(This is the first volume of the Seagull Saga, a satire and somewhat of a tribute to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a work of genius from the imagination of Richard Bach.)
Jonathan looked up at me with one beady eye and I knew what was coming.
He was about to lecture me. This wasn’t the first time we had met on the beach; it won’t be the last. He’s a perfectionist and he’s usually critical of my meandering ways. I decided to take the offensive.
“You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me? Well, I’m the only one here.”
“There you go with that lame Travis Bickle immitation again,” Jon said. “Trust me, Bum, you’re no Robert DeNiro.”
“Yeah, but it’s funny, right?”
“Funny? No. You’re crazy, man. You’ve lost it.”
“I’m not crazy. I’m bipolar.”
“You’re crazy. You’re delusional.”
“What do you mean I’m delusional?”
“You’re talking to a seagull!”
Yes, I talk to seagulls. Jonathan, by the way, is the great-great-great-great grandgull of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, whose life was documented in the seventies in Richard Bachman’s esoteric book. I’m somewhat honored that we have a relationship.
“Yeah, Jon, but you usually talk to me first. How’s the fishin’ business?”
Jon didn’t answer. He knew where I was going with my question. I like making fun of him for eating almost anything the tide washes in.
“See any sand fleas today or are you going to the Burger King parking lot again to pick up a few stray french fries?”
That got him.
“You’re hateful, Bum. In fact, you have some real anger issues. You need help.”
I chuckled as I walked away. Like so many people I’ve known, Jon is good at dishing out criticism, but he can’t take it.
I wanted to get in a parting shot. I turned, but he wasn’t where I’d last seen him. It was as if Jon had pulled one of those disappearing acts of his — like those of his great-great-great grandgull. Then, out of nowhere, he was in front of me, and he was pissed.
“What’ve you eaten today, Bum? A box of Kraft macaroni and cheese?”
Damn. How did he know? Jon and I have a love-hate relationship, so I let him get in the last word. I was just happy that he had reappeared.
For a second, I thought my conscience was getting to me.