Peruvian Dappled Raven - Pavel Fransten

“John. Jooohn?” John was sitting on the faded couch when the sound of the door opening made him flail around and scramble to put the damp, tinfoil-wrapped thing in his back pocket. The doors in the apartment were painted badly, and when they opened or closeda smattering of dry white paint flecks rained to the tile floor. Conrad moved into the room slowly, head-first. “Hello John,” he said and smiled with his lips. “I would like to ask you if you have been in my minifridge recently.” Every time he finished speaking, he quickly placed the smile back on his face. John stood up innocently, then sat back down.

“I haven’t. Nope.” He said, trying to ignore the fact that his left thigh was slowly getting drenched in some kind of sauce. “Why,” he crossed his legs, “do you ask?” Conrad paced around the room. He lifted small items and looked under them. He performed inspections on all of the curtains. He spun around to face John, who was still sitting. Smiling aggressively, John cleared his throat.

“It is just that I made thirty-three sandwiches last night. I count thirty two in my minifridge now so I was merely wondering if perhaps you know where one sandwich has wandered to.”

John did the most casual thing he could think of and placed one foot on the opposite knee, and the other on the table in front of him. This caused several boxes of disposable vinyl gloves to topple over and join the white paint chips on the floor. John’s eyes settled on the gloves very casually.

“I’m going to answer your question. But before I answer your question, and I’m so definitely gonna answer your question, it’ll be a great answer, you can bet on that,” he took a breath, “I’m gonna ask you a question, and that question is why are there this many disposable gloves lying around?” he asked.

“I was merely painting a birdhouse.” Conrad replied, giving the drapes another rough patdown. “I did not want to dirty my hands with the, ah, paint.”

“I didn’t know you liked birds.” John said, shifting in his pocket-juices. “But anyway, I’m just gonna go and look for that sandwich now. I’m gonna look near the trashcan in the kitchen.” He waited until Conrad was puzzling at the underside of the worn couch and then tentatively scooted backwards into the tiny kitchen adjacent to the living room.

“I am very interested in birds. I enjoy their… small chirps.” Came Conrad’s flat voice from the other side of the thin wall.

“Right. Chirps.” John replied, scraping out his back pocket and opening the trash can. He paused and looked into the trashcan. “I did hear noises coming from your room last night. Was that birds? It was pretty, like, deep for a bird,” he continued.

“Oh yes, I was clipping the feathers of my rare Peruvian… Dappled… Raven. They are prized for their, ah, deep guttural calls. When the male is in heat, he attracts his mates with noises such as aaargh, and ohgodnooo.”

“Sounds about right.” John called out, paper-toweling the sauce off of his jeans. “Hey, Conny, I just checked in the trashcan, for your sandwich, you know. There looks,” he scrunched his face, “ and ok I get that I’m not a scientist, but there looks like a mess of human teeth in there.”

“That, is why you are not a scientist as I am, because clearly those are raven teeth. That my raven shed last night while I was mur- helping him in the molting process.” Conrad yelled out.

            John heard Conrad stomping into his room, and heard the hiss of the minifridge opening. He then heard the unmistakeable soft thumps of many sandwiches being thrown into something. In a moment or so, Conrad emerged with a cooler in one hand. “I will now go on a walk to the docks. I will eat every single one of my sandwiches there, which will be why I won’t have them when I come back here. Good day, John.” Conrad shouted the last few words and ran out of the apartment.He slammed the door closed and yet more paint flecks rained down. John decided to get a pizza or something.