The Soupster is unaware of criticism of his trash handling.
The second raven spread its wings and caught the air to slow its descent as it landed atop the roof of the covered unloading area of the Solid Waste Transfer Station on Jarvis Street. It picked a spot close — but not close-threatening — to the first raven who had been sitting on the roof for about five minutes already, studying the trash items spread out below.
“Patience, my tail feathers, I’m going to kill something,” quipped Raven Two in greeting, re-telling the old joke about the hungry vulture complaining to his fellow vultures. “How are you, you old grouch?”
Both ravens cawed and cackled, as a third circled overhead and landed on a nearby hemlock branch. Various other ravens, alone or in groups of two and three, occupied other trees and ledges in the vicinity, deep in their own business.
These were healthy Our Town birds, shiny and waterproof with stiff outer feathers and feathers underneath as soft and thick as fur. They were well fed.
A pickup truck pulled into the station and onto the scale outside the drive-up window of the Transfer Center office building. The window slid open and the human inside the truck and human at the window exchanged sounds that were incomprehensible to the ravens.
“A pickup truck,” noted Raven #1. “Fewer than there used to be, with all the SUVs and hatchbacks humans are buying instead.”
“What’s up with that?” said Raven #2.
“But isn’t a bed full of fresh groceries in a pickup parked in an empty lot just about the sweetest thing in Creation?” said Bird One.
“And we should know!” quipped Bird Two who cawed loudly, along with One, for a solid six seconds. This caused the raven in the hemlock to circle around and then land back in the same hemlock.
“Trash, in general, is disappointing these days,” said Raven One. “These humans are composting so much of what we used to find delicious about trash.”
“The bears have ruined it,” said Raven Two. “With bear proofing, we can’t even get the trash cans open half the time, even if the wind has knocked them over for us.”
Both birds watched as the Soupster drove up in his hatchback. He had a rickety wooden chair and a shovel with a broken handle to discard. The Soupster had just been to the grocery store and the “eagle-eyed” ravens could see three grocery bags lined up tantalizingly in the cargo area. The second bag in had green grapes at the top, Raven Two’s favorite. While not as big a fan, Raven One wouldn’t throw a green grape out of its beak.The grapes taunted both birds from behind shatter-proof glass.
The Soupster got out of the hatchback to toss the shovel and chair into the refuse pile, leaving his door ajar. Raven Two almost swooped down to make a grab for the grapes, but calculated the theft would be impossible.
Raven One looked down at the out-of-reach grapes and a trash pile with no food matter in it. It motioned toward the two dozen other ravens in the trees surrounding them. “An unkindness, as far as I’m concerned” it said sarcastically. “An unkindness.”
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