Sunday, July 23, 2006


I couldn’t get any work done at all. If it wasn’t the chirping, it was the fluttering. Papers were swept from their place as soon as I lifted my hand from them. And small shadows darted all about, making it hard to read. For sure it was distracting.

It was impossible to count how many there were, but I reckoned at least two dozen birds were inside my office. They were small birds, sparrows and finches from what I could tell, but when you get that many in an office, it seems like hundreds.

There were feathers to deal with too, and that might have a cute detail except for the worst thing of all. Bird shit everywhere. My desk looked like the lining of a bird cage in no time. How was I going to route those invoices when they were spattered with green and white smears of bird feces? But I didn’t have time to redo everything. And with the birds, it would just get messed up again.

“How’d they get in there?” one of my coworkers asked me when I went to get coffee. My previous cup hadn’t lasted more than a minute before I found a few tufted white feathers floating in it. This time I was taking a saucer to put on top of the mug.

“How should I know?” I said. “They were in there when I got in on Monday.”

“I don’t understand. How can you work in there with birds all over the place?”

“Makes it tough,” I said. I took a danish from the box someone had left on the counter. I only wanted half, but I took a whole one back to my office. The birds would finish it off. It was the only real benefit of their presence.

She shook her head. “Somebody should do something about it.”

“I’ve been assured that they’ve called the management company. The maintenance guys are busy, I guess.”

“That’s ridiculous!” she said.

Our office manager darted into the kitchen and poured a quick cup of coffee. He smiled. “Yeah, but they’re cutting our rent in half for the month, so that’s something.” He darted out again.

“So something good’s coming out of it,” I said. “Anyway, I gotta get back. Last time I left, they landed on my keyboard and somehow rebooted my computer. This whole spreadsheet got corrupted somehow.”

I took my coffee, saucer, and danish back down the hall. The incessant birdsong grew louder as I got closer to my office. I picked a few pale tufts of stray feathers from my sleeve and pressed on. It would be a long week.