Mum opened the paper package and the tang of vinegar flared my nostrils. I pinched a chip and tossed it high, opening my mouth to catch that hot, salty, crunchy stick of yum… But before that delicious morsel had the chance of delighting my tastebuds, it was rudely snatched from the air.
The next chip I grabbed went straight into my mouth as a greedy group of gulls gathered around us. We teased those seagulls as we munched and crunched and filled our bellies to bursting.
Mum lobbed the first left-over chip. Oh the squawking and squabbling! “Don’t feed the mean ones Mum,” I tried to keep my chips away from the bossy gulls.
“Try to feed that one,” said Mum, throwing a chip at a one-legged gull.
“He got it!” I cheered.
Then I noticed another seagull towards the back. He was struggling to get closer to each chip, but he kept tripping. Fishing line was tangled around his legs and his wing.
“That one, Mum, aim for him, he looks like he needs a feed.”
“He needs more than just a feed Molly,” Mum said directing a chip towards the flailing gull. Another seagull snatched it and flew away with his prize. We threw chip after chip in the tangled seagull’s direction, but he was never able to get to them first. Not once did he squawk, instead he silently sat.
“I’ll lure the others away then you feed him Mum,” taking a handful of chips I ran along the beach. A flock of flapping followed. But five persistent gulls stayed, staring at the last two chips.
Mum tried to shoo them away, but they were not scared. So she chucked a chip behind her and two of the gulls raced after it. I ran at the remaining few and sent them flying, but they multiplied in the air and settled again—squabbling and squawking.
“Hide it Mum,” I said. Tucking the last chip under her towel Mum pretended there was none left. Those gulls were not stupid. They stayed and stared and squawked. The quiet bird still sat in the sand. He stayed and stared too—squawkless.
Further down the beach, a family gathered around a steaming paper package. Red beaks pointed towards the wafting aroma. The flock rose as one, flapping like white knickers drying on a windy day, and quickly surrounded the potential source of their second course—all except one.
I held out the last chip and edged towards him. He touched his beak to the chip, but didn’t take it. I could see why as I grasped the end of the line. He didn’t struggle as I untangled his beak, his wing and his feet and offered him the chip again. Silently he took it, ruffled his feathers, stretched his wings and nodded his head.
“You’re welcome Squawkless!” I called as he took off up the beach to join the jostling group, ogling the next family’s tasty treats.
|Squawkless by Sally Fawcett|
Sally Fawcett is a mum to three gorgeous young kids who provide wonderful inspiration for creative writing. She is a primary school teacher and aspiring author of picture books. Sally is passionate about writing for children and has been working on her illustration ability through Tania McCartney's 52 Week Illustration Challenge. You can see her artwork and other little creative things she does here at Sally's Blog.
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