It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so if you’ll pardon my posting two days in a row, I’m going to give it a go…
I was out walking in my neighborhood last night when I came upon a squawking baby starling sitting in some weeds. I looked around to see if there was a parent starling, and, upon not seeing one, I tried to pick the baby up so I could put him somewhere safer than his residence on the ground. (As a point of reference, I’ve taken home and cared for injured birds before…my sisters probably remember Jaffry, the crow I found on my paper route who had one eye completely pecked out by his friends…anyway…) However, Baby Starling did not want to be picked up. Though he could not fly, he could hop very fast, which he began to do right into the middle of New Jersey Street. I ran after Baby Starling, trying to sooth him with promises of how I would not hurt him, etc., but off he hopped, squawk-squawk-squawking all the way. Finally, I caught him, and held him still while I decided what to do.
Then I heard a voice – “What have you got there?” – and looked up to see two friendly black gentlemen coming out of the nearest apartment complex. I proceeded to explain where I’d found the bird and how I was now at a bit of a loss as to what I should do with Baby Starling. We discussed it for several minutes (and were interrupted by a rude woman walking her dog who insisted that we must let nature take its course. Nature, my a$$…). Then the real conversation began…and went something like this:
Man: [looking at my sweatshirt] Are you going to Anderson?
MK: I graduated from there…
Man: No way! I went to ISU [Indiana State]!!!
Man: [looking back at bird] Well, what are we going to do with it? I s’pose I could take it inside… [then talking to his friend] look at that – look how compassionate she is. You know my woman would never do that. She’d say “Let’s eat it!” That’s why I’m not with her no more. [Then to me]Can I ask you something?
MK: Uh, sure.
Man: Are you married? Single?
MK: No. And no. [fictional John Cusack boyfriend pops back into brain]
…time passes as we talk more about Baby Starling…
Man: I just moved in here [gesturing toward complex]. And I gotta say, I mean, I love “them,” but there’s a lota, you know, “Hiya Honey”-type people around here [imitates gay male with hip gyrations]. Do you live around here?
MK: Um, yeah, in the neighborhood.
Man: Can I ask you a question? Have you ever dated a brother? I mean, you know, an african american?
MK: Oh yeah, sure. [I don’t like to count Josh White, but in this case, I think I will…]
Man: So, I know you’re not single, but can we be friends? I mean, you know, not like that, but just, you know, friends.
MK: [no, I don’t really know] Um, yeah, sure, OK.
Man: Do you have a phone with you?
MK: [lying] Aw, no.
Man: Can I give you my number? [as he looks at my purse]
MK: [telling the truth] Aw man, I don’t have a pen.
Man: Well, OK… but can I tell you something? I’m sure you’re never gonna want to call now, but… I’m a male dancer. And I’m VERY GOOD at what I do.
MK: [blushing profusely] I’m sure you are.
…meanwhile, I put Baby Starling, who has stopped squawking and is now listening intently to our conversation, up in the branch of a nearby tree…
Man: But I’m also thinking about going back to school and getting a Master’s in either Psychology or Religious Studies… [pauses] Probably Religious Studies, ’cause you know I’m really deep into the Bible.
MK: That’s great. Well… I really should…
Other Man: Yeah, of all the people I know, my brother here ain’t never been into nothing illegal.
MK: Yeah, great, cool…
Man: Yeah, I’m sure I’ll see you around. But man, I wish I was that bird, ’cause I’d just be like “tweet, tweet!” and kiss all up on you, ’cause you are fine!!!
MK: Um, thanks [?!? walks away… did that just happen…fa real???]