I let the wind carry me to the ferry. The gentle breeze grazed my feathers pleasantly. The air carried the scent of fish, salt, and petrol fumes, which got stronger as I drifted closer. It made me want to scream in joy, so I did, and my flock returned my call. I maneuvered smoothly to a landing on the ship’s upper deck.
It was early spring, so there weren’t many humans there at all. Just was a woman in a brown hat and, sitting directly behind her, a man eating a sandwich. The sandwich was all I could see. I could tell it smelled good, even if the breeze blew the unctuous vapours away from me. I hopped a bit closer.
‘Caw?!’ I screamed to introduce myself and hope that he would share some with me.
He waved me away with his hand and took another bite.
This didn’t deter me. Maybe he’ll throw the paper on the ground, there will be plenty for me that he won’t want. Crumbs, each one filled with the remaining memories of the delicious ham and cheese and mayonnaise. Fish are great and all, but people food is just amazing! Once I stole a packet of potato chips from a child and brought it back to the nest. The child cried, but it was worth it, the young females in my flock couldn’t get enough of me then, making promises that would make a weaker gull fall out of the air if only I’d share a morsel.
The man continued ignoring me, his attention was with the woman. He leaned over to say something, which made her find another seat. He got up to follow, causing crumbs to cascade from his jacket onto the steel deck. Mine.
I never understood human males – females want the best snacks, the strongest wings and the handsomest call. You can never attract a woman without at least offering her a bite of your sandwich. How will she know you can provide for her young? Idiot.
I sensed the man’s attention wasn’t on me, so I called to the flock. They knew what to do to distract him further.
Just as the man was about to sit down, doubtlessly to bother the woman again without offering his food to her, one of my flock dived and delivered a salvo of excrement directly onto his head. He cursed out and dropped his sandwich, a droplet of guano dribbling towards the tip of his nose.
The sandwich was mine – the smell overwhelmed my senses and brought fire to my movements. The gulls would feast, and again I was their king. It was my plan and executed perfectly.
The man left embarrassed after his pathetic attempt for seduction, while the woman laughed. My flock and I laughed as well, as we pecked the sandwich apart. The sauce stained our beaks and feathers and the smell stayed with us for hours.
Maks Sipowicz is a writer and academic living in Melbourne, Australia. His writing has appeared in Ink, Sweat, and Tears, Australian Book Review, 3am Magazine, Colloquy, and Parergon, among others. He blogs at Philosophy After Dark and tweets @callmesipo.