#233 Don’t Feed The Birds

by Anthony Campo

“Why do you come here, Walker?” the girl in the rawhide jacket asked.

“To feed the birds,” Walker said. He reclined on the green bench. Denim on denim. His outstretched legs ended in broken old boots brought to heel on dark earth. Beyond his boots, the grey water of the lake. Beyond the lake, the grey sky. Around them black trees reached up into the emptiness. Their skeletal fingers swayed in what might have been wind.

“The sign says ‘Don’t Feed The Birds’ though,” she said. She pointed to the sign. The sign said nothing in return. It was silent.

Walker didn’t even glance at it. He kept looking out across the lake. Across the sky. Occasionally his hand dipped into a bag and drew forth breadcrumbs. Old ends and chewed crusts that he scattered across the dark pebbly soil with a careless gesture. Then he would pause. Look. Listen.

She lingered nearby. Leaning on the garbage pail with PUT LITTER IN ITS PLACE on the flap. Watching him watching everything else.

“Walker?”

He turned to face her.

“There are no birds,” she finally said.

He turned back to look across the lake, across the sky, into a vast and colorless emptiness.

“I know.”

6 comments:

Flutterby said...

For some reason I really like this piece but can't entirely explain why. There is something strange and wonderful about what sounds like a desolate place with a person always feeding birds that aren't there and a sign saying don't feed the birds (that aren't there). Such a fantastic set-up.

Cath Barton said...

I like this. You create a strong atmosphere.

Bruce Roush said...

Cool story about Walker's seeming existential crisis.

Dino Parenti said...

Not to sound morose, but those are some pretty death metaphors:)

Madeleine Sara said...

Quite surreal!

Sarah Laurenson said...

I love this one. Very moody. The setting is well done and doubles for the mood and the reality of their time. Is he hoping for birds or is he mechanically feeding out of habit? Good points to ponder. Would love to see this as a longer piece.