Ghost Bird

I was standing at the kitchen counter opening a tin of naturally smoked Kipper Snacks for myself and Charlene when we were startled by a loud, sharp rapping on the window. Rat-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-tat-tat. It was the kind of racket a sapsucker makes on a metal roof. Except this was thin glass inches from my nose. I could hear but see nothing. I looked at Charlene who returned the puzzled look, tilted her head, cocked an ear, summoned a growl, stood and began to bark. This at exactly the moment thin lines began spreading like a webbed fuse through the windowpane igniting an explosion of glass. Now Charlene was barking furiously. The panicked commotion of a large bird trapped indoors banging against walls and ceiling filled the room. But only sound. No bird. All at once the dog stopped. The flapping settled. Ghost bird. How is this possible? It’s high noon on a bright sunny day in an entirely unhaunted house in simple world far away from anything unusual. One flap. Two flap. Flap flap on the fridge. Muffled growl from good girl good girl its okay good girl. We look at one another wondering what the flap flutter flap is happening when the fridge motor kicks on and the room returns to mayhem.
I stop. Overcome. The great whir of being with a mild tremor and shutter shuts down. Charlene is rearing frantic now. Somewhere I know she is barking. Small jars cups saucers and dry starfish are flying off the ledge and shelves, framed pictures tilt on the walls one falls hits the floor more broken glass. Then I tilt slide crumble fold onto the tiles and know that it is over. Charlene lays down beside me head between her paws. I see the bird now. An ivory billed woodpecker. Extinct we think but refuse to believe. Putting faith in unconfirmed sightings and empty handed expeditions. She sits on the windowsill surveying the damage then returns from whence she came.

In the course of a short conversation

Right now in the backyard, a raven is vehemently digging. Dirt flying. His head a jackhammer blur. He appears oblivious to anything but his urgent and unusual task. A tuxedo cat at the edge of the blackberry bushes, tail twitching, paw inching up up leaning leaning into it forward and down. Stealth approaching a cartoon cloud of red earth, pebbles and grass. He stops. They both do. Up to his breast now in the hole, Mr. Raven comes momentarily to his senses and scans the area around him. His eyes meet the eager, now sheepish eyes of Miss Kitty. He looks back down. Up. Down. Up down. Up. She smiles. He frowns.
What are you digging for?
None of your business.
Keep going and it will be your grave you know.
Thanks for the tacky insight.
Where’s your spotter? Don’t you guys always have a spotter somewhere in a tree?
That’s blackbirds, I’m a raven. We don’t do that. I’m a loner anyway.
No kidding, I wonder why.
She settles back, releasing some of the tension in her muscles. Based on the distance between the two and his situation in the hole, she could possibly spring, nail and tear him to shreds. Probably not. But possibly. He is one big bird and the beak is a tool she wouldn’t like to be at the wrong end of.
What did you say you were digging for?
I didn’t.
A ripple runs through her fur. Returning to ready.
I can take you he says.
They are about the same size. He might actually be bigger. But. Does she realize how difficult it would be for me to get out of the hole or even respond to her ridiculous speed? Okay then.
I’m digging because I like to.
I like digging holes. It’s not something ravens do. I’m different. Sometimes I find things, but rarely. It’s good for the trapezius and obviously my beak is nothing to screw with. You have nice markings by the way.
Thank you.
Don’t mention it.
He wonders how she managed to get an entire cat length closer.
You’re pretty hot.
I know.
Yeah, most cats do I suppose.
How did  it suddenly come down to any move he makes triggering the end of his story. They both know that in the course of this short conversation everything changed.
You look well fed and cared for.
I am.
Then why, you know, why is are you we this?
I’m a cat.
Did you ever think about doing something different? You know, like digging holes.
Miss Kitty smiles rolls her eyes and looks over her shoulder for a millisecond. And then he is on a branch above her. Phew.
I like you, they both say.