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Monday, May 14, 2018

Microstory 841: Subtweets

Birds. They have language. Most people think that animals aren’t really saying much when they make their noises, and for the most part, they’re right. Birds, on the other hand, are the second most intelligent species on the planet. Since Douglas Adams already took the joke about humans not being the first, I’ll just go ahead and confess that we actually are. It’s important to note that birds are in a fairly distance second place to us, but it’s possible to learn their words, and communicate with them. My mother, for instance,  is fully fluent in no less than twenty-seven avian dialects, of which she has attempted to teach me maybe half. As a normal child, with plans to only interact with other humans, I never paid attention to her lessons. There without the grace of God goes my brother, who listened intently, and now knows more bird dialects than mom, as well as squirrel sign language. Despite my reluctance to communicate with our feathered friends, I ended up learning more than I realized. Earlier this morning, I was walking through the woods, as I do, when I heard some chirping. I thought little of it, because that’s where those things live, so it wasn’t weird yet. I wasn’t even trying to translate what they were saying, because who cares? I admit that the songs they were singing drew me in, and I felt warm inside. It almost seemed like they were directed towards me, a possibility only reinforced by the fact that the songs never wavered, no matter how far I walked. Though it was hard to make them out through the branches, I started thinking they were following me around, like maybe they knew I was related to a birdspeaker. I decided that whatever they know, or think they know about me, I needed to find out what they were saying, just in case. I closed my eyes and harkened back to my school days, concentrating on remembering everything my mother tried to teach me. I was surprised to learn how much I had retained from that period in my life, and soon I didn’t have to try to so hard to interpret them. They were saying horrible, nasty things to me. I can’t even repeat them here, they were so bad. The closer I focused, the more I understood how angry they were with me, for no apparent reason. They were actually threatening my life if I didn’t get out of their territory right quick. Is this what birds are saying when we’re around? I thought they just talked about how pretty each other’s ultraviolet wing designs were, and reminded each other that they were related, so they wouldn’t accidentally mate. But if this is the truth, why did my mom not warn me about it? And if she did, why did she not make sure my mind was wandering. Anyway, long story short, I didn’t run out of their fast enough, so you tell me, Doctor; can Baltimore orioles carry rabies?

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