Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tightrope


A raven sat perched on a tightrope above Baker Street. A wolf appeared and managed to climb up to the raven.

“Hey. I knew I’d find a raven here. How are you?” The wolf asked as he tried to settle on his position.
“Fine. I’m impressed that you made it up here. It was a haphazard attempt, but here you are. Do you like the view?” The raven looked around.
“It’s alright. I can see a lot from up here. I’m used to the forest dirt underneath my paws though. Kind of weird.”
The raven tilted its head and looked at the wolf curiously.
“How do you plan on keeping your balance?”
The wolf scrambled on cue but somehow managed to keep his footing. “I’m adaptable.”
His gaze turned to a tall pale white man wearing a gray hooded coat with the hood up, running shorts, and very nice running shoes.
“Hey! Look! It’s one of those humans I’ve heard about.” The wolf exclaimed.
“Oh? Him? Yeah I’ve seen him around here before. He does a lot of running.” The raven seemed unimpressed.
“Think he’ll notice us?”
“Nah, he’s always preoccupied with looking at other people or just running around in general.”
They both watched as the man ran down the street before disappearing from view as he turned the corner.
“Humans are strange creatures, don’t you think?” The raven asked, pondering human existence through the eyes of a bird.
“I don’t know. I don’t spend much time out of the forest. Cities smell funny.” The wolf fumbled but secured his footing quickly.
“Yeah, you would say that,” the raven rolled his eyes,“I, however, find them useful. Sometimes they drop things to eat or shiny things.”
The wolf laughed and put his nose in the air, “I hunt for my food. Scavengings for the birds. I take what I need, when I need it, and when I want it.”
“Hunting, eh? That’s quite a useful skill. I see the benefit of such ways. Perhaps we should join forces once in awhile?”
The wolf snarled, “Sure, but only if you help me.”
“Oh? A wolf that understands the value of partnership? You’re one of the smart ones,” the raven looked down, “don’t look now, but here comes another one.”
A short old woman wearing a long gray sweater and a blue straw hat strolled slowly underneath them. Her cane clicked and clacked on the pavement doing a good job of keeping her balanced.
“She looks weird.”
The raven looked around to see if there were more birds to contend with but there were none in sight.
“She’s just old. All humans look like that when they get old. Sometimes she leaves me something to eat. Other birds like to take the things she leaves behind but it looks like it’s all for me today.”
“Really? That’s what you do up here?” The wolf raised an eyebrow and scoffed.
“Yes, really. She’s one of those humans that’s always smiling, giving, and is nice to others. I don’t get it but I won’t argue.” The raven shrugged.
“She sounds soft to me. You can’t get anywhere being that soft all the time.”
They watched as she dropped some bread crumbs on the ground beneath them. A gust of wind appeared out of nowhere and her hat got carried away with a swirling speed. She gave a very slow chase down the sidewalk after it.
“She’ll never catch it.” The raven said with a chuckle.
“That looks fun!”
“You would think that.”
“What is that supposed to mean?! You saying I’m soft?” The wolf fumed out of nowhere.
“Calm down now. Why are you so aggressive all the time? Jeez.”
The wolf almost jumped at him in rage but remembered he was standing on a tightrope and decided against it by exercising control.
“You’re just jealous that I don’t have to scavenge like you do.
The raven rolled his eyes again, “Please. I have my skills too.”
“You’re lucky that I can’t pounce on you right now. I’d eat you in a heartbeat.”
“Ha! Unlikely. I have these!”
The raven spread his wings out and displayed them with splendor before taking off and dipping down to the sidewalk below. He plucked up the bread crumbs in his sharp beak and gracefully flew back up to the tightrope; gobbling the breadcrumbs up in front of the wolf.
The wolf looked back with disgust.
“Ew. Meat only for me, thanks.”
“That’s because your palate is weak. One must enjoy the finer things in life.”
“Finer things? Like chasing other wolves and hunting down prey?”
“Sure. Like chasing other wolves and hunting down prey for me.” The raven nodded in agreement and grinned  
“I don’t like your tone.” He glared at the raven as drool started to form on his tongue.
The raven noticed his irritation and decided a distraction might be best.
“Oh look, another human.”
An appealing woman with milky white skin appeared. She wore a pink sundress, white sandals, and a black sweater. Her hair was firmly tied back into a ponytail that protected its locks from the gusts of wind that sought to impede her progress. She looked down at her mobile phone, obviously distracted. It was enough to keep her attention sufficiently away from the tightrope act above her.
