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About two weeks ago my lady love noticed some odd splotches on the pavement here and there in front of our triplex.

“What’s wrong, dear? Found some schmutz?” I said.

“It looks like…blood,” she said with furrowed brow. I looked around and noticed several of the splotches on the driveway and trailing along toward our downstairs neighbors’ unit.

“Oh yeah, it does, too.”

“There’s more over there,” she said, indicating several more stains toward the front door of our next-door neighbors’ unit.

“You know what it looks like?” I said. “It looks like bloody bird footprints. Maybe someone finally had it with those smart-mouthed crows.”

“Yeah, maybe. Come to think of it, I did hear a weird noise this morning. Like a mix between a dog whining and cat mrowling.”

“Maybe a cat and dog got into a fight with a crow and then the crow went to each neighbor’s door looking for first aid,” I said. “They are pretty smart birds. Not to mention smart-mouthed.”  I began grumbling to myself about crows, and then I guess the rest of two weeks happened.

So then this morning there was a horrible incessant cawing outside our bedroom window. “Caw,” went the bird. “Caw.” This was exactly the kind of thing I’d been grumbling about. It was about ten in the morning at this point, so technically the crow was within its rights as dictated by the homeowner’s association’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, but we’d had a late night in and out of Santa Rosa, and while beauty may come naturally to my better half, I, for one, require beauty sleep.

“Stupid crow,” I grumbled into my pillow. “No wonder you’re endangered.”

Later, we discussed the cawing over breakfast.

“Like seriously, what the hell is that crow’s problem?”

“Well, I guess it’s just their way,” I said. “I mean, ever notice that the word for the sound they make is the same as the word for the thing itself? It’s like, a crow IS a noise. No need for separate words. We don’t call dogs ‘barks’ or lobsters ‘lobster noises.'”

“This justifies nothing,” she said.

“Maybe it’s some sort of magic crow that’s resurrected some guy who was murdered.”

“….”

“…and now the guy has twenty-four hours to exact his revenge.”

“I don’t….”

“Like in the movie. The Crow.”

She sighed. “Yeah, I guess maybe.”

“Or hey, maybe it’s like, the best friend of that crow with the bloody footprints, and he’s been desperately searching for him these last two weeks.”

“Oh. That’s really sad.”

“Eh.”

By the crack of 3:23 p.m. we were up and spry, helmeted and out the door and ready for a bike ride. Our next-door neighbor was out front, taking out the garbage.

“Hey guys. D’ya hear our new crow friend this morning?”

“Oh geez YES, so annoying!”

“We called the SPCA to come have a look, and they noticed there were some fledglings over there in the bushes. This one’s the parent, teaching ’em how to fly.”

“Oh, that’s actually pretty neat! And that solves the mystery.”

But NOT the problem. The crow, still perched on the electric wire, crowed loudly seventeen more times as we stood there. “CAW, guys,” it seemed to say. “Guys: CAW.”

“Seems to me this situation calls for a…MURDER OF CROWS,” I said, savoring each and every syllable like bites of my wife’s delicious breakfast crumb buns.

She shook her head in tired exasperation.

“I am the world’s most eligible fiancé.”

“But it’s teaching its kids. That’s so sweet.”

“I still prefer my theory.”

“That it resurrected a guy and now he’s out for revenge? Why do you have to be so morbid?”

“No, the other one. That he’s looking for his dead friend.”

“That’s even worse!”

“You’ll miss all this morbidness when I’m gone.”

“Stop it!”

“Nevermore.”

She went inside without offering any further encouragement, leaving me and the crow with each other for company.

“CAW.”

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