I was sitting at my desk tapping on my laptop keyboard. It was a sunny afternoon and there was a light breeze. I thought: ‘how nice to be working on the boat’. Then I heard some pitter-pattering and a dull clack from outside. I carried on working. ‘It’s probably just a friendly badger or somesuch out on a stroll’. The wooden wind chimes jauntily jangling. ‘Ah! boat life’ I sighed.
Some time later out of the corner of my eye I spied light movement to the right of the boat (port side actually- but I was facing back to front). Very quickly I registered a black and white pattern, something new to the pontoon.
It was then that a strange sensation came over me. A slow realisation. Back-tracking I remembered the clacking sound and an earlier memory of a rat-trap assembly on the side of the boat. Peanut butter bait. And then I risked a quick peek back to the unknown pattern that had caught my eye.
Yikes. A gruesome dawning. A badger- a skunk- something colourful, big, lumpy. Not a rat. No no no. Definitely not a rat.
I crept silently along the inside wall of the boat, a chance peek here and there. A long thin feather. Shiney royal blue striped white. Feathers. A tropical bird! GOOD LORD NO!
And there it was: the magpie. Face down in the peanut butter, broken neck, wings akimbo.
I couldn’t leave the boat, what if it was still alive? How would I rescue such a creature? Could I resuscitate on such a small form?
So I waited til Pat came home. Stupid greedy magpie.