself against the brown painted metal railing. The smooth gloss coating is chipped at one point–The fault’s shaped like a sphinx and the inner dermal layer of the rail has turned vivid orange from oxidation. The heat and humidity remain consistent but without the brightness of the throbbing yellow orb that usually plays lead in the California sky.

Four cars lay asleep in the parking lot surrounded by the railing. A man, grey/brown hair peeking just over the top of his glasses, stares at me from within his orange vehicle. Unlike so many of his brethren he looks upon my oil-dark form with something resembling respect. He should–I’m beautiful enough.
 
The minute clacking of my claws against the interior of the hollow metal rail barely registers, and I like it that way. The nearby cats–pompous, self-absorbed, stupid creatures more infatuated with their appearance and petty games of torture than in learning about the world around them–might detect my presence more easily. Not that they disturb me remotely. A cursory stroke of my beak against my right wing completely cleans the muddy water from my feather jacket, and with a stretch I break eye contact with the curious bespectacled man to take to the air in search of food.
 
It’s not much effort to find a red puddle of something discarded by some soot-caked human pup being dragged by its older littermate. I land on the pavement next to the creamy, oleagenous mass and jab my beak in. I’ve not enjoyed something this cool and fresh in awhile. Barely into my meal, faint paw pads advance from my north. I hop in a semi-circle to face the oncoming footfalls. Two glittering, slit green eyes–those of Orangecat–greet me. He licks his chops, anticipating a mouthful of my flawless black feathers and tender avian breast. We’ve played this game before and this sleek but moronic adversary never wins.
 
His smooth movements enchant lessers, but not me. I only let him advance to drag the maximum amount of anticipation out of his feline soul before denying him his gratification. He slinks closer, thinking I’m hypnotized. The arrogance…The stupidity. Orangecat’s stealth keeps his belly well-filled, but never on me.
 
The sinewed orange striped form only tenses for a split second, but once again he’s shown his hand clumsily. I alight, just fast enough to escape his first clawed swipe but just slowly enough to engender the illusion that I could give a shit less what he’s doing. He gazes up at me with those slit eyes, so elusive to the bipeds but so tiresomely fatuous to me, and I deliberately orbit ’round him, red cream tumbling from my beak to spatter his fastidiously-groomed coat. A dozen sticky drops adhere to his body before it occurs to him to skulk off. Orangecat tries to maintain his composure, but his comrades look upon him from the lot nearby with disdain. “Tricked by the crow again,”  their emerald eyes sneer. Fool.
 
If I could smile, I would. I’m beautiful enough.

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