Maw Shein Win


      One day, an owl sat on top of a juniper tree. It opened its left eye and out flew a hummingbird. The owl said, “If there is something you need from me, just ask.” The ruby-throated hummingbird, at a loss for words, simply shrugged. After several weeks of buzzing around the juniper tree, the hummingbird got an itch to see what the woods had to offer. In the mood for a cocktail, she stopped at the irises for a couple drinks. As the first shots of nectar sank in, her head started to vibrate. Leaving the flower patch, she nearly collided mid-air with a stressed-out hawk on its way home from the office. A strange desperation hit the hummingbird as she careened around the tall looming pine trees which promised some dark but inevitable pleasures.

      A strapping blue jay hanging out at a buddy's nest caught her eye. Still on a sugar high, she slowed down to check him out. He was a bird's dream. His deep blue feathers were slicked back and his eyes penetrated to the very core of her being. Yet at the same time, an intuition urged her to return to the owl waiting for her on top of the juniper tree.

      “Haven't seen you around these parts before,” the blue jay drawled with a hint of a southern accent.

      “Just moved into town,” she piped.

      “Well, me and a couple warblers have a gig tonight. Maybe you'd like to join us.”

      She paused, “Well, why not?”

      As she entered the nest, she was struck by the dirty pine needles and broken eggshells that lined it. Her heart started to beat even faster than usual.

      “Where are your friends?”

      “Oh, they went to pick up some mikes…” The blue jay hopped over and handed her a double honey and tonic which she gulped down greedily.

      “You smoke j?” he asked as he pulled out a carefully rolled joint from under his wings. “It's good stuff.”

      She had never tried pot before. The blue jay, whose name incidentally was Jay, smiled mischievously and waved the lit cigarette under her nose.

      “Come on, girl, a hummingbird's life is short…”

      The bitter smoke filled her tiny chest cavity. She peered up at the twisted branches of the tree which looked like a vulture's claw ready to clamp down at any moment. Her brain and belly swayed as the effect of the nectar cocktails and potent bud took over. The pine trees and the smirking blue jay began to swirl around her as she bent over in a nauseous qualm.

      Suddenly, the owl popped out from the hummingbird's beak and perched on the edge of the nest in front of her, slowly opening its right eye. The surface of its eye gleamed with a brightness that filled the nest. The hummingbird felt as if a wave of white downy feathers were falling all around her as she flew straight into the calm of the owl's eye.