Sometimes when I'm roused awake in the morning, I wish all the birds would disappear. I mean I know they're birds and they don't know any better. They're doing bird things, chirping, Hey! Over here, there's food! Or I need a mate. Looking for a mate. Are you that mate? But when I've just gotten to sleep only a couple hours before and they wake me; man, oh man I wish they were dead. I never thought about the ramifications if that actually happened though. If I'd known, I would have taken it all back! I mean I didn't cause it. No human has that kind of power, but happen it did.
I woke up that morning as the sun hit my face and I knew I'd overslept. It was a rarity; those stinking birds usually did the job of waking me. I was all discombobulated at the fact I'd overslept and would now be late to my job at the bank, it didn't even register there were no birds to wake me up. I called my boss and told him I'd be there as soon as possible. He was understanding as it had never happened before. "Just get here when you can."
I jumped in the shower while my coffee brewed. I knew I'd need some. Ran a comb through my hair while I picked out which suit to wear. Dressed, grabbed a bagel, smeared it with cream cheese and wrapped it in a paper towel. Poured the strong coffee into my travel mug, grabbed a coat, keys, phone, and wallet then I was out the door. I hurriedly threw my coat on in the elevator and rushed down the block to the nearest subway station praying they were running on time today. I sprinted down the stairs, through the turnstile and down to the platform. That's when I finally noticed the time. 10:30! Of course, the trains would be on time, it wasn't rush hour! I took a few bites of my bagel and the train arrived. There were some people on it but not many. It was refreshing from when I usually rode. I took a seat and enjoyed my bagel with schmear and coffee as I rode in silence. I finished my last bite as we arrived at my stop. I guzzled about half my coffee down as I made my way up to the street. I walked another block and a half to my bank. I was a loan officer so I technically could have flexible hours, but I wasn't that type of person and always came the same time every day. 9 to 5 bank hours worked for me. I tried to sneak my way in and mostly succeeded until I stopped in the breakroom to refresh my coffee. Anna was there, my crush. She teased me about being late. "Michael, you're never late! You wouldn't be cheating on me, now would you?" She purred seductively in my ear as she leaned close, her breasts pressing against me.
I immediately could feel the twitch in my pants. Shit! Not today! She always knew how to drive me wild. "I, Um, Of course not, I overslept and..." I blurted out awkwardly and blushed. She gave me a wink and squeezed my arm before kissing me gently on the cheek. She'd never done that before and it went straight to my balls. "I, um have to go!" I stumbled out of the room, nearly spilling my coffee on both of us as I jettisoned to the bathroom. I heard her giggling as I sped away. Luckily, I didn't run into anyone else on the way there because it was very obvious to anyone what was going on down south.
After I took care of that situation, I returned to the breakroom and adjusted my coffee. I stopped by the boss to check-in. "You want me to stay late today and make up for it?"
"Nah. You've never been late before, I'll let this one slide. We'll forget it even happened. I think Anna has someone waiting for you so get out there." He commented with a smile.
He was a nice guy. "You got it, boss." I walked to the main floor and Anna was in the waiting area talking to an older gentleman. I stared at her in her pencil skirt and buttoned blouse. Damn was that girl fine!
She saw me and headed over. "This man needs a loan for his house, to fix the roof. He brought pictures, but I know how bad it is. He's from my neighborhood. I know he doesn't look like the ideal candidate, but please approve him. His wife is delicate and if the roof isn't fixed, she won't survive the winter. I'll vouch for him." She batted her silver-blue eyes at me and shamelessly traced the line of her collar to her breasts. I noticed but didn't look at them. I'd already dealt with that once this morning.
I was feeling bold for some reason. Maybe all the adrenaline of running late, maybe the fact I'd just jacked off in the bathroom. Whatever it was, I stared her down. "I'll do that on 2 conditions." Her eyes sparkled excitedly so I knew she was listening. "You eat lunch with me tomorrow. I know we usually go at the same time, but I'm off my schedule today, that's why I'm asking for tomorrow. So I can prepare." She nods. "And you go out with me Friday night."
