Bird Number Three

By Louella Lester

Three was seething. Why did he always have to do all the organizing, all the fussy detail stuff, take all the stress? They got the same salary as him. In fact, Two, who was now starting his third season, had likely got a big signing bonus and would now make more than Three or One. And he was sure One’s take-home mix had a higher percentage of sunflowers seeds. It was not fair. Not fair at all.

“Come on, you guys, get it together. We don’t have much time,” chirped Three. A woman with a camera sauntered their way and a guy crossing the street pulled his phone out of his pocket. The cafe owner, their boss, was always peeking out the window and Three was hoping to impress him by pulling in a lot of customers.

“Two, shift over. You’re not centered. I told you to perch at the mortar line between the bricks in the middle, sheesh!”

“Why?” asked Two, “What difference does it make?”

“People like symmetry. Why do I have to explain it to you, over and over? And One, move it to the outer edge and turn facing in, right now.”

One stayed put and said, “Well, I was listening to a podcast coming from a customer’s phone, and a woman was talking about the Rule of Three or Four or something and she said that you shouldn’t have everything centered in a photo.”

“There you go,” said Two. He also stayed put.

“So now you’re a photo expert, eh One? Shhhh, stop! The woman is—.” Three froze along with the others. They started chirping in unison hoping to attract her attention. It worked and the woman stopped in front of them, took a number of shots, then went into the restaurant. The guy with the phone rolled in. He tapped his phone and moved slowly, side to side, in what was obviously a panorama capture. He then sat at one of the patio tables.

“See it didn’t matter that we weren’t symmetrical,” sniped Two. He had been particularly pissed off when Three, the younger bird, had been promoted to photo-op manager, after the previous manager’s drunk-on-fall-berries window incident.

Three was starting to realize the job wasn’t going to be a simple birdbath.

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Louella Lester is a writer and amateur photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her work has appeared in New Flash Fiction, Spelk, Reflex Fiction, Vallum, Fewer Than 500, and in the anthology Gush: menstrual manifestos for our times (Frontenac House, 2018). Her creative non-fiction book, Glass Bricks (At Bay Press, 2020) is upcoming.

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