A lonely person picks up a rotary dial phone and calls a random number. A voice on the other end talks to them for an hour. They never tell each other their real names and just…talk.
Back then the system wasn’t too good. There were pops and crackles, fuzzy sounding voices between clear times. Still they talked about things. Why the world doesn’t look right, why their lives are not what they expected. Dreams, hopes, loves and hates.
They laughed, and almost cried too. Out of fear of “ruining it” they choose to never speak again. Thank each other and hang up.
Those were better days. People talked to each other. Shared ideas without fear, without passing judgement. People knew how to be polite, considerate, authentic… even tolerant.
This takes places in the 1970s, USA. Back then, we had rotary telephones in homes and workplaces. They were called a “tele – phone” because unlike a telegraph… it was SOUND.
(working title) I’m writing this story live. If I don’t snoopers may try to sell it before I publish it. Stand by… (copied from Linkedin after I finished as is for now)
After working hard for years, an old man is retired and alone. He knows he is near his end, or he thinks so. Gives away his expensive things to friends and family and has his little money to live on and enjoy his final days in peace.
He has just enough to get by, but things are getting more expensive. He doesn’t want to burden people he cared about in life. Just wants to fade away.
After losing his small apartment home and walking out, leaving everything there he takes to the streets. He has a terminal illness and knows his life is closing down.
One day he notices the young birds visiting him. Older ones watching them and him. Laying on his cardboard he gets up and goes to a store and with his last cash buys bird seed. He sits at the park and gives and gives… it last for days and he makes lots of friends with the birds and he lives in that nice park for a while with them.
The day comes and he is out. He sits and watches some birds come to visit, give him looks, peck around and leave again. Some come and fight each other at his feet and next to him on the bench.
Sadly he gets up, and slowly walks away. Birds chase after him.. scurrying at his feet… landing on his shoulders… on his head… flying by… some talking… some yelling… he just keeps walking slowly… no where to really go. His breathing isn’t well…
…his head is getting foggy.. he is not sure if he is walking or not. He feels very tired… and slowly loses consciousness. The birds land on his body, now just fallen on the path. He hears them, it sounds like music and confusion… they peck at his hair, his face, his jacket, his shoes, and stand and fight on him. Doesn’t matter their color, or size, or origin. Just birds.
Are you a bird? Do beautiful feathers stop you from pecking at people? Are you all in gray? Do you feel, special?
Joggers… come up quick and birds fly off… some fly and fly and fly… others hop out of the way still watching and looking for bird seed, which.. some may have dropped.
What does this story mean to you? What human would you be in this story if you wrote yourself in? Are you proud of the birds? Would you want to be one?
What are the joggers thinking of as they see this dead old man on a path? Take his wallet? Chase the birds away? Run off and pretend they didn’t see him?
There are many meanings in this story. Some people feel old and out of bird seed, even not near their own natural death. They feel like they already gave up a lot already.
If the old man got up, and walked back to an expensive apartment with all kinds of marble and gold. Had he still spent “all his seeds” for “the birds”? What if he had only bought ONE BAG in life and spent it all. Are the birds still “owed”? Is he responsible if the birds called more to his neighborhood?