Funny stories in under 500 words.

All Those Punk Birdwatchers

You know, I’ve had it just about up to here with all these goddamn punk birdwatchers.

Who do they think they are? With all their Mohawks and spikes and other punk hairdos colored green and blue and pink or whatever other damn color they think is “cool” these days. Their tight jeans, with rips in the knees, crotches and buttocks. Worn-out leather jackets covered in patches that display anarchy symbols with upside-down American flags and middle fingers. Always with their skateboards and bikes two times too small for them.

And their language...

Well, let me tell you about their language…

Just the other day when I took my kids up to the park (you know the one on Mount Willington, next to the zoo and down the road from the arboretum), we’re having a good time. I got the binoculars out,  and we were scouting some feather, some rare tail if you know what I mean, and then they show up. They were looking so “cool,” smoking their cigarettes that they rolled themselves, drinking whatever they have mixed in those plastic bottles of theirs, and pointing at the sky, at the trees, in the clearings.

“Look at the mother-fucking Golden-crowned Sparrow,” they said.

“Fuck, that White-breasted Nuthatch looks bitchin’ this time of year.”

“Shit, is that a Western Scrub Jay? Fuck me!”

“Mother of slut! That’s a Townsend’s Warbler! This is the best fuckin’ day of my life!”

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I mean, my kids were with me after all. I had to say something, that’s just part of being a responsible parent. So, I approached the punks, the scum of the Earth, and I let them have it.

“You listen here you motherfucking pieces of shit! Everybody who knows anything knows that Townsend Warblers don’t migrate to this fucking region until winter. That’s clearly a motherfucking Yellow-rumped Warbler. Even a fucking moron would know that! If you’re going to watch, you better learn your fucking stuff. You people are fucking pathetic. Assholes!”

Jon Penfold is the author of The Road and the River: An American Adventure, which tells the true story of his travels across the United States by bicycle and down the Mississippi River by canoe. His short stories have been featured in numerous anthologies. For more of his writing, please visit


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