by Roberta Smithies
The back alley was littered with overturned dustbins that had been blown around in the strong winds. Winds were considered a normal occurrence in this coastal area but these last winds had turned into a storm.
The gulls eyed up the debris. They stood on roof tops waiting to swoop down when the mood took one of them and then the rest would follow. The first to take off was a very large gull who landed on a filthy nappy, picked it up, flew off and almost immediately dropped it again into someone’s back yard.
Sam watched from his bedroom window. It was part of his daily entertainment either before or after school but today it was the weekend and he had all day.
‘Not the right flavour.’ He thought and felt revolted at the thought.
One gull in particular always came and sat on the roof opposite his house. It had slightly different markings from its companions and was less aggressive. Sam had a soft spot for this gull and whenever he could he put food out in the back alley for it. All the gulls swooped down but he kept food back that he threw specifically near this gull. It was usually a little apart from the rest so it picked up the food with ease. He noticed that over the weeks it had gained weight and seemed to look for him. He smiled. It was fun evading his Mum to feed what she described as pests, large vermin, worse than rats because you could see them everywhere. They made horrible screeching noises too.
loved the sound they made. When they went to the beaches around his house the
calling sound was haunting to him, evocative of sun, sea and sand filled days.
Wild lonely parts of the dunes watching shipping go past was his favourite
pastime. The gulls fitted in perfectly. The sea was where they belonged but he
understood they came inland these days for easy food and were no longer sea
gulls but just gulls. He didn’t mind .
Today he was happy because he had been able to feed ‘his’ gull quite a lot of stale bread. Also, he had saved some for the small birds that fluttered in and out of the area sitting in the few trees that were in his street. He felt he was fair in his distribution even giving pigeons food. The rats of the sky, his mum called them. He loved all animals. He named his gull ‘Beaky’ today. Tomorrow he would have cornflakes for him and his pals. He had an old half empty packet of them that his mother was throwing out. He could hardly wait for tomorrow. Beaky had flown off but he would be sat on the roof opposite again tomorrow morning watching for Sam - and Sam watching for him.