The cawing started in the morning at no particular time, unlike the trills of songbirds that started at dawn. Instead, the cawing began with the flits of sprinklers, raspier than any alarm.

“I’ve never seen so many crows,” Ginny said. “Doesn’t West Nile kill ‘em?”

Her husband Davy sipped coffee. The cawing didn’t stop.

“Hear that?”

“Yeah. So what?” Davy muttered.

“It just goes on all day.”

Davy got up and kissed her.

“Well. Off to work,” he said. “Try listening to music.”


She knew the cawing wouldn’t bug her if she could close the windows. But Davy wouldn’t let her. He said A/C was expensive.

“Keep the windows open and use a fan,” he said. “You’ll be fine.”

Every morning, Ginny pointed the fan toward her desk. The white noise helped, but she could still hear the crows. Sometimes she covered her ears or turned on the radio. Nothing worked.

She had been laid off in January. She told herself it was just bottom-line but she knew the company had wanted someone younger.

“It’s not right,” she said.

“Right doesn’t matter,” Davy said. “Someone 25 is cheaper than someone 50.”

Ginny looked at her gray hair.

“I suppose,” she said. “They must’ve thought I would run up their health insurance.”

“Well that’s a possibility the older you get.”

“Jesus Davy. That fat slob Vicki is 25. And she smokes.”

“I know,” Davy said. “It doesn’t matter.”

“I’m going for a walk,” Ginny said.

She stepped out and wondered if she’d see the elderly woman in yellow pants strolling around the block. The woman always smiled and told Ginny she was a nice young person.

“Those crows are something,” the woman would say. “But never feed them. They’ll peck out your eyes and eat you when you’re dead.”

Image credit:Alexander Sinn

Ann Kammerer lives near Chicago, and is a recent transplant from her home state of Michigan. Her short fiction and narrative poetry have appeared in several publications and anthologies, and have received top honors in a writing contest or two.