Her eyes widen with a little shock. "That's awfully bold of you asking a girl out on a Tuesday for a Friday night date. How do you know I'm not busy?" She queries, cocking her head to the side a little.
I adjust my glasses. "I don't, but if you are then it's a Saturday night date." I don't know where this streak of confidence came from but I was rolling with it.
She looks me up and down before answering. "That's a bit ballsy for you Michael. But I know you have big cajones." She deliberately stares at my crotch before accepting. "Tomorrow for lunch and a Friday night date?" She holds out her hand for me to shake it and I do. "We have a deal."
She introduces us and my busy day starts. I'm good at my job. I have a sense about people, how desperate they are for a loan if they can really back it up. If they deserve the chance a loan would give them. Because of it, we have less than 1% default on loans. I watch the place while everyone takes their lunch breaks first. It's a little weird for me, as I mentioned I like my schedule and as such, I have to go buy some. I usually bring my own. I stop to pick up a gyro, some falafel, and hummus on my way to the park.
I like to go there, get in a little sun and nature. I grew up on a farm and although I don't miss it. I miss how close to nature it was. I settle down on a park bench near the pond. It's then I notice the silence. No robins, sparrow or chickadees twittering merrily in the trees. The honking ducks and geese that usually annoy me for a taste of my lunch have disappeared as well as the cooing pigeons in the square. Without the usual sounds, the air feels heavy and I quickly eat and head back. I think about it every now and then when I have a moment to spare the rest of the afternoon, but don't dwell on it.
I do end up staying a little late to wrap up some details on the last case of the day. I wave at Anna as she leaves watching her hips sway as she walks. "I'll see you tomorrow for lunch!" She giggles, nods and waves back. I'm very excited. I've been trying to work up the nerve to even talk to her and here I am going out to lunch with her and on a date. I'm very excited and can't wait to tell my mates. We have a weekly trivia night at a local bar on Tuesdays and you bet I'm going to boast.
I don't take the subway home so I can stop at the farmers' market to pick up a few things for our lunch. I'm taking her to the park and we are having a picnic. I get a fruit and cheese platter, some tiny chicken salad sandwiches, pickles, kettle chips, and artisanal sodas. I hope she'll be impressed. As I make my way home, I notice the sounds of the city more without the incessant chatter and warbling of the birds. I drop off the groceries, quickly change and head to the bar. I have to help uphold our winning streak. 12 straight weeks and counting.
It's a 6-person team and each week has a theme, which is why I'm surprised we've been champions so long. I guess you could say we all know a little about a lot of things so we're the team to beat. I'm the last to arrive and my cohorts have ordered me the weekly special. It's a brewery and they often try out new flavors on the patrons. We still have a little time before trivia starts so I brag about my good fortune today. "That girl, Anna. The one I've been crushing on at work?" They all nod in remembrance, I know I've brought her up a time or 2. "I finally asked her out. Lunch date tomorrow and a real date on Friday." I puff with pride. I know they are all impressed. I guess you could call us nerds or geeks. We're not so good with the ladies as a general rule, some of us more than others. Except for Brett. He is the cool one, our fearless leader. Heaven knows why he hangs out with us.
Brett pats me on the back. "I knew you could do it, Michael. Eventually." He gives me a sly smile and then we are thrust into the game. After about 2 hours we once again end up as the winners, although it's close with our rivals. They must have been brushing up on their knowledge as they've never been this close to beating us before. With an announcement about next week's theme, we ready ourselves to leave. "Did anyone else notice the lack of birds out today?" Brett queries our group.
"I did," I reply. No one else seems to have noticed and shake their heads.
"That's cuz you usually eat in the park, right?" I nod. "Didn't you find it weird?" Brett pulls me aside for a discussion.
"Definitely. I was actually late for work this morning because they didn't wake me like they usually do. They can't just be gone like that. Right? There has to be an explanation." I point out.
"Yeah, I'm surprised it's not on the news yet." He says as we step out into the warm night air. The chitter of crickets seemed exceptionally loud. "I'm keeping my eyes out tomorrow." We head our separate ways.
