The Scope

“God damn birds are all over the God damn tree again,” Joe remarked and raised the rifle scope to his eye. He took his time aiming and then fired. The crows flew away.

“You missed,” said Bob.

“If I shoot enough of them, they will stop coming back.”

“That’s what they say,” said Bob, taking a swig of beer.

“God damn birds destroying my apples. You know my granddaddy planted this tree here? With his very own hands.”

“I know, Joe. You done told me.”

“Now the God damn bank is going to take my land.”

“Now, Joe, you don’t know that. You still have time to make the payment. Maybe things will turn around.”

They were both quiet for a while, watching the black birds fly in circles.

“What am I gonna do when they take it all away? Find a job in town?”

“Y’all can stay with us,” said Bob.

The birds settled on the tree. Joe aimed again and shot. They flew away except for one which fell straight down like a black projectile.

“Don’t worry about it, Bob. I can provide for my own family.” Joe ended the conversation, he got up and headed back into the house.

One black-feathered bird was lying in the grass, desperately fighting for air, hoping that it could still survive. Millions of antibodies began flowing into the wounded area. Millions of cells were trying to multiply to patch up the breach, not knowing they would soon run out of nutrients and oxygen as a huge fleshy pump far far away was counting down to its last beat.

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