In an unnamed Australian sand cay, somewhere in the Great Barrier Reef, I was having my box of singularly tasteless fries when I felt someone looking at me. I looked around, a little puzzled and then down.
And there he was, looking at me with his beady eyes accusing. A bird.
I looked up at the “Do not feed wild animals” sign and carried on eating and reading my book.
The bird continued to stare at me with a look in its eyes that suggested it could do that all day long. I looked around and noticed that there was birds similarly engaging other tourists at different tables, looking fixedly at their food.
I was contemplating putting the box into the dustbin when I felt claws in my lap. I screamed and jumped up, and the bird fell to the ground and went back to its original position.
We had reached an impasse. Both of us looked into each other’s eyes. My hand crept up to one fry and dropped in 5 feet away from the table.
He was off like a shot in pursuit of the now-stationary morsel. He clasped it in his beak and scampered off at top speed away from the table.
And at the same speed, his friend ran under the table from the other side to take up the old position.
“Uncanny”, I thought and resolved not to give the birds any food, closing the box and taking two fries out to eat.
There really was no excuse for what happened next. I was dipping my fries in sauce and reading the engrossing adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (continued) when the bird rushed my bastion, hopped on the box, snatched my fries from my hand and fled from the scene of crime with two other birds in hot pursuit of the mother lode!
As I stared at the retreating petty criminal, my old friend Bird #1 returned to his original spot.
“Well done, Oliver Bird. How much did you get for me today?”
“Well, Fagin Bird, I got these two fries from the odd brown lady, and this giant red strawberry from the yellow man in the other corner.”
The head of the Bird Cartel of the Great Barrier Reef was well-pleased.
Thanks, Kavity, for finding my real-life experience highly amusing on Gtalk.
For me, the moral is clear. All ye chickens, try and be as organized (crime) as these birds are. Carpe Diem. Seize the (err) day. Gather the fries while ye may.