The blue bird outside blew blues, whistling what it heard on the radio. The music came from the window of a harp player, Donny, who was a thin man in a tight fitting black leather pants with a tuft of beard cut small and artfully precise. Early in the mornings he practiced his harp, blowing blues to recordings of jazz bands and sweating around his living room by the open window.
It was mid August and the birds were out, and in numbers. Sometimes they screamed in territorial agony at the man’s harp playing. The man of course did not imagine he was the source of the bird’s frustrations. “Birds will be birds,” he muttered, each time a redbird or bluejay slammed into his window screen, cawing and beating it’s wings before shitting on his windowsill and flying off. “Birds will be birds.”
It was on the third Tuesday of the month of August, that full bodied man, dressed in a pigeon suit flew into Donny’s screen door, smashing through the glass of the open window and landing, bloody and screaming on Donny’s living room floor.
“Fucking heck!” The man shouted, “What a bird!”
Taking pity on the bird man, Donny found an old cardboard box that had come with his washing machine and filled it with kitty litter and put the bird man into the box to pant and bleed.
“What a mess,” said Donny. He blew a sad prolonged note on his harmonica. The mop was nowhere to be found. Downstairs, Donny knocked on his neighbor’s door. Eyes peered through the crack appeared in the doorway and gave Donny a nine million mile stare. “What do you want?” “A mop?” Steam rose from the pupils. “You slop.” “It was a bird man.” “The same bird man that it always is? Is he with you?” “No this one is different. It’s got a man’s face.” “I don’t believe you but you need a mop or you wouldn’t be here.” The woman shut the door crack and came back minutes later with a tall full handled mop carved out of the trunk of a young elm tree, with long heavy knotted ropes along the bottom attached by an iron band.
“Thank you,” said Donny. “It is a powerful mop.” “I’ve a powerful mess.” “Yes you do.”
On the way up the stairs, Donny threw himself to the floor. “This is too much,” he muttered. “There’s a man dressed like a bird in my room, fat and leaking blood in a box I filled with kitty litter. It’s too much.” Donny lay prone. Softly he got up and walked the rest of the stairs to his room. He opened the door to find the bird man watching television and bleeding on his couch.
“That’s not where I left you.” “Fuck off. I moved. What are you going to do about it?” “Get back in the box.” “Mop up the mess I left you.” Donny looked at his hardwood floor. Beside the blood, the bird man had taken a large grey pool of shit on his hardwood. “I …” Donny grew concerned about the stains.
The bird man flipped through channels. “This is garbage. Do you believe in humanity and the world of today?” “It’s progress.” “It’s moral decay. The ant people should wipe you out. ” “What?” “The ant people.” “Are they people dressed in ant suits?” “Don’t play fucking with me.” “What?”
The bird man rose off the couch and spread his arms and slapped Donny on both sides of the head. “What the hell?” “You do not speak to me like that. I am not a person in a bird suit.” “You are!” The bird man slapped Donny again. “You are my rightful property. I have invaded your home. I have taken your wealth. I will desecrate your face until you are unrecognizable to your own mother. Do you understand?”
Donny ran to the door. The bird man followed. Donny still held the mop and held it out between the bird man and himself. “Take this!” Donny thrusted. The bird man caught the mop in his meaty flesh colored hand and punched Donny in the gut.