(Or My Life as a Bird)
By Oliver McDonald
Chapter 3 - Home Again.
As we turned into out drive, I smelled something. Taking a deep breath, I was able to name it. Roast Beef I thought, “I think supper’s ready, mom.”
She chuckled and sped up.
Supper was a success; good thing the others liked their veggies, though, as I ate most of the roast before my hunger was satisfied. Good thing we raised cattle too, come to think of it. We ate on the veranda, enjoying the cooler evening air.
Just as we were finishing supper, a large SUV screamed up the driveway, stopping with spray of gravel.
Two men spilled out as it slid to a stop, trained automatic weapons on us and yelling “Freeze!”
The yell was superfluous; the whole thing had us frozen in shock and disbelief.
As the dust settled, a huge black man got out and came towards us, the flack vest and weapons that hung off him seeming almost an afterthought. Following him was an acetic, dapper man wearing a black suit and tie, carrying a metal briefcase. When they got to us, the large man cleared a space on the table by the simple expedient of sweeping the tableware that occupied it to the floor.
“What the h—“dad started to yell, but was choked off when the intruder grabbed him by the throat and lifted him off his chair.
“Put him down, Charles,” the dapper man commanded.
After my father was replaced to his chair, choking still and rubbing his abused throat, the man continued. “Here is my identification. I am, as I am in no doubt that you now recognize, Mr Winchester of the State Exotic Animal Control Commission. It,” he said pointing to me, “is unregistered. This is your fine.” He placed a sheet of paper in front of my father. “This is the order to have it registered, this details your responsibility, and this is an order to have it collared,” he finished, adding more pieces of paper to the pile.
As our attention was riveted on Mr. Winchester, the large black man had walked around the table. No sooner than the last piece of paper was on the table, he grabbed me by the neck with his fingers on either side of my spine and lifted me bodily out of my chair. Startled, I started to spread my wings. At the motion, he leaned in and growled “Don’t.”
“Bring it here.” Mr Winchester commanded as he pulled a thick metal band from the briefcase.
Dad started to surge from his chair as I was carried around the table, “Don’t!” Mr. Winchester commanded my father sagged back into his chair at his command.
He snapped the band around my neck, which started a red light blinking under my chin, and then fastidiously wiped his hands on a moist towelette before dropping another piece of paper on the pile in front of dad. “Register it within twenty four hours, or it will die. Follow this route, or it will die. Control it, or it will die.”
“Come, Charles,” he ordered, after delivering these lines in cold, distasteful tone, and strode to the SUV.
To be continued….
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