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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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HAT FOR RENT

by Gordon McMillan




Bob adjusted his fedora before going to work and pushing the keys of the typewriter. A bird flew through the open window and sat down on the man’s hat. “Hi Bob,” said the bird.

The man stopped typing as his eyes rolled up. “Hi Dave.” He went right back to typing.

“It’s moving day.”

“Hmm. Already?” He didn’t seem surprised.

“So, is today a good day?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

“Great. Thanks. Honey! He says it’s okay!”

A female bird flew in with twigs and put them right on top of Bob’s hat.

“We’ve got a few more trips,” said Dave.

“Need help?”

“No, no. We’ve got it.” Several trips later, the birds rested on top of Bob’s head along with their new nest. “Woo!” Dave was tired. “I hate moving. Hey do you mind if we play some music?”

“Go right ahead.”

The birds started singing. Bob continued typing. They were both very loud.

Bob ate his lunch at the park while Dave and his wife used a birdbath nearby. When they flew back to their nest, they were still wet. Then Bob’s hat was wet. “Now my hat’s wet,” said Bob.

“Ah. What a nice bath,” said Dave. “You got my hat all wet.”

“Really?” He looked around. “Sorry about that. But you really need to try that bath. Then you’ll be completely wet, not just your hat. Then there won’t be any problems at all.”

“But it’s the middle of the day. I take my baths at night.”

“Who bathes at night? You can’t see a thing.”

“Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. I’m kind of covered in dirt and twigs. Especially my head.” He walked over to the birdbath.

“Just go right in,” said Dave.

Bob stuck his head into the shallow water and blew some bubbles.

“No. You have to really dive into it.” Dave demonstrated.

“Okay. I think I get it.” Bob slammed his head into the birdbath. When he came up, his nose and forehead were covered in blood.

“You’re right. That is better. One down side though.”

“What’s that?”

“Concussion hurt brain. Time sleepy now.” Bob passed out. This time, his whole body went right into the birdbath and broke it apart.

“Oh,” said Dave. “The birdbath’s broken.”

Bob woke up in the hospital. “Ow.”

“You okay?” asked Dave.

“My head hurts.”

“That’ll happen.”

“What’ll happen?”

“Your head hurting.”

“How did you know my head hurts?”

“You just said so.”

“Said what?”

“Your head hurts.”

“How’d you know that?”

This went on for several minutes. The doctor walked in and checked Bob out. He told him to take it easy for the next few days.  And to stop ramming his head into birdbaths. Dave and his wife decided to take Bob home since he wasn’t allowed to drive.

“Okay, honey,” said Dave, “You press the gas. I’ll steer.” He turned to Bob. “I don’t see why you don’t just fly.”

“No wings.”

“Ever try flapping your arms?”

Bob looked up at the top of the hospital. “You want I should try now?”

Dave looked at the top of the hospital, too. Then to Bob’s bandaged head. “Eh, probably not the best idea at the moment.”

“Okay.”

He sat at the kitchen table in his pajamas. His fedora covered some of the bandages. The nest didn’t cover any of the bandages.

Dave stepped out of the nest and stood on a certain part of Bob’s head. “What numb likes grapes.”

“Oops. Sorry about that.” Dave quickly got back into the nest.

“It’s alright.” Bob went back to the newspaper. “This new alphabet makes no sense.”As he tried to read it, two hummingbirds flew through the window and each put a beak into Bob’s ears. “Mmm. Delicious brains.”

“Ah! My delicious brains.”

“Stop that!” cried Dave. “He surely doesn’t want his brains sucked out.”

“If he didn’t want them sucked out, he shouldn’t make them smell so enticing,” said one of the hummingbirds.

“Bob, you still may have a leak in your head.”

“Here, drink this,” Bob said to the hummingbirds as he held out his coffee. They slurped it up. Their wings started beating quickly (for hummingbirds). They started convulsing. Then they exploded. Blood, feathers, and beaks were all over the place.

“I think everything is just fine up there. Oh. Newspaper’s all bloody.”

“Uh, maybe you should clean up this mess,” suggested Dave.

Bob turned his head to look at it. “I kind of like it. Looks like a Jackson Pollock. I’ll clean it if it gets smelly.”