The Swan Song in G#

two swans
Audio recording of The Swan Song in G#

Once upon a time, Sam and Serena Swan lazily paddled along the shore of iama island. Snow and ice rimmed the shore like salt on the rim of a margarita glass. Or so Sam had described the scene to Serena. Sam is so romantic, she thought, gazing at his glossy white feathers with her black as night eyes. Serena imagined herself a romantic as well, missing the part that such poetry should be aimed at admiring her true love, not herself. 

two swans

Sam was in the prime of his life and should have been busying himself with challenging other males to move up the ranks, but Sam’s lack of ambition didn’t bother Serena. She’d rather her mate’s attention be on more importants matters, like her. Besides, they were both introverts and would rather wander off by themselves, as they’d done this morning. 

The flock came in handy when they were under attack, searching for food, or scouting for a place that offered protection in a storm. But for the most part, Sam and Serena preferred just being in each other’s company. They might as well live it up before they had another brood of little ones. Thank the gods the last two cobs had finally grown up and gone their own way. She had lost more than a molts worth of feathers over those two little turds. 

two swans

Suddenly Sam stretched his neck up, staring off toward the island’s sandbar. Serena followed Sam’s gaze. What she saw chilled her already chilled blood. Serena began back paddling, while Sam looked right and left for an escape, as Egor and Wanda swam toward them. 

Trumpeter trash, thought Serena. Why couldn’t they just leave Sam and her alone? As much as swans displayed an image of fairy tale magic on the river, there was a lot of innuendo stirring below the surface. Serena watched Egor and Wanda’s heads sharply bob up and down, the equivalent of a swan shaking a fist and shouting profanities. 

swans on Mississippi River

How uncivil, she thought. Wanda would never be that brave if she wasn’t with Egor. Serena had gone out of her way to be nice to Wanda when they were growing up, even though Wanda was from the wrong side of the river and trumpeted in an E flat, instead of the proper G sharp.Wanda thought it was funny. It wasn’t. And Egor, the only thing he had going for him was his wing span.  That bad boy was as feather-brained as they come.

Oh, oh. Egor and Wanda were picking up speed. Not a good sign… They spread their wings and flew, slapping their webbed feet across the surface of the water, throwing up an impressive spray.

swans on Mississippi River

And there was that damn Egor wing span in all its tawdry glory. Serena wanted to place the tip of her wing into her bill and gag, but she wasn’t that flexible.   

swans on Mississippi River
swans on Mississippi River

Where was Sam? He’d been by her side a few minutes ago. Serena glanced around and saw that Sam was clumsily running across the ice-covered sandbar, away from the wild goose chase.

swan on ice

She sighed. That was the problem with being in love with a poet. All honk and no bite. With Sam out of reach, Egor and Wanda fixed their gaze on Serena. Oh goose crap, she thought, looking towards the sandbar where Sam was intently grooming his feathers, as if preparing for a black swan event. He wasn’t making any moves to defend her. 

swans on Mississippi River

There was nothing for Serena to do but swim away, glancing over her right wing and honking, being sure to hit the proper G sharp. Wanda merely rolled her beady eyes and swam closer to Egor.

swans on Mississippi River

The gulf of open water between Serena and Sam, continued to widen as the current pulled and pushed at Serena. Was this the end? She felt her heart breaking. 

Suddenly Sam flew over Egor and Wanda, unloading his morning breakfast as he passed by. With a honk and a giggle, Serena spread her wings and joined Sam in the sky. 

And so it was that Sam and Serena, despite their ups and downs, and broods of gangly, needy offspring, managed to live happily ever after.  

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