the morning cigarette
The word persecution is a pretty relative term, he knew—its definition widely dependent upon the epoch in which it is uttered or thought. I haven't even been stabbed, he reminded himself, and here I am bitching and moaning to myself about religious persecution. Fuck, plenty of people would've thought they'd gotten out easy if only they'd been stabbed first!
He flicked the long ash of his mostly-for-posture and highly contemplative morning cigarette, with which he could gauge the passing of time between introspection and the call for action, but for which his lungs were not yet ready, onto a pile of wet leaves that had become so bogged down with the rot of its ancestors and the muddy sludge they'd become that it had no chance of ever catching a free ride out on the wind and would have no choice but to sit and wait patiently for its opportunity to be raked up next year—assuming he'd have less going on at the time. He thought for a moment about coffee, mostly just its smell, and decided to not let today be another day governed by irrational emotions and delusions of persecution. Big fuckin' deal, he thought, so I got kicked out of another stupid Bible study. At that precise moment a strange cloud descended upon him.
What seemed to be several thousand (but could have just as easily been a hundred or so) birds, probably something generic like robins, appeared from beyond the clumsy horizon the roof of his late-seventies trailer had strewn across the sky, between his point of view and the north. A frantic and noisy cloud completely unaware of the hollowness of its own bones and anxious to descend upon and devour more worms and spiders than anyone could ever accuse him of keeping in his humble little home. It could have been a sign from God for all he knew. It probably wasn't but it could have been. He stood up, wiped the mud from the soles of his flip-flops on the saturated dollar general welcome mat outside the door (before deciding to kick them off and leave them on the porch anyway), and went inside.
With that many birds in the air one of them was bound to take a shit.