By Jenny Helgren
Unexpected duos always have the most fun.
I often visit the lady in the blue house. She loves birds almost as much as I do. They flock to her trees and bird feeders. This morning, I ate three redpolls and a chickadee and washed them down with water from the bird bath. She's so thoughtful, my friend. And funny. She buries the leftover bones and feathers and says words that aren't allowed in my house.
The first time I met her, I'd just finished eating a baby finch. She rushed out the front door in her bathrobe, shouting and waving her arms. How did she know I love to play chase? The next day, she filled cans with dried peas, ran outside and chucked them at me, like dodgeball. Even more fun. I like to stand still for a few seconds before I take off. It gives her a better chance.
Sometimes we play hide-and-seek. One morning, I sat in the tree outside her bedroom window. As soon as she opened the curtains, there I was, ready to wish her good morning! She was so happy to see me, she screamed and raced outside with a broom. I'd never played chase with a broom before.
Yesterday, a man in a uniform set up a wire cage under the elm tree. My friend filled it with dishes of sardines and gourmet cat food. My very own picnic. It was kind of her to go to all that trouble, but I prefer the taste of tiny birds. I sat quietly in an elderberry bush and caught a nuthatch and a goldfinch. Sometime during the night, a skunk wandered into the cage. The door must have been broken. It slammed shut and he couldn't get out. He licked the dishes clean, but he was very angry. My friend was angry too. That picnic was supposed to be for me.
The lady in the blue house is so much fun. Next time she leaves her front door open, I’ll slip inside and surprise her with one of my games.
Jenny Helgren is a graduate of McGill University. She has taught in Quebec, British Columbia, Nunavut, and Alberta. She lives in Nanaimo and is working on a degree in Creative Writing at Vancouver Island University. She has contributed pieces to That High Lonesome Sound, Beyond Bad Times: An Anthology of North American Poetry, Portal 2020, and The Prairie Journal.