Mad Ralphie was…well…mad. All the other birds at Feathers, the East Hell Sanctuary, had made snide comments, not-finding-the-worm gestures, and unending fun of him when 23 and Me had announced the results of his DNA testing.
Ralphie Robin was 2.5% dodo, an extinct species known for their erratic flight and coarse laughter. He was 88% robin, with a smattering of nightjar and cuckoo.
Just because Ralphie was a bit more literate and a bit of a loner was no reason for the bullying and ridicule. He was rapidly tiring of the “Dorkdo” nickname and stewed over it in his nest most nights, wondering what he had done wrong in his short life.
He had known Jonny L, the semi-famous seagull, even though they never really hung out together. He wished now he had gotten to know Jonny better.
Too bad about Jonny L. Seagull.
There was a kid in the neighborhood with a BB gun, Jonny had been warned, but he simply wouldn’t listen. He insisted on hanging around those crazy humans, begging for scraps.
Ralphie witnessed Jonny’s murder from the alder tree in the schoolyard, then swooped down and pecked the kid’s left eye, frightening the boy and his parents and forcing Mad Ralphie Robin to lay low for a few days.
The neighborhood anti-robin folks pointed at the boy’s eye patch then, and said “We told you!” inadvertently giving the neighborhood’s squawky parrots a reprieve.
Mad Ralphie was intent on avenging Jonny’s death. Jonny Seagull had no close relatives Ralphie knew of. The writer who had given Jonny temporary fame, Dick Bach, was in a convalescent home for reluctant messiahs. No help there.
Anyway, it was late summer, time for Ralphie to leave for his winter vacation.
Upon returning in the early spring, Mad Ralphie found out thru the birdvine that the kid whose eye he had pecked was named Ralphie. Ralphie Parker.
Ironically, while Mad Ralphie Robin was wintering in Coral Gables, Ralphie Parker, while playing with the BB gun he had gotten the previous Christmas and despite the warnings from his mother still fresh in his ears, shot his eye out.
Mad Ralphie wasn’t so mad then. He thought about Karma and retribution and justice and why those damn crows thought they were so smart.
On impulse, one Saturday morning he flew onto the Parker family’s back porch where Ralphie Parker sat on a wicker chair, wearing his eyepatch and playing Angry Birds on his iPhone.
Ralphie Robin talked to him then.
“Tweet..tweettweettweet…tweetelytweet,” he told Ralphie Parker.
Everyone who speaks bird knows this translates to “Sorry about the accident dude, but you had it coming. See you around.”
Ralphie Parker didn’t look up. He was at level 5 in the Angry Birds Space Wormhole saga, and couldn’t tear his eye away.
Ed Coonce is an Encinitas, California writer, artist, and actor. He is the Creative Director for Theatre Arts West and a board member of the Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation. He hosts East Hell Writers, a weekly meetup group of writers, poets, and musicians at his home.writes from an undisclosed location in East Hell, California. As you might expect, he is also frequent contributor to DM.