Yuletide Aviary – Part 5

Read Part 4

            “What do you say we have one more round, Eh?” Jacob says.

            “I’m good for one more.” Thomas says.

            “How do you drink that stuff. It tastes so awful.”

            “With rum.”

            “Lutin? Two more drinks for me and my friend here.”

            Lutin pours another rum eggnog and pops the top off another bottle. The two birds sip and sigh together.

            “Any plans after the end of the season?” Jacob says.

            “Nah, going back home for a bit. Nothing special. You?”

            “Thought I’d take a trip down to somewhere warmer.”

            “Where to?”

            “Haven’t decided. I thought about Florida, but I’m okay with never going to Florida, Eh?’

            “I ain’t going to Florida.”

            “Anyhoo, I’ll find someplace nice and fly down for a couple weeks.” 

            “Sounds nice. Unless you’re just going somewhere to steal eggs.”

            “For Pete’s sake, Tommy, I don’t eat fertilized eggs. It’s like less than one percent of Jays that do that and they’re, you know, coocoo or whatever, Eh?”

            “Damn cannibal.”

            “Well, at least I don’t go pickin’ fights with my reflection?”

            “What the hell does that mean?”

            “It means you’re coocoo for fighting the mirror, Eh. You’d be great at hockey if we put mirrors on the players’ helmets.”

            “I don’t fight mirrors. There was another guy who just happened to look like me givin’ me the eyes.”

            “What eyes?”

            “You know? The eyes. Like he wants to fight.”

            “You always look like you wanna fight.”
            “’Cause guys like that always give me the eyes.”

            The door to the shop bursts open.

            “Good evening…gentlemen.”

            “Ah, jeez.”

            “Welcome back, Ben.” Lutin says.

            “Was I…here before?” Benjamin says.


            “Is Ben givin’ me the eyes!? You better not be givin’ me the eyes!”

            “I should have left after my last drink.” Jacob says.

            “I’ll be passing soon…very soon.”

            “Ah, jeez.”

            And so, it continues every night during our delivery season. A few birds gather in one of our shops as many others deliver toys and presents. These birds and elves who do all the work are the backbone of this holiday season. Most humans give me all the credit, especially the children. But I’m here to tell you Santa has never done it alone. Until next year. Farewell.

Yuletide Aviary – Part 4

Read Part 3.

            “Did you know Lutin was that old?” Jacob says.

            “I don’t think I’ve ever heard him speak.” Thomas says.

            “Old Ben gets forgetful too. He’ll be in a couple more times and say the same thing.” Lutin says.

            They listen to a commercial for sugar plums and gingerbread. No one speaks for several minutes. Even the Hens are quiet. The night outside holds an eerie silence.

            “Hey there, Lutin. Can you switch it to the delivery coverage? Let’s see how everyone’s doing, Eh?” Jacob says.

            Lutin clicks through several channels then settles back into his chair. The Hens move to a closer table. The anchor sits at a desk wearing a red and green suit. He doesn’t wear a hat like most elves do. Behind him is a map with many blinking lights.

            “…and we’re getting reports of an accident North of Johannesburg. First Responder Emergency Elves are on the scene clearing debris and maintaining social distance from humans. Reporter Bella Tink is on the scene. Bella? How do things look down there?”

            Bella wears a green long sleeve dress and a matching green hat. Her brown hair covers her ears.

            “As you can see Stephen, the debris has mostly been collected. There were no serious injuries, but a couple of our birds won’t be finishing deliveries tonight. The remaining packages have already been divided around to other carriers nearby. So far everything is on schedule.”

            “This is our first accident this season which is an improvement over last year.”

            “That’s right Stephen. You may recall the six-bird pileup that occurred in Southern Argentina where we lost two of our carriers.”

            “Let’s hope this is our only accident this season. Thank you, Bella.”

            “Thank you, Stephen.”

            “We’ll return to local news after this short break. I’m Stephen Gumdrop.”

            Everyone in the shop lost interest and the Hens returned to their first table.

            “I remember that accident. One of my coworkers lost a cousin.” Thomas says.

            “Did you know him?”

            “The cousin? Nah, she worked the other side of the factory. She was one of their top carriers.”

            “Let’s have a toast then.”

            “For what?”

            “To good workers we lost.”

Read Part 5

Yuletide Aviary – Part 3

Read Part 2

            Thomas looks around the shop.

            “You okay there, pal?” Jacob says.

            “That other guy left. Guess I scared him off.”

            “Maybe you’ve had enough eggnog, Eh?”

            “Nope. I’m getting’ another. Barkeep? Another round.”

            Lutin placed another beer and eggnog in front of the birds. The Hens whispered clucks go unnoticed. Thomas pecks a few seeds. He offers the bowl to Jacob who declines by raising a wing. They enjoy the silence for a few minutes. The music isn’t loud enough for anyone to care.

            A little bell jingles as the shop door opens. A tall yellow and orange Heron ducks under the door jam and enters.

            “Ah, geez. Not this guy. He gets so depressing around delivery season.” Jacob says.

            “Good evening…gentlemen.” The large Heron says.

            He towers over everyone in the shop with his head only a few inches from the ceiling. He sits next to Thomas with a seat between them.

            “Hey there, Ben. You finish your deliveries already?” Jacob says.

            “One could say that. I’ve…taken some time off…as I’ll be passing on soon…very soon.” Benjamin says.

            “Sorry to hear that old timer.” Thomas says.

            “Oh, it’s…not so bad. I’ll be born again…a few weeks after.”

            “Born again, Eh? How’s that work?”

            “Well…I burst into flames…I’ll burn in such a violent way…then from those ashes…a new version of myself…will rise up.”

            “So, will you be the same or like a new person?”

            “I will…be the same…but younger and…more virile.”

            “This happened before, Eh?”

            “About…17 times. I may have…lost count.”

            “Good luck with that, I guess.” Thomas says.

            “Thank you. I’ll be…on my way…just saying goodbye to everyone. See you…on the other side.”

            “See you ‘round Ben.”

            “Take it easy there, Ben.”

            “Hey Jake, that’s guy’s a couple twigs short of a nest.”

            “You’re telling me. First time he’s talked about death though. You think he’s okay? Maybe he shouldn’t be alone, Eh?”

            “He’ll be fine.” Lutin says.

            “How do you know?” Thomas says.

            “He’ reborn about every 500 years. I’ve seen it twice.”

Read Part 4