Outside the hospital flew a murder of crows. The city’s full of them this time of year. Black shapes darting about the blue. I liked seeing them, but my thoughts always turn to Hitchcock when I do. It’s the bend of the mind, you know.
Brother Todd and I were on our way home from visiting Dad. Things were improving apace and we expected him home on Monday (which he did.) Our talk was cheerful, if not memorable.
We reached the car. Todd was already at the passenger side door. I had just walked to the other side.
Then, without warning, this noise went off in the distance. Firework, one of the whiz-bang varieties. I turned back towards the sound to check it out. This allowed me to see what has got to be one of the most awe-inspiring sights of my life. Grand Canyon? The Alaskan Coast? Disneyland? In the neighborhood, let me tell you.
Todd heard me say “Whoa,” in a staggered tone. Thus he, too, caught sight of the sky around the hospital vanishing from view. Hundreds of crows, frightened by the firework, had all taken flight at once. What had been a few spiraling shapes was now a massive cloud.
A small bit of exposition here. The hospital has a helicopter pad on the roof. Helicopters and birds don’t get along. Thus the occasional loud noise to encourage them to go elsewhere.
These dots I might have connected when I watched this spectacle, slack-jawed and amazed. Todd, however, had been working on another picture entirely. He said, “Get in the car, Cullen.”
For the life of me, I couldn’t understand the urgency in his voice. When he said it again, my thoughts were of again of Hitchcock and a baby brother over reacting.
Then, finally, the shoe dropped on the connection he made.
When birds take off, they like to leave… souvenirs on the ground behind them.
Now a story like this deserves a slam-bang finish. Or at least a splat-splut one. Not going to happen here, I’m afraid. After darting into the car as quickly as this out of shape body could take me, we waited a few minutes for the expected shower, and when none arrived, I can only say it felt anticlimactic.
No doubt when the firework went off, so too did the crows. As it were.
I’m so thrilled.