It had been a slow morning at Redemption but interesting nonetheless. Someone rescued a brown Sicklebill from and abandoned house and brought it to us. It always amazes me how humans can snatch a specie from it’s habit for our own gratification. This bird-of-paradise is usually found somewhere in New Guinea. I can only imagine how scared he must be. His plumage is gone, probably picked away in fear. It took hours to find suitable substitute fruits and berries to nourish him and when I did, he didn’t touch it. Curious as he was, he stayed far away from me. Unfortunately, he’s formed trust issues and it may end up being his demise. I’m going to do everything I can to get this little guy back in the sky in his rightful habitat. Wildlife Conservation should provide more help in this situation.
I appear from the rear of the clinic and find a man with a dog wrapped in his arms. “Hello. What can I do for you sir,?”
“Roman seems to be sick.”
“Lay him on the table so I can get a good look at him.” The man hesitated and began looking around for someone else.
“She’s out for the day. It’s just me right now. I assure you I’m very qualified in what I do. Go ahead, lay him on the table.” He sighs but resigns, watching me like a hawk. “Would you like to take a seat, sir?”
“No. Roman’s all I got and I need to see what you’re doing to him.”
“I’m not going to kill him.” I ground out.
“I didn’t say you were going to.”
“Didn’t have to. You obviously think I’m not competent enough to do my job.”
“I don’t know you. You’re new here.”
“Technically I’m not. Was born and raised here. I just returned home after a snafu. I’ve been caring for animals for at least nine years now. Is this information sufficient enough for you?”
“Do you speak to everyone like this?”
“Pretty much. No need beatin’ around the bush.”
“Do you plan to keep this job?”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Maybe I am.”
“I don’t know how long I’ll be in Janice Field. And for the record, you shouldn’t tick off the Vet looking over your beloved pooch.”
“His name is Roman and I don’t think you’d hurt a soul let alone an animal.”
“Depends. Snakes are a done deal. A dead snake is a good snake in my opinion.”
“Is that right?”
“What’s your name?”
“Hmm, London Bridges.”
“Didn’t I warn you not to tick me off. Roman here is in enough discomfort.” He laughed showing his pearly whites and full grin. “What’s yours by the way?”
“Well Mr. Goldsmith, I’m going to give Roman here an x-ray to see if he has something lodged in his GI tract. If he does, I’m going to go in endoscopically to remove any debris. It’ll be painless, I promise. And for added insurance, I’ll even let you look over my shoulder. Okay?”
“Sounds good. So London Bridges, you don’t like that name?”
“I shudder every time I hear it. Kids on the playground tried to use me for the bridges. They teased me a lot for my name. I’m named somewhat after my dad, Landon.”
“I like your name. It stands out among the Suzy’s, Amanda’s and Annie’s.”
“If it makes you feel any better, kids named me Abraham Lincoln.”
“I was tempted to call you that.”
“So what is it that you do Mr. Goldsmith?” I asked while I set up Roman for x-rays.
“I’m a painter and potter.”
“Nice. So you must live close.”
“On, Rockhill Manor.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah. Something wrong with that?”
“No one has lived there after an old couple died next to each other in bed. Last I heard, it wasn’t for sale. But that was nineteen years ago.”
“They have a heart attack?”
“From having a lot of sex from what I heard. They were found naked.”
“Suppose that’s the only way to go.”
“Yeah, we should all be so lucky.” I joked.
“What about you, do you have any children of your own?”
“Nah, too busy.”
“That’s not a good excuse London.”
“And what about you Lincoln?”
“I don’t have any.”
“Suppose it wasn’t in the cards for me.”
“Well get married. You’re still young. You don’t look any older than thirty something.”
“I’m forty and I’ve been married.”
“What happened to make you unmarried?”
“Wife died in a plane crash.”
“Oh. This may seem callous, but I wish I could tell you I’m sorry but I don’t know you that well and what’s the use in saying sorry? It won’t bring anyone back.”
“You have a sharp tongue. But I can appreciate your bluntness. When Maggie died I was so sick of hearing condolences. People wouldn’t let me forget about my pain for the first year of her death. Everywhere I went, it was sorry this, sorry that. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that’s the thing to do, but people need space to process. So I moved here, where no one knows me.”
“So you’re living in peace?”
“As much as I can. I don’t think I’ll ever get married again though.”
“Where are you from?”
“Mississippi. Used to be an attorney.”
“Defending all those guilty criminals, huh?”
“No. All my clients were innocent. I was very meticulous about who to fight for.”
“You must be real mart then.”
“My gut told me everything I needed to know.”
“Well Roman’s gut is telling a small story. Hmm…looks like a couple of sticks…or maybe…” I look closer at the scan crossing my arms over my chest, “crayons, pastels? What I know for sure is there is a bottle cap obstructing is tract.”
“Pastels you say? I have noticed some of my pastels missing. I just thought I misplaced a few of them.”
“Well, we shall see as I fish this stuff out of his gut.” A half an hour later, Roman was on his feet and multiple pastels and bottle cap rest in the stainless steel tray.
“Thanks. Roman has been this active in two weeks.”
“You’re welcome Mr. Goldsmith.”
