Waiter, there’s a crow in my garden

Few things that can instantly stir my existence:

Opening a can of beer; when the sun is on my forehead and my throat is parched. I love how the cold aluminum feels against my grateful palm. I love the ppft sound when the crown bursts. I love watching carbonated foam percolate all over rim, releasing the heavenly scent of fermented barley

Or lighting a girl’s cigarette. Have you ever? When you’re standing next to her at a party and she takes out a cig and places it precariously between her lips. The next few seconds can seriously tip the scales, gents.

Because if you let her light the cigarette then you’re an uncultured swine and should never be let out of the house. But if you light it for her she just might let you play with her breasts.

So you lift the light to her face. The flame illuminates her soft features, and she takes a good long drag before blowing smoke in your direction. And you’re all smug now because you’ve single-handedly tossed her into a much-needed nicotine buzz. And you think: “She’ll surely kiss me now.”

You probably haven’t watched the movie, 5 to 7. It’s the story of a young unpublished writer who does nothing all day but read and write. Hmm, I wonder who he reminds me of.

So one day this fellow takes a walk, hoping to find some inspiration. And then he sees –across the street- a tall woman smoking a cigarette. He walks up to her and says something or the other, to which she replies: “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t smoke.”

She has a heavy French accent. Black dress. And her smile is simply to die for.

There’s another scene after that, where he lights her cigarette. We soon learn that she’s 33 years old, married, with two kids. He’s 25. A bachelor. His apartment is brimming with rejection letters. He’s ambitious. She’s French.

What happens next –if it’s not already obvious- is that they end up in bed. Multiple times, actually. But there’s a clause to this arrangement. They can only meet between the hours of 5pm and 7pm.

“Those are very specific hours,” the man says.

I’m not sure two hours would be enough with a woman like her. But it’s a really slow movie and I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d however like to point out that the young chap wouldn’t have got into her panties if he hadn’t thought of lighting her cigarette.

The other thing that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside: A small boy at the back of a bodaboda. You’ve probably seen one, too. In his school uniform, his bony legs sticking out of his shorts, his tiny hands gripping the rider’s jacket, and the helmet bobbing on his head like a spring. He keeps craning his neck sideways, trying to see the road ahead, which makes the head-bobbing even more hilarious.

Forget kittens and doe-eyed puppies. A little boy on a boda remains to be one the cutest things I ever saw.

And then there are things that make me want to eat my shoes. Like going to the chicken house one morning, only to find your favorite bird lying flat on the ground, dead as a dodo.

A few months ago I mentioned I’m keeping chicken. I told you how I had about 40 chicks, and that I even named some of them. They’ve been growing at an alarming rate, but they’ve also been dying quite a lot.

They get sick. They start to lose their appetite. They don’t get excited when you pour food on the bowl. Then they become slow and weak-footed. Sometimes they’ll make some truly disturbing noises. Noises you wouldn’t expect from a chicken. It’s like a cough and a sneeze, balled together in the throat of a toddler. And after that it’s only a matter of time before the bugger topples over and dies.

There was Daisy, and Falcon, and Sheldon. The latter was old enough to lay eggs. But then we started to notice changes in her. She became moody. So we quickly knifed her and ate her with some Ugali.

I found Daisy close to the door. Her eyes were closed. She looked like she was only taking a nap. The rest of the birds were keeping a wide berth around her. I didn’t even cry as I threw the carcass away. And Falcon – by far my favorite- died before he was old enough to have a cigarette.

Now only three chickens remain. Imagine! Three bloody hens.

One has white stripes. Another is black as night. The other one has fiery-colored feathers at the back. They don’t have names. The only time they sit close together is in the evening, when they perch atop a plank of wood and go to sleep.

Now they’re big enough to go over a low fence. They’re old enough to roam the compound with no supervision. They playfully flap their wings and jump a few feet in the air. They go round to the garden, where they peck at unsuspecting worms and various little insects. And after sunset they troop back into the house, looking forward to another day in the garden.

They grow up so fast, these hens. Just the other day they were so small I couldn’t tell their gender.

I still can’t. But, soon, I’m afraid, they won’t need me anymore. They won’t have to wait until I haul myself from bed to pour food on their bowls. They’ll just march to the sack of grain and peck until they make a small opening. Else they’ll simply fly over the fence and go hunting for worms.

And that brings me on to the other thing that would make me extremely happy:

A slingshot. I need a slingshot. A Y-shaped one, with smooth wooden handles and a nice leather pouch for the ammo. A slingshot would allow me to exact revenge on crows, particularly the ones that land on the garden every morning.

They swoop in at around 7am, and then they caw so loudly you start to wonder about the price of a pair of noise-cancelling earphones.

Crows are despicable. You can’t eat in peace when they’re around. They snatch your chapo-smokie, and they eat all the worms meant for your chicken.

In the past, when a chicken died, I’d just chuck the carcass into a bush. And when I stepped out again I’d usually find a crow helping itself to the remains. It was a gory scene, and it made me very sad. The chicken would be torn to pieces. Its innards would be out in the open, and its loose feathers would be dancing in the wind. Sometimes the crow would fly off with a piece between its talons, and I’d always dream of shooting one down.

So yes. A slingshot would liven up my life on a cellular level.

At present the crows are making it impossible for me to sleep. Their cawing spoils the morning tranquil. And they’re not sparing any worms in the garden. Not once do they stop and think: “Maybe I should leave some for the chicken.” The bird society doesn’t take to manners. And it’s not like I can erect a sign that says “MIND YOUR PORTIONS”.

Therefore they need some kind of punishment. And a slingshot would be the perfect way to go.

Because think: Every morning I’d sit by the garden and wait for the crows to come. And then I’d pick out a few stream-lined stones for ammo. I could even take a cup of coffee with me while I wait. Then if a crow is stupid enough to show its ugly feathers it will be struck down with what will be -for all intents and purposes- a heat-seeking missile.

That way, the chicken will have enough worms to go around. I will have avenged my chapo-smokie, and the morning serenity will be restored. Bish bash bosh.


Photo credits: Getty Images




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