James Follett

Very Short Fiction


Big Sparrow

Last update was Monday, 31 December, 2007 3:50 PM

Big Sparrow James Follett © 2008


Some years ago we took our cat, Dylan, on a boat and let him loose on Ray Mill Island near Maidenhead, figuring that he couldn't get lost on an island.

He spotted a group of swans snoozing on a grassy bank with their heads tucked in their backs. Dylan is not too bright. His brain said beaks and feathers means birds but his limited cognitive skills did not take size into account.

He flattened his stomach to the ground and wriggled forwards to get within pouching distance. One of the swans was not asleep -- a huge, crusty old cobb who watched Dylan approaching his wives with baleful,
beady-eyed dislike. When Dylan was with a couple of metres, that cobb uncoiled its ridiculous neck, stretched it out towards Dylan, and spat right in his face while spreading about a three metre span of wings and beating them angrily.

Dylan's reactions were priceless. He didn't panic but froze, and then, very carefully, oh so carefully, he went into reverse wriggle. When he was a safe distance from the swans he decided that the incident warranted a wash. He got busy, pausing only to look at me and at the cobb with an injured 'That's a f***ing big sparrow' expression.


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