Shannon went up to open the door of her house, a quaint country home in the village where she lived, She worked at the retirement home all day, and wanted nothing more than to put her feet up, have supper, and go to bed, doing three long shifts in a row, the patients antsy and difficult, especially now the holidays were here. The entire village was ready, the trees decorated, the shops lit up with pretty lights in their windows and tinsel strung. "Another holiday, just like the one before." she smiled to herself, not complaining but expectant, nothing ever really changed in Morrisburg, USA, pop. 5,789, a town of agriculture and little tourists. Every Christmas they went to midnight mass, and every Christmas morning the townsfolk held their annual parade, serving punch and baked goods after a morning out in the cold. Shannon Mulligan really didnt mind, and being a PSW here she knew everybody.

"Hi honey, your dinner's in the fridge, meatloaf, and dont forget to go pick up your parcel you got at the post office tomorrow." Her mother told her from the living room, not bothering to get up to greet her, it was already 8 pm. "Ok mom, no worries, i have the next three days off now anyway." Shannon threw her coat on the chair in the kitchen, popped the tray in the microwave. 'Wonder what that package is.' She thought as she forked down the dry meatloaf. She gulped the milk down fast, and went upstairs to bed, her mother having fallen asleep in the big old armchair as the cinders of the fire burned low, the tree lights glowed into the darkness of the room, butterflying their soft shadows of pretty color. "Maybe it's a condo in the city." She laughed to herself, as she undressed and went to the bathroom to wash.

It had snowed the night before, Leona made her toast and boiled eggs with oatmeal for breakfast. "OMG mom, i am going to be fat eating this stuff." Shannon pretended to cry out in exasperation, but she loved to eat all the same. She worked hard at the home, caring for the seniors there, Mrs. Johnson who was always so happy to have her read to her. And Mr. Collins, who never went without a tale or two of "back in my day......." He would always begin his stories of past life here in Morrisburg. So, then after breakfast and bundling up, she'd pulled on her boots quickly and grabbed her coat, she walked over to the post office.

"Good morning missy, got your envelope right here." Connor said to her, a short man with big shoulders, too big for his build it seemed, making him look awkward. But he had a kind heart, and had been the postal clerk for many years, never growing past his 5ft 4 inches.

"I have been wondering what this is all about, i havent had time to come until now with work and all." she reported to him. Connor nodded, she was a pretty thing although not glamorous by any means, Shannon had a handsome face, and thick black hair tied up always, one day he would like to see her with her mane down her back for a change. 'A man can only dream." he thought, she wouldnt date him anyway, he was just not the type women went for in a town like this. He was an odd one out, bullied by the boys through school days, the girls laughing and snickering at him as he would walk by to get to class. He was a funny little man now, but he had a heart of gold.

"Oh my, now what in the Lord is this all about?" Shannon put her hand to her face shocked at the note in her hand. "I got a pet at the co-op to go and pick up, a cockatiel bird of sorts, oh dear, what in the world am i going to do with that?" She cried out to him. Connor laughed, throaty and deep. "I dont know, you will have to get a cage and take care of it." He snorted out. He shook his head in disbelief right along with her, who in the world would give her a bird like that?

"I would like to know who gave me this outrageous gift in the first place?" She frowned and eyed him suspiciously. "Connor?" ....she didnt have to finish her sentence. Her answer was right there in front of her. "Connor i dont know how to care for a cockatiel let alone a budgie, what on earth were you thinking?" She asked him, as he sat in fear of her rejecting his gift of love to her. He always had a crush on her, he couldnt help it, and he got so lonely this tme of the year, it was impulsive he knew that.

"I can help you learn how to take care of it, dont you worry about that, i have three days a week off now." He murmured tiredly, his back was not right and he was in pain most of the time now so he had to cut his hours down.

"They cant be that hard to deal with, they need food and some love, it would be good company for Martha too." He kind of suggested rather than matter of factly, rubbing his chin with his hand. Martha was a widower after all, they were around the same age. This was a town he grew up in, his grandparents and greatgrandparents grew up in farmed, alfalfa to be exact. They worked hard, and the small community was tight knit, everyone knew everyone here, they were not exactly strangers, he thought. And it was Christmas, magical and giving, he shrugged. "it's just a bird, if you dont want it I can get a refund." He replied, as he got ready for the remainder of the morning, pulling out envelopes to sort through and putting them in their little boxed spaces one next to the other, one atop of the one below. What he did.

December 18, 2020 19:44

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Kathleen `Woods
09:53 Jul 30, 2021

This feels like it might've needed more, but I'm not sure how fun it could be to write non-spec pet fiction. The background on the actual human characters was nice though, and matched the setting well. Thanks for writing!


M. M.
17:31 Jul 30, 2021

thanks for the constructive thoughts, sometimes I am tired, or too lazy to "work" a story, I know it's not a good habit to get into, glad you were honest, any constructive criticism is welcome, cheers.


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