Micky the magpie has his nest in the high branches of the eucalyptus tree that overlooks the car-park of the BP service station in Carlingford. His parents have their home in a not too distant pine and don’t mind the company of the possums that co-habitat that tree.
Micky found his wife Margie on the roof of the community centre that once stood directly across the road. Those were the day; you could find many a good stick on that roof, and behind the centre was the school where good scraps could be found after the lunch period.
With the centre now closed and demolished, and the kids at the school warned against feeding the birds, there was little to eat during the day. Hungry magpies become angry magpies and swoop at people either to get them to notice and feed them, or knock some morsel from the hands of an unsuspecting victim.
Micky had gained the attention of a kind-hearted service station attendant. Each morning at around 3am, the portly gentleman brought out the garbage of the day to put in the skip. At first the man put the lid down on the skip so entry into it was impossible. But once, just once he had forgotten, so Micky swooped down and tore greedily at the bags inside to consume discarded pies and out of date doughnuts. He cawed loudly to call others to the feast.When the attendant came to put extra garbage in, he saw the mess that was made and shooed Micky and other diners away.
He heard the manager yell at the man, whose name he then discovered was David to make sure he always put the lid down. David is hard for a magpie to say, even though on many occasions, when Micky saw David leave, he yelled out greetings to him.
David was a kind generous man. He figured out a way he could still feed the birds and possums while still placating his boss. Before putting the garbage into the skip after that first night, he would tear open a bag and scatter a number of pies and doughnuts around the garbage area for Micky and the other birds to eat at their leisure.
In turn, Micky would look after David. He decided that he would tell the other birds who it was that was feeding them so they would not attack him, nor poop on his car which sat in the car-park during his shift. At the end of his shift each morning, David came out to a chorus of birds greeting him and a clean car, while the cars surrounding his seemed to have been in a war with the birds and had lost.
Micky got confused once when David arrived in a different car. Although the birds were still fed, each car in the car-park received the same treatment. When David came out and saw his new car had been attacked as well, he shouted out to Micky.
“Hey’, he yelled, “This is my new car, please don’t shit on it.”
Micky spread the word that this was David’s new car, and soon it received the same loving protection as the old one had.
Over the years, David was able to watch the progress of Micky and Margie. He saw the youngsters hatch, being fed by their mother and father, and even learn how to fly. The kids even learnt to trust David, and which others who would not be hostile toward them.
The time came when David decided to leave the employ of BP. He called Micky from the tree and asked him to sit on the fence near the garbage area. There he explained to Micky that he loved the relationship that the two had developed, and that he would miss the greetings everyday. David invited Micky and his family to follow him home and to live in the tree in his backyard, but it was quite a distance away, and he knew the tree would belong to another family. He would be intruding, so he declined the offer.
So it was that the journey man and magpie traveled together came to a T intersection. Man had to travel one way and the magpie the other. David took his glasses off to wipe the mist off them. Mickey turned his head, embarrassed to see his friend cry, and not wanting to show his own sadness.
David got in his car, beeped the horn and was off. Micky flew above the car for a while, and then yelled his greeting to be passed on to each clan in trees along David’s trip home.
“See that car,” it said ” See the man in it, take care of him, he is an honourary maggy.”