prompt: bird, title: the harper lee blues in misc. flash fiction

  • July 19, 2023, 7:59 p.m.
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  • Public

To say I’m not a morning person is an understatement, understatement so profound as to border on absurdity. Saying I am not an early morning person would be like saying Tom Cruise is only overcompensating a little bit for being so short that he has to poop in thimbles. I was born at the latest of night and to this day, it’s when I do my best work and I do not just mean that as sexual innuendo, though of course it’s great as an innuendo as well. I’ve always enjoyed that innuendo is itself an innuendo, “in you end-o”, but I’ve gone off-point.

I do my best thinking at two in the morning, when I was born, when there’s no one else awake to distract me from my petty philosophizing. No harsh sun to draw my eyes into a migraine hell, no noise beyond the beatific hum of an air conditioner. I’m extroverted in practice, but I’m not one to form new thoughts in a crowd, I just react. I’ll quip, I’ll rant, I’ll riff but I don’t actually think. Meaningfully novel thoughts tend to come to me alone, in as close to a darkened ice cave as my meager resources allow.

I managed to finagle a day job where I rarely clock-in before noon, which is a blessing, but I still occasionally must rise with you responsible sapiens. Helping gramma to appointments, bringing in the car for maintenance, whatever. I’ve discovered there’s a six in the morning now and I’ve learned to curse whoever the bastards are that invented it. The light is maddening, of course, that scornful pale-blue reminding me I’m supposed to be opening my eyes when that shouldn’t be for at least two more R.E.M. cycles. But it’s the noise that really gets me. The torturous cacophony of all those goddamned birds.

I presume that they are mockingbirds, because they’re certainly mocking me, mocking that my personal rhythms don’t sync up with the people who go to gyms and smile while they’re there. Apologies to Scout Finch but if they are indeed mockingbirds, I do want to kill them all. Every chirp, every tweet, another dagger in my heart, another inadequacy exposed, another grievance against my engrained lay-about artist nature.

Rationally, of course, I know they aren’t mocking me. The whoots and toots and chip-chips are all actually just mating calls, all those birds are just trying to get laid. That’s just a lo-fi version of Tinder or Bumble. Every mind-numbing screech, each piercing howl, just grating pop-up ads on God’s computer. “HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA!” they twit. “LOCAL MILF LONELY AND WAITING!” they pip. “FRIENDS AND MAYBE MORE!” they mash out of an oak tree.

I’m not a morning person and I blame the goddamn horny birds. “WHERE DO YOU WANT TO PUT IT?” one bellows. “IN-YOU-END-O, IN-YOU-END-O!” the other howls. I don’t think it’d be a sin to kill these particular birds. At worst, a mercy killing. A mercy for me, specifically.

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