(This is Vol. III of the Seagull Saga. The first two volumes can be found under the Archives section to the right. They are listed under June 2012 and July 2012.)
Well, I’ll be darned. It turns out that old Jon Seagull does have feelings.
“Hey, beach bum, come here a sec. I want you to meet my friends.”
His high-pitched, grating screech of a voice was unmistakable. Sometimes it’s like his call echoes in my head, even when he’s not around.
“This is Chiang VIII and Wilbur. Chiang. Wilbur. This is the dharma beach bum. He hates it when you call him Dharma.”
“Nice to meet you Chiang and Wilbur.”
Neither of the other gulls responded.
“Uh, yeeaaahhh, bum. They don’t talk to humans. They’re seagulls.”
“So are you, Jon.”
“Am I?…Anyway. Chiang and Wilbur both lost legs to those damn bluefish.”
I’d noticed that Jon’s friends were one-legged, but it wouldn’t have been proper to bring it up in conversation. Jon had no problem talking about it.
“Wilbur and Chiang are old friends of mine, so we can joke around. I like to tell them that I’m a leg up on them.”
“Yeah,” I said, confused as to how I was supposed to respond, “those bluefish get frenzied when feeding. They don’t care what they’re chomping.”
Jon ignored me and blathered on about his right to say what he wanted. “Hey, they know I’d do anything for them. Right guys?”
Chiang and Wilbur squawked simultaneously. I, of course, had no idea what they were saying. I started walking away. There were sharks teeth to be found.
“One more thing, bum. What is it about humans that they leave so much trash behind? It’s everywhere on this beach. Just the other day, I almost ate a cigarette butt.” Jon was interrupted by laughter from four gull bystanders, who buried their beaks in their wings to muffle their guffaws. Jon looked annoyed, but continued after a brief pause. “I thought it was a clam or something. Don’t people understand that?”
True enough. There’s always garbage spread along the shore — especially near the high-tide line. Cigarette butts. Bits of Styro-foam. Hair ties. Used Band-aids. It’s disgusting.
“Sorry, Jon. I do what I can to help, but there’s just so much of it.”
“I know. I’ve seen you throwin’ stuff away. Thanks.”
“It’s my civic duty, Jon.”
“It’s amazing that so few of you look at it that way. People have no pride anymore.”
“I couldn’t agree more, buddy.”