I set my alarm for the next morning just in case this isn't a weird fluke. When the tinny strains of ACDC's Back in Black wake me at 7, I know it's not. There's a small community garden behind my building and my bedroom faces it. I stick my head out the window and search the area for any signs of birds. I do hear buzzing insects and I usually don't. There's also no one out working in the garden. I give a little frown but go about my morning routine. I pack up a basket with the lunch for my picnic lunch date with Anna.
The morning goes smoothly. I didn't get to speak with Anna when she came in, but I saw here. She looks beautiful in a summer sundress with ruffled sleeves. I get excited as lunch approaches. She waits for me in the breakroom. "I forgot to ask you where we were going for lunch today." She smiles when she sees me.
I hold up the basket. "I thought we'd have a picnic. There's a park nearby that I usually go to."
"That sounds great, let's go." She loops her arm through mine and we leave the bank that way. There are a few people that look jealous and I'm ecstatic.
We get there and I spread out the circular blanket I almost forgot to bring under a large oak. I help her take a seat then start to pull out the food with a flourish. Her eyes sparkle in the dappled sunlight. She is a dream. I feel so lucky we finally get a chance to do this. We talk and eat. She loves everything I brought and we actually have a lot in common. "I wish there were some ducks here to watch." She mentions. She also grew up on a farm.
"There used to be." I notice some ants that have decided to ruin our picnic. I begin packing up. Anna spies them and helps. "Have you noticed the lack of birds lately?"
"Yes. It is a little disturbing. The news hasn't commented on it yet, but I'm sure people have noticed. It seems to me that there are more bugs around too." She gives a little squeak when the ants start to crawl up her leg. She brushes them off and hops up quickly.
"That I hadn't noticed, but if you don't like them it would make sense," I say with a chuckle.
"Am I that obvious? She asks a little sheepishly.
"That little shriek you just gave, yeah, it's kind of obvious you don't like bugs. We all have our thing." Without thinking I brush some hair behind her ear and lean in. Once I realize what I've done I kind of freeze, one hand on her shoulder. I hadn't realized how much I wanted to kiss her till that moment. As I stare into her eyes, they reminded me of wisps of clouds at twilight, as the day starts to bleed into night. I'm transfixed, mesmerized. Unable to form a coherent thought other than how much I want to taste her lips. I lick my own lips in anticipation but still can't move.
Our breath starts to mingle together and then she leans in to kiss me. I squeeze my eyes shut. I can't believe it! Anna is kissing me! My other hand comes up to cup her face as I deepen the kiss and she melts into me. I don't have much experience at this, I'll admit it, but I somehow know exactly what to do. Time seems to stand still until a dog barks and breaks the spell we're under. I can see the heat that's risen in her cheeks as we both turn away. She grabs the basket. "I guess we should head back?"
"Let me carry that." I grab for the basket and she moves it away.
"You carried it here. I've got it." She shimmies away from me back to the path.
I shake my head and follow after her, the blanket dragging behind me. When I catch up to her I slide my hand into her free one and lean into her ear. "My thing is rats and mice. I don't like their tiny furry creepy bodies." I say in disgust.
She gives a little giggle and nods. Oh, I could listen to her tinkling laugh forever. I smile. We walk hand in hand back to the bank. I'm on could nine the rest of the day. The rest of the week passes slowly and quickly all at once. I've always lusted after Anna from afar, but now that we are talking, the feelings deepen. I really like this woman. I hope she feels the same. We text now, sharing secrets and funny stories, getting to know each other more. I'm eagerly anticipating our first actual date on Friday. I still haven't decided what to do.
The news has finally picked up on the fact that all the birds are gone. The rise of insect activity has increased. People hadn't realized how much the bird population helped with that. Because there are more insects, it seems more spiders are appearing as well as the vermin I so despise. Some crops have already begun failing as well. The birds helped seed them. All of this in only a few days. It makes me wonder what's in store for the world if the birds have really and truly gone. I guess the bigger question is where did they all go? There are no bodies to be found, it's like they all vanished into thin air. I hope we can find an answer or I'm afraid of what's to come. I kind of wish the apocalypse would have taken its sweet time because I want to spend as much time with Anna as I possibly can. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to make the best of it.