the magpie

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.


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