Murray the Crow


Connor McGinnis

Aesop, pff, some story teller. He's got all these crows wrong, or all the sheilas were just dumber back then. Here's this crow, the apparent bane of the animal kingdom, played for a fool by a fox. A fox? Ya've gotta do better than that Aesop. How cliché. Then again, the fox was quite unfair in the scenario he was, cheating over the crow lass in order to succeed. I meself have met many a fox. Indeed they're wily fellas, but I betcha if pitted against a crow, a normal fox wouldn't know what to think. Like most humans, Aesop probably just prefers mammals, the dirty buggers. Okay, here's a good one! I flip the page of the book to find a neat little drawing of a fine-looking crow with a pebble in its mouth, with a pile of pebbles beside it and a vase in front of it. Well, well, this one's a lass too! Well, sorry, I can't tell if she be a boy or girl just be the drawin', although I would prefer her to be a handsome boy crow, if ya know what I mean. We could've made us look much smarter lookin' as a whole. Apparently the good girl wants water out of this here vase, but can't get to it. What does she do folks? She throws a pebble in, then another, and then another, until the water darn near comes to her! If I had a hat I'd tip it to her for outsmarting her slower sisters in this book. It seems that the moment I look up from the pretty little picture I see that blasted little girl again, charging out of her house at me.

"Oy boird!" She shouts. Quite a mouth on the little tike considering that she can't be over the age of ten…or fifty…this whole bird years thing is messing up me mind I'm 'fraid to say. Anyway, back to the sheila. I quickly notice that she picks up a rock and throws it at me. "Get back from there!" Like only a crow can I flap me pretty wings and jump, dodging the bloody pebble. To make matters worse for the gal, that pebble keeps going and wrecks havoc on some dandy looking wine glasses sitting on the table behind me. I cackle at the sound of shattering glass, and even more so when I began to hear the lil' girl's mommy come stomping out, cursing up something fierce at her little baby. Move over Aesop, I love watching this family fall apart by me hand, err I mean…wing. I come back at least once a week, just to see what strand will be cut in that little country house. Sometimes I'll even bring a few friends to enjoy it. It's like TV for birds!

I don't stick around for much longer, as that sharp-tongued little mama quickly gives me a snap at with her crocodile jaws. No, not real croc jaws mate, I've met one before; nice, passive guy, took me out to lunch as a matter of fact. First time I've ever had a real carnivore's sampling at the zoo, boy do they have the life they do. Anyway where was I? Oh yeah, human mouths are more like…well I never have seen a pair of choppers like a human's. I land up on a telephone poll and look over me shoulder one more time as the ma sighs and hugs her lil' sweetheart, who by now is reduced to tears, the poor darlin'.

"Oy Murray!" Jackson the Squirrel cries out to me as he frantically crawls along the lone stretching cable toward me. Jackson's pretty distinct for a squirrel. Aye he's just as jittery and jumpy as the rest of the buggers, only this bloke's missing his tail he is. I think he lost in a bet once, just goes to show ya mate, don't gamble with Scottish wildcats, they'll give ya a good roughing up just for the fun of it.

"Where the bloody hell did your tail go?" I exclaim. Of course the furry little rascal is too fun-loving to take offense to that.

"Murray, Murray," He says to me. "I'm gettin' mighty sick of that story ya know, why aren't you?"

"It's the only way we'll get you to stop gambling mate." I reply. The bucktoothed rodent chatters to himself in the most unique form of laughter that me ears ever have heard.

"Funny that you bring that up you do." He says. "I heard Mrs. Harrison had her litter a few days ago, five boys as a matter of fact. The little guys be jumping all over the place already, to the point that the rabbits can't take it I heard. I be thinking there's gonna be a bet going on to see which of the Harrison boys lives to be the oldest. Ya know, avoids foxes and humans and whatnot." I ruffle me fine coat of feathers at the news.

"Blimey! Really? What's the bet's going for?"

"Fresh berries by the next season after the last one is declared, five per bet. Ya know those don't come easy." Jackson goes on. "But they're mighty tasty."

"Aye they are." I say. I meself was never much of a gambler, I'm what you might call a schemer or one of them thieves. I see something I want, I'll take it, or talk someone into getting the thing for me. I 'spose thieving's a form of gambling, but easy gambling for me, at least when you're a bloke who can fly. "Count me in mate. Just one bet though, I'm tryin' to watch me figure."

"Bollocks!" Jackson laughs at me. "Well I'll be on my way then, I'll send in your bet while I'm out."

"Thanks mate." I say.

"My pleasure. Hey, do you want to head on over to one of them human bars? The Lumber Yard? I hear there's a mighty fine casino under there for critters like you and me." The squirrel goes on.

"Can't hear ya mate!" I caw before taking to the sky once again. Boy gamblin's gonna be the death of him. I soar over the English countryside, taking it in for what it is, considering how little of it's left really. I wonder what'll happen to many of the animals here when the whole bloody place becomes some grimy city. Not many of the blokes I know have the luxury of flight, so will they go into the zoos like a few of my friends already are? I sadly doubt it, I've seen how mean some of them humans can be; once heard an ant's tale about how his whole colony was burned to death by a couple of boys will some looking glasses. Now there's a grizzly tale.

