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Sky of No Scarlet

by Shlunka 11 months ago in Short Story
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Red Birds, Black Coffee

“They’re gone, they’re not coming back.”

“So what?”

“What about when I’m gone? Will you miss me?”

“Of course, why would you ask that?”

“Do you miss them?”

“Not really. I never saw one, even when they were still around.”

“How do you know? Maybe you looked right over one.”

“They’re bright red, I would have seen it.”

“We don’t always see things, even if they’re obvious.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“We could save them. You know that.”

“WE can’t do anything.”

“You don’t know that.”

“We couldn’t rehabilitate the species. We tried.”

“Did we?”

“They’ve dipped below the minimum viable population.”

“That doesn’t mean they have to die out.”

“Yes, it does. That’s exactly what it means.”

“What about the Lazarus Species?”

“Not everything can stay around.”

“Why are you so negative?”

“Things don’t always stay. The world doesn’t care, it’ll take what it wants.”

“We can make them stay. We can save them.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Why not?”

“People will still trap them and sell them as pets.”

“We can’t stop them?”

“Not all of them.”

“We don’t have to stop all of them.”

“There’s plenty of Scarlet Macaws elsewhere.”

“But not in Belize.”

“We can just bring more here.”

“It’s not the same.”

“Why not?”

“They’re dying, I don’t want them to die.”

“What’s wrong with dying?”

“That’s a stupid question.”

“You’re asking for stupid answers.”

“We don’t have to bring more in if we can save the ones that are here.”

“We can’t save the ones that are here. We don’t have the power.”

“We can acquire them.”

“How do you propose we do that?”

“I don’t know.”

“Exactly, you don’t know. Now let me enjoy my coffee.”

“There’s too much work to do for coffee.”

“Let me drink this, and then we can talk about your birds again.”

“If we don’t save them, who will?”

“I’m trying to drink my coffee.”

“If we don’t save them, who will?”

“Would you drop it? Someone will save them.”

“You don’t know that.”

“You don’t know they won’t.”

“I know they might not.”

“So what? If they go extinct, we’ll just bring more in.”

“We went over this already.”

“Exactly, so why are you bringing it up again?”

“Because you didn’t listen.”

“Just because I disagreed?”

“No, you disagreed because you didn’t listen.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do know that.”

“So how do we save them, then?”

“I don’t know.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“We could donate money some place that helps them.”

“What money? We have no money?”

“We have money for coffee.”

“Coffee money isn’t enough.”

“We have time. We can give them time”

“Our time is worthless.”

“Then there’s no reason not to give it away.”

“I like my time. Now let me drink my coffee in peace.”

“There is no peace when we are surrounded by war.”

“What war?”

“Less than three hundred left.”

“That’s not war, that’s relocation.”

“Where have I heard that before?”

“Oh, don’t bring the Nazis into this, please.”

“Father wouldn’t care about the birds.”

“How did you get like this?”

“We grew up together, you should know.”

“I remember a boy who wanted to save animals.”

“That boy became a man.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Sometimes you have to let things die.”

“That sounds like something he would say. We are better than that.”

“I am not better than that.”

“Yes, you are.”

“Why haven’t you given up on me?”

“I don’t give up on anything.”

“You’re right.”

“We should volunteer.”

“I don’t have time.”

“Yes, you do.”

“You’re right.”

“We can start this weekend. I’ll tell them that.”

“Tell who that?”

“The conservation people.”

“How do you know them?”

“I don’t, not yet.”

“It won’t make a difference, you know that, right?”

“It might.”

“You can’t know for sure.”

He sipped his coffee, but it had grown cold while he wasn’t paying attention. An inward smile hid behind his lips, knowing that his brother was right. He swallowed the coffee and replied.

“It might.”

Short Story

About the author

Shlunka

Visual artist and writer working out of a small Virginia town in the Shenandoah Valley.

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