“Call me Lincoln.” He stuck out his hand and shook mine. He wore a confident smile that oozed of intellect. There’s no need for my heart to skip a beat but it is.
“I’ll stop by Rockhill Manor to check on Roman if you don’t mine.”
“That’s okay with me.”
“Here’s a box of treats for Roman. He was a good patient today.” Roman barked fully agreeing with me.
“He’s only like this with Lisa. You must have a good heart for him to take to you this quick.”
“I’d like to think I have a decent heart. Have a good day Mr. Goldsmith and I’ll see you soon Roman.”
“Lincoln, and thanks for everything.” As he proceeded to leave, Lisa entered and I caught them smiling at one another. They briefly spoke, about what, I don’t know because I began discarding Roman’s gut surprises and disinfected the tray and table. Losing myself in the rear of the building, I pull down the x-ray film and tuck it away in Roman’s files.
“Hello Ms. Forsythe. Lincoln tells me you’ve done a mighty fine job with Roman.”
“Did what I know to do. I thought you were staying off today.”
“I was but decided to check on things here.”
“It’s been slow although I have a bird-of-paradise here. He’s in bad shape.”
“They are not even suppose to be in Janice Field or in the country. I’m sure some fool smuggled him here. I can’t believe people sometimes. Can I take a look at him?”
“Sure. I also called Wildlife Conservation, they should know what to do with him.” Lisa approaches the small cage and looks him over and shakes her head.
“I see you’ve found some food for him. Has he eaten any?”
“No. I’m sure he’s to traumatized to. He was found in an abandoned house. Luckily someone found him in time and brought him here.”
“When is Wildlife supposed to arrive?”
“No one answered so I left a message. I’ll keep an eye on this little guy until then.”
“Okay. It seems like you have everything under control. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
I spent the rest of the time trying to butter up Lucas, that’s the name I gave the bird. He resisted as I pulled him from the cage but soon settled. He looked at me in what I deem, curiosity. When Lucas built in the nerve, he tried to rush me. I almost couldn’t believe it. God’s creatures sure are fascinating, even the creepy reptiles. Lucas must have calmed his bird heart and hopped into my hands as a slim sign of trust. I set him on my shoulder and reached him for his bowl of fruit and water and set it besides me on the cold floor. Slowly he started to pick at it here and there until he felt comfortable enough to eat relaxed in front of me. Thankfully, earning a bit of his trust hadn’t taken as much time as I thought. I certainly didn’t want to leave him at the clinic by himself so I choose to take him home with me, sans the cage. Lucas had already been cooped up long enough, he deserved freedom. After securing Redemption, Lucas and I made our way to the car as a truck pulled up beside me. Brice sure had a funny way of showing up at the right time.
“Hey yourself weasel.”
“Whatcha got there?”
“A bird-of-paradise. Lucas is a brown Sicklebill.”
“Well what’s he doing here?”
“That’s what I’d like to know.”
“He’s in bad shape.”
“Yeah but I’m going to fix that. He’s going home with me, uncaged.”
“Didn’t know you had a place of your own.”
“I already have the keys and hopefully my things will have arrived by now.”
“The kids and I can help you with that.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Sure I do. Cameron and Amanda are in the back sleeping.” Brice pounded the back door and shadows immediately sat erect.
“You’re awful.” I giggled. My niece and nephew piled out the truck and stood dreamy-eyed in front of me.
“Cameron, Amanda, do you remember me telling you about London, your aunt?”
“Here she is in the flesh. Say hello.”
“Hello Ms. London.”
“London is just fine.”
“Now I’ve spent a lot of time teaching them to call their elder’s by their last names. You trying to undo all my hard work?”
“Not at all.” I addressed him. “But you two can call me London and pay no attention Brice, his butt is so tight, he can’t squeeze a quarter out of it.”
“London!” Cameron and Amanda laughed hearty until their dad cleared his throat. Their eyes threatened laughter again but they held their amusement in check.
“Lighten up weasel.”
“Weasel?” Cameron and Amanda said in unison.
“Forget it you two. We’re going to help your aunt move her things in her new place. You have any problems with that?”
“But, could we ride with London?”
Brice looked thoroughly offended. “Traitors.”
“You meet my children for the first time and you steal ’em from me.”
“I’m the cool aunt. You were right, looks like they will like me after all.”
“Get in your car London.”
“Remember, you’re not the boss of me.” I shake my finger and him and stick my tongue out knowing he hated being teased by me. Brice smirked and I knew he had plans for me and I wouldn’t be able to see ’em coming. Before I could get a foot in my car, another truck came barreling towards me then came to a stop.
“Is there something wrong with Roman?”
“No, he’s good. Am I interrupting something?”
“No, not at all. These two are my niece and nephew Cameron and Amanda. Over there is my brother Brice.” Not long after I mentioned Brice’s name, he was planted at my side.
“We’ve met before, Lincoln and I.” Brice added. “There was something wrong with Roman?”
“Yeah, he got into some pastels and ate a bottle cap. London here retrieved those things from his gut earlier today.”
“I see. What brings you back here again?”
“Right about that. London, I was wondering if you’re free some time, would you care to have dinner with me?”
Read next part here Mold Me (3)
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