“She’s pretty.” The wolf panted and wagged his tail.
“Humans and those phone things.” The raven waved one of his wings in a disapproving gesture towards her.
“What’s a ‘phone’?” The wolf tilted his head.
“Some weird device I see them carrying around all the time. They stare at it for hours. It does things. It lets them talk to other humans and look at stuff that lives inside of it. Cats I think..” The raven puffed up in pride at his lesson of human gadgetry.
“Kind of looks like a distraction.” The wolf licked his chops and panted again.
“It is. One time, over on Lawrence Street, I watched one of them cross the street while staring at his phone, He got hit by a car that was speeding. It’s very enthralling to them for some reason.”
“That’s good for someone like me though. A distraction is always good when I’m on the hunt.” The wolf grinned, his teeth gleamed with fresh saliva that formed on the gums and dribbled down them languidly.
“Hey now, don’t get any stupid ideas. Humans are capable of defending themselves.”
“But I’m starving! Watching you eat those breadcrumbs made me hungry.”
“You can’t eat a human. At least not here and not in broad daylight. Use your brain! I’m the only one that could out-fly them and you’d be dead as soon as they found out it was you anyway. Then they’d probably hunt down your whole pack just to be sure. I once saw a group of hunters going into the woods to find some girl who was missing last year. They have these things called guns that-”
The wolf was obviously not listening to his council any longer as he became transfixed on the woman. His balance started to waver and he spent a few moments clamoring to keep his back paws on the rope.
“I want it.”
“Stop that. You’ll draw attention to us!” The raven flew at his face to block his view.
The wolf regained his composure and the woman stopped directly below them. Her phone rang and she picked it up without hesitation.
“She’s talking to another human?” The wolf looked over at the raven as he landed back onto the tightrope.
“Yep. That’s one of the things humans love to do. Talk a lot.”
They both listened as she got wrapped up in conversation, clearly distraught.
“What? No. Why would you think that? Of course I - No that’s not what I meant when I said that- how could you- fuck, just let me speak for a minute.”
The wolf and raven looked at one another and then back down.
“Look you know how I feel. Why do you do this to me? No. I don’t think that’s true. You know I need you more than anything. We always do this and there is no point. What? No, you know I love-” She pulled her phone away from her ear. It displayed the conversation had been cut off abruptly.
“She’s upset. At least, I think that’s what the humans call it.”
“Yeah, I have no idea what that means but she does smell different now that you mention it.” He sniffed the air.
She was about to walk away when her phone rang again and she picked it up.
“What? You just hang up on me and then call me back? What do you want? You know what you just said to me, right? No, I didn’t mean that! I’m sorry. You’re going to see her aren’t you? Why? Fine. Fine. Do whatever you want. I obviously mean very little to you. Don’t you want to work this out babe? Please we don’t have to fight, I just-” She looked down at her phone again before shoving it into her purse and storming off back in the direction she came from,"I can’t believe this. Not again.” She cursed under her breath as she tried to hide the tears that welled up in her eyes.
“Are humans always like this?”
“Yep. Come on, let’s get out of here. You probably want some meat and my wings need the exercise.” The raven looked into the distance at a forest that called to him beyond a field of tall grass.
“Meat sounds great.”
The wolf slowly walked the tightrope. He almost fell to the ground twice but used the rest of his strength to jump down to the safety of the ground. The raven joined him, perching on his back.
“Nice jump.”
“Thanks. Do you think I could fly?”
“No. I don’t think you can fly. You can barely keep your balance on a tightrope. Shall we?” The raven pointed forward towards the woods in the distance.
“Sure. Do you think more humans will appear? I don’t want to be seen.”
“We should be fine, it’s getting dark anyways.”
They disappeared into the woods as the sun dipped behind the trees.
Moments later a finely dressed man with dark hair appeared under the tightrope. He stood firm while looking at his watch and held a single rose in his hand. It wasn’t long until a lovely woman in a long white coat and black dress appeared to meet him. He handed her the rose as they kissed intensely under the tightrope.
“I was wondering when you’d call me again. I’ve missed you so much. I’m sorry about last time.” She embraced him tight.
“I know. I’ve missed you too. Things have just been so hectic for me lately. It’s like walking a tightrope.”


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