MISFIT DOC: Little Brown Bird

You have to check her mouth every time.

Is it alive?

The cat dragged it in.

It’s stunned.

I always forget.

Sometimes they just snap out of it and fly away.

Make her speak before entering.

Mice play dead and then sneak into little holes in the floorboards.

Playing dead works for bears but not for mountain lions.

The cat got it and then let it go.

I think its wing is broken.

It hid in the pocket of my jeans.

Once they get you, they get you.

They live in the house until they die and rot into a sack of bones.

Maybe it fell out of its nest or the mother pushed it out as a test but it didn’t have the wings to fly.

They can squeeze through the tiniest crack.

She was shaking and stared at the pocket.

It’s in a state of shock.

She’s a good hunter but not so great at killing.

Do mothers do that?

This time of year I see baby bird corpses on the street all over the place.

I didn’t even think and picked up the jeans and the mouse ran away over my hand and wrist.

I want to scoot them into the gutter so cars don’t completely crush them.

Not my cats.

I screamed.

Killers, all of them.

You’re so sentimental.

While trying to capture it, all I could think about was getting some kind of rodent virus.

Every year there are millions of birds that die in the jowls of cats.

But then I don’t and just walk away.

The French, by the way, could care less about dead birds.

I love the attentive composure of a cat trembling close to prey.

Once I poisoned some mice.

It’s just the food chain.

It ran away under our armoire and I thought that we’d never catch it.

That’s what she said, really.

I scrubbed my hands up to my elbows immediately after I captured it.

Just because they couldn’t care less about a quail killed for dinner doesn’t mean they might not feel sad about a dead heron.

She’s very precocious and unsentimental.

Ever since we decided to let the cat outside she is way less insane.

I thought we would have a mouse living with us forever but then I just stopped hunting it and let the cat do what it’s born to do.

Klaus said they never go back.

Although they did ban that one dish with ortolans.

It was blue and bloated and near death.

And she got it somehow.

I dumped it down the sewer a block away so it would never come back.

Without a cat, traps are the best way to kill them.

My cats wake me up when they’re chewing on rat skulls.

She started playing with it and then when the mouse played dead I captured it.

At the expense of mice and birds.

They just snap their neck.

I screamed like I never had before.

Like my mother’s sneeze.

And by being pushed out of nests by mothers.

I would imagine that there are French birders who have capped off a day of birding with duck confit for dinner.

It’s a family joke.

That’s definitely country living for you.

She has no idea.

You can put a puffy Scünci around its neck and the birds can see the lurking cat.

They’re tiny little birds that they prepare whole and eat them by popping them into their mouths.

I want her to get the mice.

Who’s Klaus?

We could use a bell.

I have no proof.

She’ll never tolerate a puffy Scünci.

He had a special thing for cats.

Our cat died and in like a week there was mouse shit all over the place.

Let’s give it some water.

He would grin at them like he was the only one who understood.

Bells don’t work.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Try these olives with a little chunk of cheese.

It was more of a loud crunching.

They just end up pooping blue turds everywhere as they slowly die.

Scüncis totally aren’t my thing.

Do raccoons eat mice?

That’s about the extent of my memory.

Bear attack survivors have described hearing the sound of teeth gnawing into their skulls, basically a crunching sound.

Remember that scene in that movie about that guy studying the wolves?

They eat garbage.

It’s a good combo.

And kittens.

Once they get a taste of meat, it’s over.

It’s becoming more alert.

I have a major fetish for Scüncis.

It’s so hot today.

How do they capture all the tiny birds?

Poor little bird.

It’s not just a wolf film.

It’s blinking.

You’re going to pick it up?

I put all the dead mice in my neighbor’s bushes so if a mouse is playing dead and springs to life, it will seek refuge in their house instead of ours.

Are you sure it’s millions?

Maybe it’s like the guys in vans who pull up to parks and net a bunch of pigeons for pigeon hunts in places like Pennsylvania.

That’s a lot of hunting and even more killing.

There was a mountain lion hit by a car on the Merritt Parkway.

All it takes is seeing just one walk by.

I can’t believe you have a completely wild animal perched on your finger.

It’s cute.

I want to keep it.

We should just kill it or bring it to the Audubon Society.

We’re so close to it.

