Feeder Fighting

Posted: August 13, 2014 by writingsprint in Drama
Tags: , , , ,

hummingbirdFrom the kitchen window, Howard swore under his breath. A yellowjacket crawled along the seam where the hummingbird feeder’s lid met the cup that held the nectar. It would take a razor blade to poke under it when it was screwed on. Or, apparently, a yellowjacket’s mouth. It found a spot that it seemed to like and didn’t move.

Howard held his breath as a hummingbird approached the feeder. It buzzed to the left. The yellowjacket stayed still. The hummingbird came closer. It was looking to land on the other side of the feeder from the yellowjacket.

As it came closer, the yellowjacket’s wings lifted up. “Look out. Look out…” Howard said.

The yellowjacket headed for the hummingbird.

“Move!” Howard cried. The hummingbird flew circles around the yellowjacket. The bug kept coming. The hummingbird kept away from it. Howard could almost feel the yellowjacket’s stinger hitting his own arms.

The hummingbird backed off. The yellowjacket landed on the feeder. It tried to find the seam where it fed before.

“You little bastard,” Howard said. He squirted it through the window screen from a bottle of water that he normally saved for the cat. The yellowjacket flew off the feeder. Howard kept washing dishes. Ten minutes later, the yellowjacket was back but he’d seen no sign of the hummingbird.

Howard gave the yellowjacket a good shower with the water bottle. It took a suicide run at the window screen. Howard thought about the bug spray under the sink, but he didn’t want to get any on the feeder. He was still thinking when it flew away toward the woods on the other side of the yard.

Howard took down the feeder. He poured out the nectar, then rinsed the feeder with water about as hot as he could stand through the rubber gloves that his wife liked to use when it was her turn to wash dishes.

The hummingbird landed on the steel hook where he hung the feeder. It was the same one, leafy green with shiny feathers. It looked at him. Well? Where’s the food?

“I’m doing the best I can,” Howard said.

He soaked the feeder in a concoction of water and vinegar to give it a more thorough cleaning. Maybe if he washed it off, replaced the nectar… then what? Maybe if he taped over the seams where it was feeding. The little fake flowers around the sides were supposed to be too deep for insects to feed anyway.

The hummingbird cocked its head to the side. Howard imagined it was tapping its foot.

“Maybe I should use flowers instead of a feeder,” Howard said. He rubbed his chin. Howard hadn’t found a plant other than weeds that he couldn’t kill.

Photo credit: “Hummingbird crop” by Jon Fife at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

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