“The Dog and the Sparrow 2.0”

sparrow 2

by Andy Rausch (based on a story by the Brothers Grimm)

Kesey was an Australian Shepherd with a beautiful, shiny black coat. Everyone who saw her commented on her beauty. But her fur was the only aspect of Kesey’s life that was beautiful, for she had a very cruel owner who beat her and often forgot to feed her. (This was usually when he was drunk, which was a great deal of the time.) Because of this, the outline of Kesey’s ribs soon became visible through her fur.

Each day Kesey diligently chewed at the rope that bound her. Finally, after many days, she managed to chew through the thick cord and free herself. She quickly dug a hole under the wooden privacy fence which surrounded the yard, hoping her master would’t discover her digging. After several hours, the hole was big enough that she was able to squeeze through it and escape.

She walked along the street hungrily for some time. She stopped when she came to a dead bird in the street, and briefly considered eating it. Only moments later, a sparrow landed on the pavement before her and asked, “What’s the matter? You look sad.”

“I haven’t eaten in days,” Kesey replied. “I’m weak and my stomach hurts.”

“Well then, let’s correct this at once,” said the sparrow.

“How?”

“Follow me and I’ll feed you.”

So the hungry dog followed through the alleyways of the city. Finally they came to a dumpster behind a butcher shop. “Let me get you some meat,” said the sparrow, and off he flew, into the dumpster. He then returned a moment later with a large piece of steak. He dropped it at Kesey’s feet, and the ravenous canine quickly consumed it.

“I’m still hungry,” said Kesey, licking her lips.

“No problem,” said the sparrow. “I’ll get you another piece.”

The sparrow returned to the dumpster and retrieved a second piece of meat, this one larger than the first. The hungry dog quickly scarfed down the meat, barely taking time to chew.

The sparrow asked, “Are you satisfied now?”

To this Kesey replied, “I could use some bread to wash down the meat.”

“Then follow me and I will get you bread.”

The dog followed the sparrow through a labyrinth of alleys until at last they came to a dumpster behind a bakery.

“Wait here,” said the sparrow, and off he flew into the dumpster. A moment later he returned, dropping a loaf of bread at Kesey’s feet. The hungry dog devoured the bread, and was now quite satisfied.

“Thank you very much,” she said.

The two continued on as traveling partners, eventually going so far they exited the city. They followed the road several miles before Kesey finally stopped and said, “I’m very full from having eaten so much. I think I’ll take a nap.”

Kesey lay down in the road.

“I’m not sure this is a good idea,” warned the sparrow.

“Nonsense. I’ll just sleep for a short time and then we can proceed.”

Within seconds the dog was fast asleep.

After a while, an old Ford pickup truck came roaring down the road on the opposite side from where the dog was lying. The sparrow was alarmed at first, but relaxed once he realized Kesey should be safe. The man driving the pickup truck, however, did not share this sentiment. When he reached the sleeping dog, he went out of his way to swerve into the opposite lane and run it over. Kesey died without waking from her slumber.

“You son of a bitch!” cried the sparrow. “I’ll have my revenge!”

The driver heard the bird’s proclamation, but only spit a glob of chewing tobacco out his window in response.

Seeing the truck was hauling a load of furniture in its bed, the sparrow had an idea. The truck was missing its tailgate, and the furnishings were held in place by a single rope. “I’ll have my revenge!” cried the sparrow. But the man didn’t hear him this time, as he’d turned up the volume of his stereo, which now blared Led Zeppelin. So the sparrow went to work pecking at the rope, until finally it snapped. Immediately items of furniture began falling from the truck and breaking to pieces all over the road. But the man was oblivious to this, as he was listening to Robert Plant screaming “Whole Lotta Love.”

When the man finally noticed he had lost half his load, he stopped the pickup and hopped out to see if any of the fallen furniture could be salvaged. He quickly assessed it could not. While he was arriving at this conclusion, the sparrow started to peck at the old pickup’s front driver’s side tire, flattening it immediately.

When the man saw this, he screamed, “You filthy little bastard!”

He reached down to the road and picked up a broken chair leg, and came up swinging at the bird. The sparrow quickly moved, and the man accidentally broke the back window of his truck, causing him to become even angrier. The sparrow then flew around the vehicle, and the man gave chase, still swinging the chair leg like a madman. Finally the sparrow landed on the windshield, and the man brought down the piece of wood hard. But the sparrow moved, and the chair leg smashed through the windshield.

“Goddamn bird!” screamed the man.

“It’s not enough,” said the sparrow. “I’ll have my revenge!”

And the bird flew away down the road, leaving the man to walk back to the city alone. Several hours passed, and finally the man reached his old ramshackle house. When he arrived, his wife was there waiting for him.

“Where’s the truck?” she asked.

“It’s a long story.”

“Thank goodness you’re here.”

“Why is that?”

“Because a bird flew into the house,” she said. “Soon it was followed by hundreds of other birds, and they’re pecking on the walls and shitting all over the house!”

This angered the man. He grabbed a hammer from the shed and went running into the house like a crazy person, swinging at every bird he saw. But he struck none. Instead, he hit his own furniture, breaking it to kindling. The wife saw what the man was doing, and tried to stop him from swinging the hammer, but to no avail.

Finally the man grew tired and gave up.

“Look what you’ve done,” said the wife. “You’ve broken every piece of furniture we own!”

“Still not enough!” said the sparrow, fluttering around the man’s head. “Still not enough!”

But the man got lucky as the sparrow grew cocky, and he reached out and snatched the bird. Now holding him in his arms, he instructed his wife to retrieve his hunting rifle. The woman disappeared into the next room, finally returning with the weapon.

“What do I do now?” she asked.

“Shoot this goddamned bird!”

He expected the woman to know enough to shoot the bird from a side angle, but she did not, knowing nothing about guns. So she fired at the bird, but only grazed it. She did, however, manage to shoot her husband in the chest, killing him instantly.

“No!” she screamed, falling to her dead husband’s side.

“I told you,” said the sparrow, “I’d get my revenge.”

And off he flew through the open door, singing as he did.

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