A Bird in the Bush is Worth . . .
By Audrey W.
“Man, you would not believe what just happened to me.”
The other members of Station 51’s A-shift eyed their paramedic crewmate, John Gage, who’d just come into the dayroom where they were gathered in front of the TV.
Chet and Marco were seated on the leather couch against the far wall below a window; Roy, Mike and Captain Stanley were in chairs they’d pulled just beyond the center of the room from the table that was at the kitchen end.
“Are you okay?” Captain Stanley asked over his right shoulder, a slight grin on his face since John obviously appeared to still be well. “Because if you need a paramedic,” he teased as he motioned toward Roy, “we have a qualified one right here.”
“I’m fine,” Gage casually assured. He walked to the stove to see if there was any coffee left in a pot on one of the burners. When he saw there was enough, he reached for a cup from a nearby cupboard as he explained, “I just had the most remarkable conversation with a bird, that’s all.”
“A bird?” The captain asked.
“That’s right.” John took a sip of his just poured coffee. “A bird.”
Roy turned in his seat to face his partner. “What did you two talk about?”
The younger man snorted a laugh. “Well, actually it was more of a one-sided conversation. With me doin’ all the talkin’ of course. But the bird stayed and listened the whole time.”
“So that’s where he’s been,” Chet said with a nod. “Out chatting with a parrot.”
“Not a parrot, Chet. Just a bird.”
Chet looked at the others, a smirk on his face. “And all this time I thought a parrot was a bird.”
John screwed up his face in annoyance. “Oh, c’mon. You know what I mean.” With the cup in one hand, he grabbed a spare chair by the back and moved it over in line with the others. As he took a seat, he continued, “Anyway, I was bringin’ in the push mower I left out after cutting the grass earlier today, and I noticed this little bird sittin’ in the bushes just outside the bay doors. I got a bit closer to get a better look. He just stayed there. So I started talkin’ to ‘im. Just kind of a ‘hey, how’re you doin’?’ an’ how brave he was. . .that kinda stuff to start out.”
“Let me guess,” Roy said. “It ended less than five minutes later when he got scared and took off.”
“No,” John said with a shake of his head. “No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I only got within a few feet of ‘um and stopped so I wouldn’t scare the bird off.” He grinned. “When I came in, he was still there. Hadn’t budged.”
He suddenly got an ill expression on his face. “Now that I think about it, he didn’t move at all. . . not even his head.”
“Maybe he’s in need of a paramedic,” the captain stated dryly. “If you get my drift.”
That got all the men up out of their seats, John in the lead. The five quickly followed the dark-haired paramedic out of the room, through the apparatus bay and into the front driveway. Sure enough, the bird was still perched in the bush, just as he had said.
“He does look a little stiff,” Roy commented.
“Good one, Gage,” Mike quipped. “You bored the poor thing to death.”
The paramedic rolled his eyes at the comment.
Captain Stanley sighed. “Well, someone get me a pair of gloves. We don’t need a dead bird hanging around . . .”
Chet walked past his superior officer and grabbed the feathered creature with his bare hands.
“Kelly! Didn’t your mom ever tell you not to touch dead things? We don’t know what killed it.”
“Now watch, he’s going to need a paramedic next,” Marco mumbled to Mike, who in return snickered.
“Relax, Cap. It’s not dead. It’s not even real.”
John’s lower jaw dropped. “What?”
“It’s fake. I saw a bunch of these things for sale at a store. I had to get one ta see if it could trick anyone. I guess I got my answer. It can trick a few someones.” He shrugged. “April fools.”
Gage pulled back in surprise. “April fools? It’s not April Fools Day anymore. It’s April fourth!”
“I know, but if I’d done it on April first, you’d’ve figured it out for sure.”
The prankster followed his grumbling shiftmate and the others back into the station. As they walked through the bay toward the dayroom, he held the bird still in his hand up to eye level. It did look real. With a grin he winked at the inanimate object.
There were two other unsuspecting crews that pulled duty at the station when they were off. Surely there was at least one other person within them as gullible as John Gage. Maybe this bird in his hand was worth another prank in the bush.
This story was inspired by a fake bird my husband put in a tree here. . .not to trick me, but when I told him I couldn't get over how this bird stayed in the tree and didn't move. . .and I'd taken pictures. . .well. . .
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