Objectivity and the Art of the Documentary
1046 words long
"Here we see an example of the subspecies Homo sapiens suburbana in its natural habitat...."
Notes from the author:
In the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, the nine of pentacles features a woman, bird perched upon her wrist, standing in front of a splendid house. I have it memorized. It comes up quite a lot. At least, so it seems; this may be selection bias talking. In any case, every time I pull it as a writing prompt, I feel like some kind of Janey One-Note. A woman, a house, and a bird. OK, go.
One day I shall put together a short story collection called, I don’t know, The Aviary At Nine Pentacles Lane, something like that, and it will include “The Magpie’s Big Heist,” and this fictionette here, and every other story-like object yet to arise from having pulled that dang card yet again. “A woman, a house, and a bird. OK. Go.”
“Here we see an example of the subspecies Homo sapiens suburbana in its natural habitat. Note the size of the nest. Impressive, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it is a peculiarity of the subspecies that only one mating pair and their young will tend to inhabit this kind of structure, and they will guard it jealously. Another is the wide expanse of artificial meadow in front of the nest, which the family will regard as their personal territory. Should another’s young even set foot on the grass, one or both of the mating pair will react aggressively, threatening violence...”
The magpie paused the digital recording and tightened her grip on the camera’s lanyard. Her mate sidled closer and murmured, “I believe the words are, ‘Get off my lawn.’”
He was going a little gray around the beak these days, and he moved more slowly than once he had. He preferred not to fly when he could help it. And he was the magpie documentarian’s best sounding-board and critic, and she adored him.
“Am I generalizing too much, do you think? I fear that perhaps this neighborhood isn’t a sufficiently representative sample....”
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for May 20, 2016. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1046 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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