I peeked through the slit in the curtains. A buzzard stared straight at me, not two feet away. I snapped the curtains shut. Then, I took three terrified breaths, and shuffled over to the windows on the back of the house. I peeked out again. Damn. They were everywhere. The buzzards had been there all morning; pecking, poking, screeching and clacking. Freaking me out. I crumbled against the wall. Henry, my husband, the rancher, told me once that buzzards were attracted to the smell of death. Which hadn’t bothered me at the time, but now it sent a chill up my spine, because I almost died a month ago. Got thrown from a horse. Now, the smell of death was on me. That’s why the buzzards were circling my house. They had come to get what was owed to them.
I shivered, then tiptoed over to the phone and called Henry. “You’ve got to come home. Buzzards are circling the house.”
Then, because it occurred to me that buzzards might have a keen sense of hearing, I lowered my voice and breathed in the phone. “They want to strip my bones naked and eat me. Come home. Save me.”
Henry chuckled. Then, whispered back. “Honey, there is nothing I’d rather do than run home and ravage your bones, but I’ve got people in my office and a meeting to get to after they leave. So, simmer down… and relight that fire when I get home.”
Oh. I stared at the phone. He’d hung up. I couldn’t believe it.
Okay, so I’d made some sultry offers in the past.
But this time, I really needed him.
And not for just for sex, but because I didn’t know how to get rid of the buzzards. I was a city girl. I had rarely ever seen a buzzard before. And I’d never had one so close.
Panic swallowed me.
I called Henry back and whispered. “Henry, I really need you. They want to eat me.”
“Kathy,” Henry said, in his I’m-trying-to-be-patient-voice. “I can’t come home right now.”
“But, they’re swarming all around the house. They’re lining the fence. They’re in the trees. They’re even sitting on my chase lounge out by the pool. And…” My voice hit a shrill note. “They’re crapping everywhere.”
When he didn’t respond, I added, “It’s because I almost died.” So he would understand.
I could feel Henry stiffen through the phone. “Kathy, are you telling me that there really are buzzards around the house?”
“Yes… Because I carry the stink of death.” I lifted my arm and took a sniff.
“You didn’t die.” Henry sounded annoyed.
“But, I could have. If I’d landed on my head a little bit harder, I might have cracked my skull open. Then, my brains would have run out all over the ground. Or, I could have even broken my neck. Snapped it like a twig. Then, I would have been left flopping around, like a fish. I really could have died. That’s why I carry the scent. That’s why there are buzzards everywhere. That’s why I’m terrified. Why won’t you come save me?” I said, ending with a wail.
Henry exhaled, defeated. “Okay. I’ll come home.”
Twenty minutes later, Henry walked in the door, looking like thunder. “So… Where are the buzzards?”
Stunned, I blinked. “They’re out there.” I ran to the window and threw back the curtains. “Look. They’re everywhere. Can’t you see them?”
Henry’s eyes narrowed into little slits. “Those are blackbirds Kathy. BLACKBIRDS.”