I flattened myself on the ground, feeling the blades of grass curl around my arms and legs. It was unpleasant at first, but I had to do what my father told me. I quickly grew used to it, the dirt on my clothing, the discomfort of small rocks. However, it was necessary to ensure we weren’t seen.
“Now, you do know what we are looking for first?” my father asked, staring through the binoculars handed-down to him by his father.
“Uh...King Fisher?” I asked.
“Nothing so special today and we would go down to the river to do that. We are looking for a simple sparrow.”
“What’s the colouration?”
“Grey body, brown wings. Small thing too, so keep your eyes keen and make use of those binoculars I got you.”
I lifted the cheap binoculars to my eyes. I realized how cheap they were when I realized one side had a missing lens. Rolling my eyes, I closed that eye and focused on through the lens of my new monocular.
As I stared at the mass of trees, I felt something tickle my cheek. I brushed it off mentally as I thought it was no more than a tall blade of grass, but then the sensation rose up my cheek. I am not a big fan of bugs, but I don’t really mind them either. Still, one crawling up my face is a different situation.
I panicked, slapping my face and sitting up on my knees. The humidity of the day seemed to triple and I felt my face getting red. My father glanced over at me and sighed.
“With a display like that-” he began.
“They’re just sparrows, dad,” I replied. “They won’t mind us, we can sit or even stand.”
“Fine, let’s just do that.”
My dad settled back on his rear and gave an old-man groan as he did so. He had grown old through stress, not with time. That was the unfortunate circumstances of our situation. We weren’t the richest, we weren’t the poorest. If we weren’t working towards a better life, we were falling down towards a poor one.
With that in mind, we came out here to do some bird watching, but mainly discuss what was going to happen.
“You understand with your mother..,” my father began. It wasn’t the best choice of words so far. “Listen, uh...we need to start preparing for a move.”
“A move where?” I asked. “We can’t afford to go anywhere.”
“Well, it might be a good time to we considered it. We can’t afford to stay either.”
“We can, we just need to cut back. I can help pay the bills until things are settled.”
“And how long can you dip into your savings?”
“Long enough for us to get more money.”
My father stared at me and I stared back. It was amazing how his look could fill me with so much unfounded fear. However, it only served to make me braver in confronting him. However, this wasn’t a day where we took shots at each other. We had come to far to bring each other down, we were building each other up.
“What do we do?” I asked. “Just keep working and hope that something will stick? That something will sell?
“We’re getting better at it, we’re not exactly earning nothing either. The quality is there, we just don't have presence and quantity.”
“It all comes down to the amount of attention we get,” I murmured.
It always did. I mean, the more people that see a product, the more people buy the product. If we had a hundred a day, we earn three fans. If we had a thousand, we had thirty. Thirty a month would be enough.
There is a lot we learned from this line of work and as such we were growing smarter with our work. Afterall, it is easy to find a pattern when it is given to you, but we had plenty of trial an error of the years to know what works and what doesn’t.
“I’ve been thinking about finding different work,” my father told me. “I mean, there isn’t much one can do with what I am doing.”
“You’ve been doing quite well, better than me,” I told him. “I think you have the right idea and quitting now would be far more damaging.”
“I suppose, but you have to admit it is a little strange.”
“No it’s not, you have proven that. If anything, I am the one who needs to pick the ball. I’ve been dropping it over the past few months.”
“Now don’t be like that. You are in a better place than I was when I was your age. You should be grateful.”
I was grateful. Afterall, I had so much going for me, I couldn’t lose it all to some simple human flaw. I miss being lazy.
“Listen, I had enough of this conversation,” I told him. “There’s a sparrow over there.”
I pointed to the bird and eased back on the hill. The sparrow had friends, jumping along a branch, searching for seeds or something. I believe that as we watched the sparrows jump around, we both slowly realized what the stress of the next four weeks would be like.
Still, it was something we were used too. More than that, we also felt more energised. Afterall, talking about what needed to be done only made us want to start sooner. Time was a valuable commodity in a situation like this. I knew he felt the same because there was only so long we could stare at birds and do nothing.
“Come on, let’s get home,” my father grunted, groaning as he pushed himself onto his feet.
“Sounds good,” I yawned. “Let’s get an ice-cream on the way back.”
“Do you remember the conversation we just had?”
“What’s an ice-cream gonna do? It’s not going to put us in the red.”
“An ice-cream isn’t a car, dad, come on.”
“Fine, but we’re not getting the one with the cones. Those are awful for their price.”
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