By Pat Cunningham
In honor of the holiday, here’s a tale of a not-so-typical working stiff … accent on the “stiff.” No, the other “stiff.” Savanna’s got eagles where she lives; we’ve got something else. Where there’s light, there’s always the balancing darkness.
It’s a thankless job I’ve got, he thought, although with no real rancor. After all, he did provide a valuable service, otherwise it would stink to high heaven down there. And you just couldn’t beat the free meals.
Off in the distance an eagle soared, effortlessly majestic. Vulture Spirit sniffed. The pretty boys always got the accolades. People wouldn’t think he was so regal if they’d ever seen him eat. That hooked beak wasn’t there for show. Fur, feathers, entrails, bones strewn all over the place. And guess who got to clean it up.
He stretched his black wings and drifted lazily across the sky. Down below, his shadow would pass over some creature and provoke a shudder. That was his job: remind the living to treasure their moments, cherish their limited time on the planet, because all too soon it would end. He himself didn’t see to the ending, just the aftermath. A glorified janitor, he thought. That’s me.
So who needed to kill? He was a patient spirit; he could wait. His existence was all about waiting. His services would always be needed, always sooner rather than later. In spite of what the humans said, death never took a holiday.
He glided over a backwoods two-lane. A careless squirrel darted into the road, its mind on acorns and not on the approaching car. “Back to the grind,” he said to himself, and swung into an easy circle.