By Nathan Dragon - Oct 23, 2017
The woodpecker used to be such a good thing. Sort of nice when he heard it.
You could only get so mad, he thought. It was a woodpecker.
Maybe would’ve even been good for the neighborhood, could’ve described it as rustic, because of the nature.
There were plenty of things and sounds happening all the time in the city that carried up the streets and alleys. It had been good to hear something from out of place. He, too, not from the city.
The woodpecker, though, so beautiful—it belonged to, he had found out after the fact, the Flicker family, a Northern Flicker—and only bothersome by proximity. Not like ants or roaches crawling over all your shit, materializing out of nothing, on you, in everything needed.
The woodpecking was the best sound he got to hear regularly. Something people finally didn’t do around him. Not any longer, though. Thanks to something people did do. And, come on, a jackhammer some street over. He saw them put the construction spray paint down.
And the woodpecker, dead in the sidewalk grass, on his way to the train.
It looked shiny, somehow impatient. The way a pair of empty shoes by the door looks like it holds a posture.
Whoever did it should’ve done it to the Big Shot and all the Big Wigs instead. The ones who got paid to decide things.
The only pure, natural—nature sound, sound of nature—sound muted, by someone in his neighborhood taking their rage out on the wrong thing. He blamed the ones who kicked the nature out to begin with, in the first days or the things he had heard people refer to as, not from around here, huh.
Who could he trust now?
The woodpecker, probably poisoned. Pretty easy to get at any hardware store from pest control.
Felt like someone in the wrong place, going to a worse one. And somebody else like they had the right. Couldn’t’ve been too much for someone to do. It was the easiest thing to do, to not have to change any personal behaviors or preferences.
The city was no good. Too flat.
Too flat and now, no woodpeckers.
The morning after he saw it, he swore he could still hear it pecking down the street.
He put his shoes on and ran, a few times, to check. It had not been.
Hadn’t even been ruffled by the wind or poked at by a dog.
A dead woodpecker, a Northern Flicker, left in the grass.
Then one day gone.
He noticed some sort of sense of control in the neighborhood started taking hold. A note on his neighbor’s door that said, Enough with the peanuts – squirrels are rodents.
Something happened at some point. Winners, losers. Everybody defensive.
All replaced by jackhammers.
He wondered what he would watch, now, from his window next to the door.