Each day at noon, I wait for the bread. So does the cat. From my perch high in the bare tree, I watch him make his rounds. He sniffs that rock, marks that bush. Stops on the stoop, licks the snow from his paw, blinks his bright gold eyes. Prowls the edge of the stone path. I look down and see him pause near the base of my tree. He looks up through the limbs and I know he knows I’m here. We have a game: he will climb up as far as he can to try to catch me. I will bide my time as he creeps near, then I will fly to a new branch out of reach. Once more, he will try and I will fly. When he gets tired of the game, he will make his way back down the trunk to the ground to wait for the bread.
Each day at noon, the girl who loves birds used to come out of her door to toss stale bread near the base of my tree. She thought the free food would help see us through the cold days of ice and snow. She did not know of the cat or his sly plan to wait for her treat to snag a snack of his own. He did not want her bread; he had a taste for fowl. While we birds pecked at her crumbs, the cat stalked us. We knew to be on guard, but the bread was so good that a whole host of beaks came to claim part of the meal and we each had to fight for our share. In our greed, we did not keep watch as well as we should have. The cat snuck up on our blind side, pounced on our feast, and caught a wee wren. He chewed off its head then, as a gift, laid the still corpse at the door of the girl who loves birds. She cried when she saw what her good deed had done and raged at the cat whose tracks in the snow were proof of his guilt at the scene of the crime.
Each day at noon we all still wait in the cold for the bread: we birds high up in the tree, an eye on the cat who hides low in the bush near the drive. The girl does not come out; she thinks she has saved us from a vile end in the jaws of the cat. We do not eat. The cat does not hunt. We both think we will starve in the ice and snow.
Today’s challenge was to keep it simple, stupid. Could I tell a story using only one-syllable words?