It was slightly gloomy for a desert summer day. I was returning from my morning shopping and was carrying the bags of apples and oranges I had bought.
When I approached the deck stairs I could see this guy, this roadrunner, on the railing. He seemed a rather presumptuous bird. I hadn’t seen him before but there he was, sitting on the deck railing looking all puffed and proud as if he owned the place.
He watched me ascend as if I were the intruder, then without so much as an introduction, he began to tell me all about his adventures from the previous afternoon. I guessed he was a bit lonely from the way he spoke, as if we were friends. I expected him to fly off when I reached the front door, since we were only a couple of feet apart, but he stayed put.
I’m afraid I may have been a bit rude to the poor little guy. I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before and kept tossing and turning thinking something horrible was going to happen once I got up and started my day. Besides that, he had a squeaky voice that was not pleasant to listen to and my arms were full of grocery bags. Just as I went to set one of them down to open the door, the bag split and the apples crashed onto the redwood deck boards.
“Crap!” I blurted out. “Why the hell, can’t they make these bags strong enough to get my groceries into the house?” He stopped babbling on long enough to look at me with his head jerking about, almost as if he had a nervous tick. I was a little embarrassed at the way I had yelled, so I just looked away and knelt down on one knee to collect the apples that had bounced and rolled away.
Mr. Roadrunner was not impressed with my apple chasing skills.
“As I was saying,” he said slowly, as if to emphasize that I had interrupted him, “I was walking across the rocky ground near a cactus patch, minding my own business, when this big stupid looking dog comes running up to me the way dogs always do- you know, in their usual menacing way. Of course,” he said with a laugh, “I had to take flight and leave him standing there looking like an idiot.
“In the air I was trying to decide where to go from there. The next thing I knew, this huge dust cloud blew up out of nowhere, so I dipped down and landed near some scrub brush and small trees right over there.” He pointed with his beak to a green patch near the house.
All of a sudden he stopped talking. I was a bit relieved when the silence came, since I didn’t know him and I wasn’t interested in his story. Besides all of that, I was still crawling around on the deck trying to collect my apples.
When I looked up, his body had become still and his head stopped jerking around. He crouched for a moment then extended his wings. “See ya later?” he said with a glance back to me as he took flight. “I do believe breakfast is calling.”
I never saw him again. I have no idea where he came from or where he might have gone. But, since that day, I have been unable to locate my eight legged friend, Toni, who had come out of her spider hole earlier that morning to greet me on my way to my brisk morning walk. We don’t see each other every morning, so I didn’t become concerned until a week had passed without her showing. When I checked, her spider hole had been damaged- caved in around the edges. She would have fixed it if she was able. I can’t help but think that that audacious visitor had something to do with her absence.
© by Richard McDonald 2012
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