1528 c/o Andrew M. Kaspereen

Murdering the Murder or
How the
Bubonic Plague
Destroyed a Friendship

The last time we found a dead crow in the house, we determined that Jim would no longer be welcome in our home. My wife, Sylvia, was enough of the proverbial worry-wart to begin with, that was without our crows dying in the kitchen, the last thing she needed, and please indulge me in some word based fun on this one, was a murder of our murder.

Jim was a frequent traveler to England, a known point where the birds were dying faster than they knew what to do with. The reason was simple: the bubonic plague.

Initially, I was alarmed. “The bubonic plague? Didn’t that almost wipe out Europe in the middle ages?”

Jim was quick to dispel my worries. “Well yes, it was. But it’s different this time around. Now we only carry it and the birds are the ones who get sick.”

Despite Jim’s status as best man at our wedding, I didn’t think Sylvia would have liked having him over for cocktails, what with her penchant for letting the crows out during cocktail hour. She had raised them from birth, many of them left, but a large handful stayed. Say what you will about crows, but when they know where the next meal is coming from, they are quite loyal.

After the first visit of Jim’s, during which we talked about scones and the state of the dollar in relation to the Euro, three of her crows died. Sylvia was a mess. I tried to comfort her. “There there honey, I’ll go throw them in the road, and we’ll get a few new ones. It’ll be alright.”

Jim sent her a fruitcake as an apology. Sylvia threw it away, but claimed that the gesture was polite. I suggested we get cages for the birds and hide them in the basement. Sylvia glared at me and I voluntarily slept on the couch for a week.

At our next get-together, Jim wore trash bags and a bee keeper’s suit. Sylvia also would not let the crows, not even Tiberius who was known for his affectionate nature, within a five foot radius of Jim. When I offered Jim a drink, he said he would love one, but couldn’t find the area where he left an opening for his mouth.

Upon removing the trash bags in our guest room, Jim hopped out the window and told me that he was sorry about killing the three crows before and provided me with a wooden crow for Sylvia. “Just tell her that the ancient tribesman of London made these to keep the spirits of birds that had died from the plague inside for all time.” I asked if he whittled it himself, he told me that he had bought it from Target.

As I walked into the kitchen, Tiberius lay on the floor. Jim was lethal. Sylvia was crying again. I gave her the wooden crow. She threw it at the refrigerator. I slept on the couch for a month.

When I called Jim to tell him that he was not allowed over, he seemed to understand. “I’m not allowed in pet shops anymore, either. I guess that’s just how it goes. We’ll just have to email each other until she dies, I guess.”

I agreed, “Yep, but she’s healthy. It could be a while.”

“That’s alright, I can wait.” He said

I supposed I could too. A good friend was hard to come by and was decidedly well worth the wait.