Pic-nick

Waiting crow
So, I was sitting on the low wall across from the bookshop along my street the other day, just catching a little of the still warm, late autumn sun. Unusually, I didn't have anywhere else to be at that time in the morning. That's a bit of a miracle these days, as since got back from my travels, I've been busier than Jimmy Savile's lawyers. Soon a local old boy who I know quite well, nodded his greeting, and took a seat beside me. He sighed gently as he too drank in the welcome warmth.

After sitting there for a few minutes, our attention was drawn to the bookshop. Or rather to the commotion going on just outside. Next to the bookshop, between the exit and the vending machines, was a whole bunch of bicycles roughly parked in a line, presumably belonging to the customers inside. One of the bikes, right in the middle of the row, had in its front basket a value pack of loo rolls, and in the rear basket, a large shopping bag packed with groceries. It was the rear basket the was being vigorously investigated by the biggest crow I've ever seen and the source of the commotion. It was perched on the bike's saddle with its head deep inside the bag. It's half spread wings reached around for balance as the bird rummaged around seemingly looking for something in particular. Apart from the comical head in the bag, it looked like a scary harbinger of some kind of doom or other. 

Me and the old boy shared a look as if to say, should we do something. No words were spoken, but a decision was made as we simultaneously did nothing and returned our gaze to the cawing scavenger across the street. The crow pulled out a couple of items and discarded them immediately as not being what he was looking for, including a cabbage, which bounced and rolled into the gutter, and some eggs, which did the opposite of bounce. Finally, with a triumphal flourish he did find what he was looking for. He snatched at it and got a better purchase, and then swooped away with a tray of fried chicken, just as the owner of the shopping came running out of the bookshop waving her arms. She scooped up the eggs and, cursing and swearing under her breath, put them straight into the nearby bin. She then picked up the cabbage, put it back in the shopping bag and made to leave. As she did so, she looked across in our direction as if to say, 'why didn't you do something?' and we both suddenly noticed an unremarkable car parking just along the street. Feeling like naughty boys, neither of us looked back until she had ridden off.

As soon as it was safe, the old boy got to his feet, and said, 'hmm, fried chicken for lunch I think', and wandered off towards the supermarket. I nodded my agreement, but sat in the sun for a little while longer.

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