The Noble Seagull – Flash Fiction

Written by M. Taggart

Fiction:  This short story is much about unconscious societal behavior.

Copyright 2015 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

The Noble Seagull

The sand was hottest when his feet left the shelter of his beach towel.  He placed his toes in the sand to feel its sting.  The sun was high and bruising.  His mother had lathered him with sunscreen lotion.  He smelled like a hospital room.  His mother was sitting in a beach chair next to him.  She was on her phone talking to her sister.  Her voice arched upward when needing to alert her sister just how much she understood.

He watched a grey and white seagull walk toward a bag of chips not far from him.  The bag was left open by a family that had gone to swim and be in the waves.  The seagull had a large puffed-out chest and dark flecks of color around its eyes.  It was a large bird.  He liked the bird and noticed the size of its webbed feet.  Its feet look very sure of each step even if its eyes did not.  He wanted to ask his mother what seagull feet were called but she was still on the phone.

Now other seagulls were flying overhead and squawking at the one below.  He watched as they circled and then dove down.  His bird flapped its wings at the approaching competition.  It was as though he were watching a dance.  Though, he knew this dance wasn’t an ordinary dance.  If the family came back, they’d surely chase the seagull away and he wouldn’t eat the chips.  If another bird pushed him away then his bird would need to find another bag and start the process over.  Just now his bird strained his neck and opened his large wings while he pulled a number of chips from the bag.  The seagull snapped at the chips and they were quickly gone.  Its darting eyes now found a number of his brethren had landed near him and were coming closer with agitated motions.

The boy looked from the mass of seagulls surrounding the bag of chips to other families lying on spread out blankets and beach chairs.  Each family had brought food.  Some of the food was kept cool in plastic coolers with ice in them.  Others brought food in plastic bags that didn’t need to be cooled.  Near the sand dunes were overflowing metal trash barrels.  Seagulls were pulling at the plastic bags to break rotting food loose.  People ran and jumped into the ocean and smiled while splashing one another.  Fathers asked daughters to come out deeper where the big waves were.  Mothers dared their sons to pick up seaweed and wear it on their heads.  The seagulls walked and flew in between them all.

His seagull flapped its wings and charged another while squawking then dashed quickly back and clasped the end of the bag then lifted; each remaining chip now lay in the sand.  A great chorus of squealing birds erupted.  The boy thought he read sadness in the bird’s eyes. A strong sea wind flipped a number of the noble seagull’s feathers backward.  The onslaught was too much for any one bird to defend.  He snatched a few large chips and took flight.  He watched the seagull soar into the air and wanted to know where it would go.  He thought the bird flew with dignity and he hoped he would live a long life and not become too cold during winter.   The bird flew near the overflowing metal trash barrels and then over the top of the wooden steps leading to the beach bathrooms and then was gone.

A thrashing took place over the upturned bag of chips.  Only a few oily crumbs were left in the sand.  The birds fought over the empty bag.

‘Get out of here!  Nasty sky-rats!’ his mother shouted.  She held her phone away as not to yell loudly in her sister’s ear.  ‘Honey, those are nasty birds.  They are scum.  Get up and chase them away.’ His mother went back to talking with her sister.  She hadn’t known he made a new friend.  She didn’t realize he thought his bird was noble and walked with sure steps.  He didn’t ask what the seagulls webbed feet were called.

 

(Note: I’m considering a second chapter.  Feedback would be appreciated.)

If you enjoyed this short story you might also enjoy my self published short story found via the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Be-Sally-Based-Events-ebook/dp/B00DYAJ2ZW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433349895&sr=8-1&keywords=don%27t+be+a+sally

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4 thoughts on “The Noble Seagull – Flash Fiction

  1. As you know I love this story! Along with all your other ones I’ve read!

    There is a purity in your writing, both in the subject of, and in the telling of, the story – and in the writing itself. I’m going to hold back for now and just ask you one question: who do you envision as the readership of “The Noble Seagull”?

    Please tell me if my question is too invasive for you or none of my business or …? and I will stop!
    But before I do 🙂 – I just want to say that my enthusiasm stems from the point of view that the issue of “parenting” is the key to the survival of our culture in any meaningful way.

    Lola

    Like

    • Lola, thank you for the compliments and question. With this particular story, I didn’t have anyone in mind. The idea was there while feeding Gavin in the middle of the night. It was still there in the morning. The idea was about an ability many people have. In this case the boy has the ability. I’d like to hope that anyone who also has the ability and stumbles upon this might then know they are not alone. I’ve always been massively fascinated with humanity, (including parenting). I find it’s fulfilling for me to write about what I observe or know, but I don’t always have an audience in mind. Sometimes an idea comes and if I don’t write it I feel I’ve not done my duty. I hope this makes sense. I sincerely thank you for having taken the time to read this piece.

      Like

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