A Scrape

You can see my fag ends all over the car park. White tipped. Menthol. Little, dead things. Sort of cute, in a twisted sense.

The winds blow in off the Bristol channel but there is not much else in the way of action.

Apart, perhaps, for one of my little menthol fag ends blowing around the car park.

A swift darts through the air right in front of me. I watch it change direction in a heartbeat, mildly annoyed at its talents. It makes another pass. It gains in confidence and fly’s closer. I find myself smiling. And I’m annoyed that I’m smiling. It zips towards me in diagonal aerobatics and stops, hovering in mid flight, close to my shoulder, to have a better look at me. I hold my breath.

Finally, and in a supreme act of defiance, it settles close to my feet. It seems to be studying me, or playing.

I keep still, but the bird doesn’t appear to be that bothered about me. More, that is has its own reasons for being there and can be out of there, if needs be, in a split second.

I try to imagine what is going on in its little skull. Does this tiny thing consider anything other than survival? Is it possible, for instance, for it to agonise over passing the time? Might it not, in fact, be flying out of fun but due to of a screaming fit of boredom? Is it, just say, aware of the torture of 13:28 on a Tuesday afternoon, wondering how to fill the rest of the day without submitting to the safety and comfort of drink? Perhaps its twisting and turning in the air is a response to the withdrawal from fermented berries, or the result of the intoxication from them. That would explain its cockiness.

No, it’s more likely that they regard me as a curiosity; a thing requiring investigation to eliminate the possibility of whether or not it’s food. Better that than the maddening meanderings of the self-aware; dulling life, or the knowledge of its certain end, with booze. No, better, much better, to fly. It’s the booze that clips away the wings like dry, dead branches from a once glorious rose-bush.

I scrape my brogues into the gravel to stop myself thinking of drink and the swift fly’s away.


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