[This post was originally presented to a smaller audience on September 22nd, 2016. A few days later squirrels hacked my blog and posted it to a wider audience. Squirrels understand that information, like bullshit, wants to be free.]
Things were looking up for Edward. His “training regimen” was becoming more and more enjoyable. Gone now were the terrible early days when he had been a useless hawk. Edward shuddered at the thought; beatings, waterboarding, that thing they did with ice cubes (ugh!), and so on. Now things were much more pleasant.
He sat on his perch and eagerly answered questions:
What was the most pressing issue facing a squirrel these days? Edward chuckled to himself; this was so easy! The first few times he’d given completely ridiculous answers like “storing food for the winter” and “avoiding cats”. He was so much smarter now.
“Privileged misogynist male squirrels!” He shouted.
Terry asked a follow-up question. “Why?”
He opened his beak to continue but remembered his lessons and clamped it shut. He must resist malesplaining the situation to his betters. After all, he might be transspecies but he was still limited by his cisgender orientation.
Terry watched him slyly for a few minutes and when it became clear Edward wouldn’t utter a peep, she nodded. “Very good Edward. Would you like a reward?”
She pressed a button on an iPod and the earbuds Edward was wearing blared forth. The song filled his heart. Eagle by Abba. It was his song!
When he’d been brought here, his benefactors had stuffed earbuds in his ears. They played the song 24/7 for days. How many days? Edward couldn’t remember, but it was many. It was on a loop and they only stopped to swap rechargeable batteries.
“…now I’m under their spell
I love hearing the stories that they tell…”
Edward was in bliss.
“…I dream I’m an eagle
And I dream I can spread my wings
Flying high, high I’m a bird in the sky
I’m an eagle that flies on the breeze…”
Edward hummed happily.
“..As all good friends we talk all night, and we fly wing to wing
I have questions and they know everything
There is no limit to what I feel, we climb higher and higher
Am I dreaming or is it all real?
Is it true I’m an eagle?
Is it true I can spread my wings?”
Yes! Yes, it was true! Edward was an Eagle goddamnit! Not only was an Eagle but he had good friends and he had questions and they knew everything.
Ten feet away Mary watched in awe as Edward, eyes gleaming with joy, swayed to the music. She tapped Terry’s shoulder and the two left to consult in private. They climbed to a hollow in their oak some distance away.
“When I read about Stockholm syndrome I had no idea!” Mary enthused.
“Yep, the fool didn’t just move into town, he became the mayor!” Terry smiled.
They’d both expected taming a wild hawk to be hard but it turned out rather easy. For one thing a pretentious git with a large vocabulary is prone to manipulation and for another their timing had been perfect. The post skunksplosion transspecies raptor was ready for a new psyche to replace the battered original and they’d easily filled the void.
Abba had played a major role in the transformation too. A few days of abusive treatment followed by 63 consecutive hours of Abba was all it took. From then on Edward accepted anything they said as the word of God. Terry and Mary could have made him their slave but Abba made him their disciple.
“Watch this” Terry smiled.
She grabbed a microphone from a hook on the wall, clicked a button that interrupted Edwards music, and without giving the bird even a fraction of a second to adjust, she barked another question.
“What is our goal?” She barked.
“A gynocentric Utopia of complete peace and intersectionality!” Edward shouted.
Terry smiled and turned off the microphone. Edward immediately started humming again.
The squirrels looked at each other and nodded. He was ready.