All About Birds

Ronnie Castle spent most of his time in his backyard, at the hilltop garden of a steep incline, crouched in the soil beds, somehow unhappy in his retirement, and constantly worried about his tomatoes. With hands filthy in the earth, and at times bloody—before ever listening to his wife Eva and putting on the gloves she bought for him down at the Woolworths—he began to construct a cage.

The appliance was positioned over his work as an act of prevention. Proud as he was of his tomatoes and his new contraption, the grackle, the starling, the crow—“those goddamn sparrows”—were still finding a way, in their own struggle to survive, to invoke tiger claws, and they began to pierce the enmeshment and get up on those ripe red orbs solicited _just so_ on the vine.

While this process was neither practical, nor effective, Ronnie continued to pretend this had not become a thoroughfare for his enemies. If only he would have read the entire post Eva sent to him from clickbait site Tomatodirt.com, the following bullet point might have proved invaluable: “Some gardeners, as an alternative to bird draping, pick their tomatoes just as they begin to show the first blush of color. They let them finish ripening inside on the kitchen counter–which keeps them away from birds.”

Well, Ronnie would’ve called bullshit on this anyway.

Below, Eva was in the window of the dining room, swinging her fists in circles, banging against the glass, screaming, screaming at him—“Murder! You Murderer!”

Ronnie has long-developed a tuning out. “Doesn’t she know they’ve had this coming?” he thought. “Death comes to all things.” The connected hose at the house ran up the length of the hill to reach into the garden. Eva, like a trapped bird, remained behind the glass, restrained by an invisible force, likely aware Ronnie could redirect his frustration…

A few remaining blackbirds were still in the cage. Ronnie’s face turned blazing-red-dwarf. He bunched the torn net in his left fist and, pressing down with his knees, Ronnie caved his creation in upon them, and turned on the hose.

“Thank you,” said the bots at the bottom of the post who also invaded the entire site.

“This is exactly what I was looking for. Informative content that impresses me greatly.”

“I will share this with my friends who will be amazed. Thank heavens I discovered this on Bing!”

“I love to read about birds and this is all about birds.”

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