She didn’t ask for it when the bird flew in her window. One moment she’s driving her little coupe down the boulevard and wondering where her daughter might possibly be this time, and the next there was a flutter and a thump at her passenger’s side door. At first Agnes thought someone had thrown something. She’d just passed a group of teenaged boys, three of them, out walking together, one pushing another, all laughing, and the next there was the flutter-thump.
Those little bastards threw something at me! she thought, and she glanced over to see if there was any damage to the window.
Agnes didn’t recognize it as a bird, either, not at first. She thought it was a crumpled bag on the passenger seat. She was a tidy person, but her daughter sometimes borrowed the coupe and often left shit in the car. Maybe she’d overlooked it.
Then it spread its wings and started flapping around the interior.
Agnes didn’t scream. She wasn’t given to drama – that’s why she was so frustrated right now with her daughter. Her daughter had left the house screaming and slamming doors last night and still hadn’t come home.
She wanted to pull over – that seemed to be the wisest thing. But this was a busy street and that wasn’t going to happen. She rolled down the passenger window hoping it would find its way. Instead, it flew around the back seat and ponked itself against another window and fell quiet for a moment. God, it didn’t die, did it?
Then it fluttered up and hit her in the back of the head. Oh, this wasn’t going to do at all!
She pulled into a parking lot – some payday loan ----hole with a bright yellow sign with red letters – and got out of the car. She looked into the back window.
She didn’t know birds. It was just some brown little thing with a smear of red feathers around the edges and an orange beak. A cardinal-shaped head. Maybe it was a female cardinal. Wasn’t it the males who were bright red? She didn’t know birds.
“Get out of my f---ing car,” Agnes told the little bird through the window. The little ball of fluff didn’t move.
Agnes left the driver’s side door open and went around to the other side and opened the passenger door.
“F---ing move!” she growled. She flipped the passenger seat down so it wouldn’t bump into it and have a clearer shot. Nothing. She could see it, breathing hard, puffing and blowing. It almost looked like it was vibrating.
She went around to the driver’s side and flipped that seat down, too.
And that was when a woman, bundled up in a big coat, got into her car on the passenger’s side and shut the door.
“What do you think you’re doing?” said Agnes.
The woman looked at her.
“Ain’tchoo the one come to gimme a ride?” the woman asked.
“Well, can ya? Just to the hospital?”