My friend and I are whiling away a pleasant Thursday afternoon eating cake and sharing pots of tea. I shall miss this life, but soon I shall earn much more money.
“Um, Billygean,” she says, pointing to the garden.
I look out. There are two large blackbirds swooping high and low in the garden. There are many, many baby birds hopping/walking/attempting to fly above the table on our patio. I frown, confused. What are they all doing?
“You have a situation,” my friend, a sensible doctor, says.
A few of the birds fly/hop into our conservatory. There are still a few birds outside, hopping about on the lawn. Their parents fly overhead, squawking.
And then I see him. At the top of the garden, overseeing matters like the fucking Godfather, is Benny.
My friend looks at me. “Get Benny and shut him inside,” she says. “We can’t touch the babies because then their parents disown them.”
I look through the window, bewildered. The birds are waddling around the conservatory injured, climbing over bags and behind the sofa. Benny is squatting in the garden, ready to pounce. I go out and get him and, as I carry him upstairs and put him in the bedroom, he makes noises I have never heard him make.
My friend deals with the birds. I help, by hovering behind her and making sympathetic noises. We rip up some bread and encourage the babies out. The two injured babies are now sitting in the grass on my lawn. Their parents are bringing them worms. They can’t fly yet, so they can’t get back to the nest.
“Christ,” my friend says as we pour some more tea. “That was stressful.”
“I can’t work out Benny’s role in all of this,” I say. “Do you think he got in their nest and rattled it? Or was just there when they fell?”
We eye Benny, now safely on his beanbag, and not allowed out again until the baby birds can fly.
“I don’t know,” my friend says, looking at Benny suspiciously. “But he definitely had something to do with it.”