The Birdcatcher Wore Pink Shoes
My wife and I enjoy going on roadtrips together on the weekends. It is a chance to get away and relax. Sometimes, we do not plan where we are going, we just pick a road and go.
This time, we decided to take us on a road that led us to a beach. We gathered our things and climbed into our sports car, letting the top down, and headed that way.
The wind blew her brown hair and the sun reflected off her tan skin. As for me, the sun reflected even more in my pale skin and shorter, darker brown hair.
After driving down this road for about half an hour, we noticed that we were seeing more and more birds in the sky. These were ones I had never seen before. They looked like white toucans with shorter, brighter beaks. The more we drove down the road, the more flocks we saw.
The top of the car came back up when the first dropping hit the windshield.
We came to a small town and decided to get gas and a drink for the rest of the way.
As we drove deeper into the town, we realized that this town had been completely taken over by these white toucans. They were on every sign, post, tree, and building. The citizens were walking around with umbrellas, most covered in bird droppings.
My wife and I maneuvered into the store, avoiding birds as best we could, got our things, filled our tank, and prepared to leave.
However, a curious thing happened. An old Volkswagen van pulled up and out stepped a woman dressed in a khaki cargo shorts, a green t-shirt, wearing a safari hat. She looked to be in her mid-forties, blonde, violet eyed, well-built, very tall, and broad shouldered.
My wife pointed to her feet and I saw them too. A pair of very bright pink running shoes.
A little girl about twelve came from the passenger side and handed the woman a flute. The little girl was the perfect smaller image of the woman and we assumed it was her daughter.
The little girl opened the back of the van, revealing it had been turned into a bird cage of some sorts. The girl then spread some seeds into the cage.
The woman began to play a sweet slow tune that I could not recognize, but it was indeed beautiful. At once, a small flock of the birds flew toward the van and then gathered into the back devouring the seeds. The woman quickly closed the back.
Birds started to approached the van and she nodded in approval.
Curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, “Excuse me. I’m sorry to bother you, but I’m just a little curious. What are you doing?”
She smiled and explained, “These birds are beach birds that follow each other like cattle. If the wind blows one off, they all go off, and that’s what happened here.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
The Birdcatcher shrugged. “I’m just a person who believes that these birds need to be in their own natural habitat or they will be trapped here with nowhere to go. I’m bringing the few in my van and the rest will follow me all the way to the beach. There they can be set free.”
“And the flute?” My wife’s turn for a question.
“It’s tuned to their call for a gathering. I’ll play it from my stereo as I drive, and they’ll follow the sound and the chirping of the birds in the van. Come with me and I’ll show you.”
Her daughter smiled and nodded as if to encourage us. We all got in our cars and my and I followed them down the winding road.
We came to the beach and watched as this birdcatcher got out of the van. She took off her bright pink running shoes and hung them over a fence. Her daughter brought her a flute and she began playing as she opened the back of the van.
The skies filled with white toucans flying into the horizon, led by the ones that had come out of the van.
My wife and I had wanted to come to the beach and here we were, but this sight, this sight made it even more incredible.
The Birdcatcher looked at us and smiled as she said, “That’s why I do what I do. So these magnificent creatures can be free.”
This is an original flash fiction short story written by me. ©Jacob Airey 2016