“CROWS FEET! Look at them!” I ignored the loaded sentence that held only wrong answers. She knew damn well she looked fine.
I was standing in the patio, observing actual crows in the garden. The smartest birds on the planet, all death black feathers offset by the gun metal beak. What was the collective name again? A murder of crows? Pretty cool by all accounts. The murder were hopping around on the grass, pecking each other, stopping sporadically to cock their heads, observing all around them in stop motion.
I heard what sounded like a pebble hitting the paving stones outside. I peered out, my face pressed against the glass. There were dozens of shattered snails on the paving, and two crows were pecking at the soft insides, shaking off the shells. How clever!
My wife came through, still trying to attach one of her earrings. Peeling away from the window, I tried to avoid saying it but couldn’t, noticing her crows feet were much more prominent. “You look great!”
“You’re just saying that..”
Five minutes of reassurance later she raised the issue of the windscreen. “Get it fixed! It’s not safe to drive.” With a peck on the cheek, she left to meet a friend.
I was reluctant to pay two hundred pounds for a small crack. I turned to look at the crows, momentarily angry. One of them had hit my windscreen on the drive home, rolling off on to the side of the road, flapping, as I’d watched in the wing mirror.
Eager for fresh air, I unlocked the frosted patio door and sat on the steps, enjoying the calm, as sparrows and finches fluttered in the hedges, while the murder loitered, staring at me.
From behind the shed, a crow with a broken wing hopped awkwardly, reaching the middle of the garden, then continuing, hopped straight towards me. How strange! It kept coming. On the approach I could see its beak was broken in the middle, barely hanging on. It stopped two feet away and looked me straight in the eye.
What happened? I’d blacked out. Still on the patio steps, I felt an agonising pain. My face felt as if it had been hit by a truck, and I couldn’t move my right arm. Barely able to open my eyes I squinted, and put my good hand up to feel my face. Blood was pouring out of my nose and mouth. I could taste it, as my tongue found a new gap in my teeth. I clutched my arm, grimmacing at the shooting pains.
On the lawn before me, the crow was dead. How clever.