GRANNY BONES’S SCARECROW
THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SCARE A BIRD
â€œThere is nothing,â€ thought Granny Bones, â€œmore infuriating than a blackbird in the garden deciding to squawk its lungs out when elderly ladies have headaches!â€
There was a blackbird in her garden and it was in a really joyous mood and wanted to tell all the world about it. So it raised its voice and issued forth a cantata about love and hope in a pitch-perfect trill.
Granny Bones felt nothing like loving or hoping anything and she scowled to herself before rushing into the shed and starting work on a scarecrow.
She had a bag of old clothes that she’d left out for a charity to collect, but the driver of the collecting van knew whose house it was and had skilfully neglected to call there out of a perfectly natural fear. Then she went, bold as brass, to her neighbour’s rabbit hutch and without a by-you-leave, stole all of the poor rabbit’s straw, totally ignoring the hurt expression on the bereft creature’s face.
Granny Bones was in a callous mood.
It didn’t take her too long to create a hideous monstrosity with a collection of evil facial features and a smirk slashed in lumpy red emulsion across it. She wasn’t too concerned about biological accuracy when she shoved two large potatoes and a carrot into its trousers, just for fun. Granny Bones, even when she had a headache that was being exacerbated by the enthusiasm of a singing blackbird, could soon see the funny side of things and, to her mind, there’s nothing more ridiculous under the sun than male genitalia, and proof-positive, in her studied opinion, of the non-existence of any god.
She took her scarecrow into the garden and propped it up as close to the musical blackbird as she could, and that bird cocked its head on one side and, for a few tiny moments, stared at it before bursting into the avian version of laughter.
â€œThis is a scarecrow, you silly scruffy creature!â€ she hissed at it, and in reply, quite distinctly, the bird sang I’m a blackbird, not a crow in a beautiful screeching treble.
â€œYou’re not very bright if you think I’ll scare that feathered fiend,â€ muttered the scarecrow, and because she knew she’d only just made it and that it was as inanimate as any home-made scarecrow can be, she almost jumped out of her shoes.
â€œWha â€“ at?â€ she stammered.
â€œI scare crows, not blackbirds. I’m skilled with crows. It’s my raison d’Ãªtre. They only have to take one look at me before they become scared out of their wits. But, on the other hand, Mr blackbird over there â€“ he can see through all the trickery and knows me for what I am, a rather badly-made effigy of something intended to scare a very different species of bird!â€
â€œYou’re â€“ talking!â€ screeched Granny Bones.
â€œOf course I am!â€ replied the scarecrow irritably. â€œWhat’s the point of having a gorgeous red mouth if you can’t use it to talk through?â€
â€œBut â€¦ but â€¦ but…â€ spluttered Granny Bones, meaning how in the name of everything that’s disgruntled can a straw-stuffed scarecrow know any words when its only five minutes old and hasn’t had time to learn even the most rudimentary ABC? But words, for once, wouldn’t come. The situation was absurd and although she frequently found herself totally in command of the absurd, this time she wasn’t.
The blackbird hopped down and landed on the scarecrow’s prickly shoulder. Then it hopped onto its arm, then dropped skilfully onto a clump of straw that was meant to look like a hand, then onto the frayed old belt that held an old pair of jeans in position as a sort of very rudimentary pair of legs.
â€œWhat’s this?â€ it trilled, and pecked at the carrot that Granny Bones had stuffed mischievously behind its swollen zip.
â€œOuch!â€ squawked the scarecrow, â€œthat hurt! How do you expect me to father any baby scarecrows if you demolish that vital part of me?â€
â€œIt’s delicious,â€ squeaked the blackbird, teasingly. â€œLet’s see what else we have in here…â€ and it bobbed its head around and took another peck.
â€œOuch!â€ roared the scarecrow, and â€œdelicious, potato,â€ sighed the blackbird.
â€œI’ve had enough of this!â€ snapped Granny Bones, petulantly.
â€œYou have â€¦ what do you think I feel about it?â€ wept the scarecrow. â€œHaving my bits pecked by a bird that refuses to be terrified, and me not yet half an hour old!â€
â€œCome with me!â€ raged Granny Bones, â€œHalf an hour, you say? It’s time I put you to bed!â€
â€œBut I’m not at all tired!â€ protested the scarecrow.
â€œYou will be,â€ she promised, and within ten minutes she had dismantled her scarecrow, returned the straw to her neighbour’s grateful rabbit and made a vegetable stew out of its slightly-pecked genitals.
Then she poked her head out of the kitchen window.
â€œHey, Mr Blackbird, have you got a sixpence?â€ she asked.
The creature cocked its head on one side.
â€œWhy?â€ it asked.
â€œBecause I need to make a pie,â€ she grinned. Then it was her turn to burst into song: â€œâ€¦ sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie… go and find twenty-three chums, for me, will you?â€
But before she had gloried in the last syllable the blackbird was far away, and still flying.
Â© Peter Rogerson 12.02.13
Recently I wrote a little story in which I created Granny Bones, and someone commented that she’d like to know more about the old woman, and that suggestion inspired my kitchen sink saga, and others. Recent episodes are