Jonathan’s friend Gary had different thoughts; dangerous thoughts. “What if they’re giving our babies a better life out there?” Gary had said to him one evening, as the two of them built catapults that would propel them over to the pig’s territory. Jonathan had nearly dropped the giant piece of slingshot rubber he was holding in his beak.
“Now, I’m not saying what they did was right, or that we shouldn’t you know…try to figure this out,” Gary said, “But it just doesn’t add up. We don’t even know if it was the pigs that took our eggs.”
“That’s fool talk,” Jonathan said, “Of course they took them! Who else would have done it?!”
“I don’t know Jon,” said Gary, “But you have to admit, for kidnappers these pigs seem pretty mellow. How come they always just smiling and sitting there, Jon? They never do nothing to us. They just…sit there. I think they might be..”
“Might be what, Gary?”
“I think those pigs might be retarded, Jonathan. That’s what I’m saying. I think those pigs might be retarded. Look, in all these months, killing all these pigs, have we ever found a single egg of ours? No! Not one! Where would they be hiding them? We know these structures in and out…we built them, for Christsakes! And no matter how many of those green guys we kill, no matter what those news guys on Twitter say about there definitely being eggs in the shacks, we don’t have one piece of conclusive evidence.”
“I think the pigs are a red herring, Jonathan,” Gary said, “They’re patsies.”
Jonathan made a strangled laugh, which sounded like “Woo-hoo!” Gary was talking crazy. If the pigs didn’t have his kid, who did?
“I’m just saying…sometimes I think we’re on a suicide mission here,” Gary said, “How many of us have been used already to explode these pigs homes? Homes that we built!”
“So who are you saying took the eggs, Gary?” said Jonathan, his anger rising, “If you don’t think it was the goddamn pigs, then who took our babies away?!”
Gary looked around to see if any other birds were nearby, and dropped his voice to a whisper. “I think it was an inside job,” he said, “I think those damn white birds took our kids, and they’ve been using them as ammo to destroy the pig’s property on what we know to be a large section of coveted white-bird real estate! They get rid of the pigs, they thin out all us ‘undesirables’ and boom…property prices explode! It’s like they’re killing two birds with another bird. And a pig.”
“You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“Don’t I John? Think about it: The white birds still have eggs. They have a lot of eggs…eggs that they don’t mind exploding to bring down the pig’s houses.”
“They’re making sacrifices, just like we are!” Jon sputtered.
“Maybe, maybe not. But think about it….would you ever let your egg explode just to get at some happy, stupid pig? Or to destroy the measly homes we built for them? Would you sacrifice your son for that? Would you sacrifice yourself?”
That night, Jon didn’t sleep well in his nest. He tossed and turned while the constant Twitter stream continued unabated all around him. The white birds on TV were now talking about launching a nuclear assault on the pigs: A final Hiroshima egg-bomb assault that would level all the houses in the pig community to the ground. And then, said the white birds, they could start to rebuild the land. In honor of the children of their country-birds that had disappeared so tragically, the whites would build a bird-only community, with a memorial for all those who had sacrificed themselves to destroy the pigs and their ugly wood and ice structures.
Jonathan was an angry bird. That was what he knew about himself, the only thing he had left after they took his eggs. But Gary’s words had created a seed of doubt in his mind, which was now hatching into something ugly. He thought of all the eggs being dropped down on the city he built with his own two claws. He thought of those smiling, happy pigs that he’d never even seen move, let alone attack or steal. He thought of the white birds, and how badly he used to want to be one.
By the next morning, Jonathan knew what he had to do. He wasn’t going to be using the catapult today. Jonathan was going to fly. He was no longer an angry bird.