All Stories, General Fiction, Short Fiction

The Birds by Adam Kluger

Clint Cherbouger was not an ornithologist. He liked birds for the most part. Mostly ducks. Pigeons were kind of gross and there were too many of them.

Clint’s dad had always said that Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was a favorite film. Clint thought the film to be unnerving and creepy.

Funny how the birds at the cemetery would all speak collectively- one at a time with varying patterns and pitch. They appeared to communicate in an organized symphony that seemed to make a lot of sense, while the wind pushed pleasantly through the dark locust trees and the oaks.

The gravediggers all smiled at each other and exchanged pleasantries as they went on their appointed rounds. Digging ditches for new tenants or doing some light gardening around graves marked PC for perpetual care.

Clint smiled to himself as he saw a black and white sign pointing toward the rest rooms. What was a coffin anyway but an eternal restroom.

The cemetery office attendant showed Clint and his old high school pal where the new plot would be. It was written on a cloth map that must have been at least 60 years old. Old school. The photos in the entranceway to the office showed framed photos in Kodachrome blue of a huge graveyard that was spacious and elegant.

Clint noticed with a sense of irony that the large telephone poles surrounding the Jewish cemetery all looked like giant crucifixes against a pastel blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds.


The whirring of lawn mowers and that fresh cut grass smell along with the summer sun reminded Clint of his childhood summers at Grandma’s house in Westport. Gorging on grapes and fresh corn from Wakeman’s farm. Sitting on rusted metal chairs with water proof canvas upholstery. Checking out fuzzy little caterpillars and dodging the rotting fruit from the peach and apple trees while playing croquet or wading in a portable kiddie pool filled up with a garden hose. The visitors house where he and his sisters would sleep had a small den with a rug that had a wonderful country smell. Things seemed simple and quite leisurely as a child.

Bill the handyman would teach the kids how to ride on their shiny new bikes in the driveway. A running start and then pedal pedal pedal…”you’re doing it, Clunk …you are riding…wait til Daddy sees how good you are!”

A loop and another loop then an awkward dismount softly in the clover filled grass to the amusement of Bill and Tillie and Savoy and the ladybugs and dragonflies.

“On the day that you were born the angels got together…”

The Carpenters song was the big hit that summer. The light blue and gold Cadillacs with the big silver and red fins gleamed in the sun thanks to Bill’s nifty handiwork with the rag and hose.

“Tillie, Clunker…” Savoy yelled from the steps of the big house – a light yellow color with white shutters. “Lunchtime!”

Fresh corn, Tuna fish on saltine crackers, grape juice and after lunch it would be time to play “old Maid” or hearts with grandma as Joyce prepared dessert.

The big house had rose scented hand soaps in the bathrooms and jars and jars of hard candies everywhere. A stately Grandfather clock in the living room chimed the hour faithfully. The house phone was black with a handle and coil and the black and white TV set always seemed to show Gilligan’s Island or Sesame Street or something called the moon landing.

Later in the day Clint had finished up a business meeting at a client’s UWS home office. The client was very eccentric although he did pay his bills. As he walked Clint out of the office it was impossible not to notice that the veteran entrepreneur had conducted the entire conversation with Clint, behind his large desk sans trousers and underwear. Clint was shocked at the unpleasant image that was now burned into his mind. Clint felt compelled to inform his client that “mooning” his other staff members was an actionable offense. And he should never do that again. Clint had thought he had seen everything but clearly this was the cherry on top of the “you need to stop doing business with fruitcakes” sundae.

Time to cut this freak loose

Time to make some serious life changes.

I mean who the fuck does that?

Crazy people do.








Adam Kluger

Image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay

2 thoughts on “The Birds by Adam Kluger”

  1. Hi Adam,
    The change in this is something that will always make me smile.
    To end with the image that you did is a touch of brilliance. It takes the reader completely out of where they were to somewhere completely different. But in a weird way it ties in by not being relevant. The reality is the randomness.
    All the very best my friend


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