Suddenly I catch meself a familiar whiff, so plow down into the forest, cawing to let others know that I've arrived. My oh my is it serene down here, it's like a green world, a haven of sorts for the various animals living in it. I spot a pair of jokers and land on the branch beside them. It's Felix the Hawk and Preston the Owl. Felix is what you can call a macho kinda guy, he's into manly things he is, and with good reason; he could kill just about anything around if he wanted to. Meanwhile Preston's just Preston, he eats, sleeps, and repeats, but thankfully the bugger's willing to join us every once in awhile for a good romp.

"Morning fellas." I say. "What's the word?"

"We've got ourselves a writer, or a couple of 'em." Felix says to me. He points his sharp beak down toward the base of an old tree, where the pretty little thing sits writing in a notebook.

"Saw some of her chaps earlier," Preston adds. "But they left her, and she's been sitting there writing in that little book for…how long have we counted Felix?"

"Forty-three minutes in eight seconds." The hawk retorts. "Come on now, you're an owl, you should know this sorta stuff. Get ya head in the game Pres."

"You're just doing a fine job you are, that's all." The owl replies. "I've never been one to steal thunder from ya."

"Have you done anything with the lass?" I ask. The two birds look to me; their fierce stares no longer pierce me coat like they did when I first started hanging out with them.

"No. You want to?" Felix asks.

"Doesn't bother me any. I couldn't help but notice those pretty little darlings dangling from her ears." I say and look back down at the girl. I'll admit it, I have a soft spot in me heart for shiny things, and me home's full of them. I'm one of those collectors ya see.

"Go take 'em Murray," Preston says. "You have a bare spot on your wall that could use them."

"Oy, we're talking about humans here." Felix snaps. "Not a bloody rat too weak to put up a fight. If that gal sees you, and sees what you want from her, she'll call all her pals back, I promise you that. And then what do we have? One less amigo in the three amigos."

"That makes two." Preston adds.

"Thank you." The hawk growls with a roll of his eyes. He turns to the owl and narrows his eyes. Here they go again, I realize. "You know for an owl, you ain't all that you're cracked up to be."

"Oh, are you categorizing owls now?" Preston rejoins. "Are we all supposed to be smart?"

"Well ya oughta be!" Felix caws. With a flap of me wings I make me way toward the ground, landing with a thump in a cover of leaves. Meanwhile, I can still hear me blokes arguing, making me curious as to how the lass hasn't heard us. As I look around and about the forest, making sure that other humans aren't nearby, I listen slightly to the others once again.

"So you're a racist?" Preston asks.

"A what?" The hawk retorts.

"Ah ha!" The owl laughs. "There's a term you've never heard of roight?"

"I don't know what the bloody hell a racist is, but I ain't one!" I begin to hop toward the lovely little gal and toss me bloke's argument to the back of me mind. She's kind of older for a lass, I'd say fourteen, fifteen maybe, just old enough to know about the world around her. I hop along the ground until I come to the gal's dress, a plaid red and black one, and wait. The sheila doesn't even acknowledge me, being too busy with her bloody pen and paper. So, like the gentleman I am, I tug on the lass's dress with me beak. Sure enough it grabs the gal's attention, and she looks down at me with a pair of striking green eyes she does. I hadn't noticed the golden hair that rolled down her shoulders and over a bit of her red sweater. If that wasn't attached to her head I might consider takin' that too.

"Well 'allo." I say. The girl doesn't even say hallo, the bugger, before she looks around the forest. Did I not catch her attention? Slowly she looks back to me.

"Did…did you talk?" She asked in one of those intelligent accents.

"Aye I did ma'am." I reply. "And I came to ask a favor of ya." The golden-haired gal clasped her notebook closely to her being, almost like she was protecting it from me. Pff, I've got bigger problems than words I do, as I leap up and land on the lass's knee, coming up eye-to-eye with her.

"And that might be…?" She asked warily of me. I cock me head, quickly piecing together one of me finer lies that I ever have delivered. I open me beak, and the words just come.

"Well Lass, ya see, I'm helping a detective named Brannigan solve a crime I am. Only problem is, the place he needs to go to in order to find some bloke has sprung a leak, and he can't find any evidence in a room that never stops raining, it's practically ruined. So, I came looking for a fine gal like yourself who might sport something shiny, something that might clog said leak."

"Well I have some putty at home, I hear that stops leaks." The girl says to me. Putty? What am I? Billy Mayes?

"Sorry Lass, I don't think putty's gonna help me friend. But those ear pieces, they look mighty fine for jamming a leak."

"Don't listen to him." An unfamiliar voice calls from behind the tree. Slowly the distinct orange coat of a dirty fox becomes apparent. Compared to the greens and browns surrounding us, the bloke's fine and dandy orange coat just stands out. Oh, and that dirty grin on his ugly lookin' snout. How I despise it. "This bugger's just trying to rob ya." I blink. What gives this sonuva biscuit the right to bust me bubble. It's not hardly a true battle of wits at all it ain't!

"Bloody fox, get outta here!" I snap as I hop toward the scrawny fiend. As the two of us stare down one another, the gal gets up and walks swiftly away. How rude right? I watch her leave and look back to the fox. This is simply me being honest here mates, I would never get up and leave me guests in the middle of somethin'. Is there no honor no more? "You bastard, you made her leave!" The fox laughs at me.

"It's me job." He gives me a wily grin, like only a wily fox can. "Busting chops one critter at a time. See ya 'round Crow." And as quickly as the bloke appeared, he took off. Oh how I despise foxes I do, even more now. The cocky creeps, I hope huntin' season never ends on 'em. Besides, that was an unfair display of wit. Why, it wasn't a display of wit at all it wasn't. Bustin' me balls is all he did.

Fuckin' foxes…