(originally published in The Raging Face)
Under the shadow of the big bird, Morris scuttled furtively to the next destination. Morris had two responsibilities: inspection of automatic opening doors at the airport, and replacement of defective wheels on baggage carts. Not more than 20 minutes ago, the wheel of a baggage cart had mysteriously deflated, while the cart was on the black rubber mat of an automatic opening door, causing the door to malfunction and stay jammed shut. Morris had sped onto the scene in his little utility truck. With his right hand, he used a mini-pressurized pump to re-inflate the baggage cart tire, and applied an effective sealant to prevent further deflations. With his left hand, he adjusted the electronic spring mechanism of the automatic opening doors, using tools that had been hand-cast by a reclusive toolmaker living in the Swiss Alps. Morris had fixed the baggage cart, but the doors were still not working quite right. “This will require more testing,” Morris said to himself, quietly but with great intensity. To do this testing, he needed to disable the current in the automatic opening doors, causing them to remain shut.
Arthur the Bird always knew that he was different. He was bright orange, buzzing with an inner electricity, not fitting in with the other birds. When flying through the sky, Arthur would scan the vicinity, an orange rind helmet on his small bird head. On his mind was the image of a leftover Orange Julius in a Styrofoam cup, at which he would later peck, absorbing the sweet juices. One day, as the flock was flying over a Washington D.C. city park near one of the airports, Arthur the Bird soared down to a green bench. On the bench was an orange briefcase that had been forgotten by a man in a severe dark suit. Arthur began pecking at the briefcase, as the flock flew out of sight. While Arthur the Bird pecked at the briefcase, he did not realize that it contained secret government documents concerning mobile weapon systems. He pecked and pecked, eventually prying it open. Clutching the documents in his beak, Arthur headed skyward.
Seconds after Morris disabled the automatic opening doors, Arthur the Bird, having soared down, and scanning the airport terminal area for a trash container containing an Orange Julius, slammed beak-first into the plate glass of the automatic opening doors. The mobile weapon systems documents fell out of Arthur’s beak-grasp, fluttering to the ground. Morris quickly picked up the documents, looked at them briefly, then walked over to the ‘Long-Term Parking’ lot, where he, for no discernible reason, dropped the documents into the backseat of an abandoned aqua-marine 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible. The documents were eventually picked up out of the car by airport parking lot workers and thrown into the trash and eventual incineration, away from the prying eyes of terrorists and enemy governments, and as it turned out, saving the world from nuclear annihilation.
Morris looked at the ‘Out Arrow’ sign on the automatic doors with great concern. Due to the collision, the sign was torn, and covered with beak blood stains. He opened a compartment of his utility truck and found a replacement ‘Out Arrow’ sign. He tore off the old sign and attached the new one. Then he completed his work on the electronic spring mechanism of the automatic doors, with great urgency. Under the shadow of the next big bird, Morris scuttled furtively to his next destination, the airport food court. Nearby, Arthur the Bird found a leftover Orange Julius and pecked at it, before becoming involved in more adventures of international intrigue.