It’s a sorority sister thing.

In Connecticut.

It’s not that hot.

You can see why people were drawn to domesticate them.


It must have taken hundreds of years, maybe millennia, to get rid of the wild in them.

They just keep a bunch of birds no longer fit for the wild.

It was a mess.

I don’t think they take little brown birds.

They have a term for that.

Like baby smelts.

Think of all those first domesticated birds going crazy in cages.

I saw a vulture once there.

The bones are so fine they just kind of melt into your mouth.

They’re probably still going wild.

We should just euthanize it, like put a sewing pin in its head to snuff it.

They never lose it.

It looked at me like carrion.


Even though the actual lifespan of a bird is shorter than a human, their perception of their lifespan is the same.

Please, don’t say, “sewing pin.”

It won’t even feel it, like when birds fly into windows and are stunned but then fly away only it won’t fly away.

We just got a new salad spinner.

The French have banned all kinds of stuff I never would have imagined possible.

That’s how they kill frogs for dissecting.

I think that when I hit my head on the bottom of a table.

I’m obsessed with greens.

She could totally pull off saying sororal.

I couldn’t do it.

I can’t believe that there is a way to study how a bird perceives the passage of time.

I’ll do it.

But that dish is actually making a comeback.

That’s how I feel about “knitting needle.”

And now Spain too.

You always overdress the salad.

You think it would survive as a pet if we put it in a cage?

How did they do that anyway?

Do they still do that?

I would think that they would have stopped that by now or they just do something with computers.

Remember that scene with the knitting needle?

Med school training on real cadavers is slowly being replaced by computer simulation.

My palate is shot.

I never would have believed it would happen there.

We should just put it in a jar and insert the jar over the end of a car exhaust and then close up the jar really fast.

Anyone up for a drink?

I would at least hope they save a few cadavers for surgeons who should at least cut into some dead flesh before opening up something with a heartbeat.

After that scene, I never looked at a knitting needle the same way again.

It has to do with brain metabolism or something.

But when would we do it?

Like one day of heartbeats in bird time add up to the perception of a week of life lived.

We park in the street.

Someone might see it and turn us in.

I had friends who did it, but they live in an isolated place.

It’s all in the ratios.

That guy’s always watching us.

I wouldn’t be able cut into flesh even if it were dead.

It’s practically becoming the California of Europe.

Birdlife is totally intense and compressed.

Their cat was really old and sick so they put it out of its misery with the car exhaust.

Just do the math.

Did they come up with some contraption, like a feline death machine?

There’s something definitely going on with surgeons.

I didn’t ask.

Let’s just put it in a box and give it some water and have some drinks to stimulate our appetite.

I didn’t want to know.

They were totally broke and couldn’t afford the vet.

I’ve kind of grown attached to it.

It worked and it was free.

I’m going to be so sad when it dies.

Half of them are probably sociopaths and get off on it.

If we did that here that guy would totally turn us in and they’d fine us or we’d go to jail for putting a half-dead bird out of its misery.

You think it’s going to die, really?

Rosé or red?

This bird is finished.

Do you have any white?

I can feel Death hovering over all of us.

Try this.

We don’t do white.

Remember that whole thing with the crows?

We should bury it or just throw it in the compost.

It was mosquitoes, not the crows.

I’m so hungry.

Let’s just put it in this box with some water.

When they fumigated in the middle of the night.

And pass along some avian contagion to someone’s vegetables?

But the raccoons will get it.

It’s been a long time since crows have fallen out of the skies.

Put it up there.

Let them get it.

The sun is going to bake it.

Late one night my friend was fumigated by an insecticide blower.

Here, try this.

They’re so smart and sinister.

I love Rhone reds.

You’re being so melodramatic.

Every time bird flocks start falling out of the sky, I think, Well, I guess this is it.

We know nothing.

It’s been such a long time since then.

No thanks.

They totally creep me out.

No, really, it’s okay.

I saw a super fat one down by a loading dock.

You’re not into cured meat?

Hovering Death, you’re so funny.

I guess that’s that.

Just give me a little.

Okay, enough.

Au revoir, little bird.

Here, drink up.


Wade Nacinovich's work has most recently appeared in Sleepingfish and gobbet and he will have an upcoming piece in Thrice Fiction No. 21. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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