Sal Butacci has lost it…but his loss is our gain! As a finalist in our Wingnuts contest, we asked Sal and all the finalists to tell us a love story, and somewhere embedded (how can you have a love story without eventually being embedded?) he was required to use the phrase “…if only I had wings…”
(Look Closely and you will see the Original Brooklyn Eagle on the left, which fluttered from 1841 to 1955 before molting)
LIVE AND LET LOVE
by Salvatore Buttaci
“Ka Pow, tell ya boid to quit squawkin’!”
“It ain’t no bird, Jake. She’s an American Eagle.”
“Just de same, shut your ol’ lady up! I come here to drink and forget, not to hear a menagerie of boids, dogs, and cats drownin’ out de jukebox.”
Ka Pow tuned out Jake the same way he’d tuned out the roar of the big guns in Afghanistan all those hero years back then. He was there when in June of ‘52 The Fifty Years War finally closed down in a draw both sides winning (or losing) and Ka Pow still filled to the gills with hostility. He found a new home in the ring where he jabbed and uppercut his way to scardom but never the crown. Captain Aleksy Kapowski who, between battles in the field and the ring, at his own admission had degenerated into a lush-head drunk. Still, he had Willa, the eagle he loved.
Did I mention the Final Marriage Act of 2041? That would be helpful. When the Same-sex Marriage Act became federal law in every state in the Union, opponents raised their voices, not only those who insisted marriage was exclusively meant for a man and a woman, but those who argued, “Why not between a human and a pet?” And some deranged constituents insisted marriage should likewise include humans and inanimate objects like pencils, wrist books, and enviro cars. But the Supreme Court drew the line in Hoyt VS Wind-chime limited unions to human and beast. Oh, by the way, federal law also stated that polygamists limit their spousal numbers per union to no more than ten.
In the corner of the Brooklyn Buster Bar sat Ka Pow’s old war buddy Bradstreet. He had been wounded at Kandahar where he would have lost both his legs (he lost one) had it not been for the war dog Gilda who dragged him out of a burning brothel. Both Bradstreet and Gilda returned to Brooklyn and since had tied the nuptial knot, groom and war bride happy as all hell.
“Hey, Bradstreet,” yelled Jake, “talk to de missus. Ask her to keep de volume down to a low bark. But Bradstreet knew Jake was full of sour grapes. His longtime Tabby had run off with an alley cat Tom and the two felines would sing nighttime duets outside his tenement window.
Then Jake poured himself a tall glass of Vandermeer Victory Beer, and before long, fell into the solace of alcoholic sleep.
A fat old pirate on a barstool shouldered a parrot that talked incessantly. Finally Jake, roused from sleep, called out in a loud slurring, “Somebody wanna crack her? Somebody wanna crack her?” But no one was taking requests so the technicolor parrot on the should of the eye-patched bearded old man kept crooning, “The war’s over and we’re in love!”
Ka Pow rigged his glass under the beak of Willa. “Drink up,” he said, and the eagle dunked down and sucked up the golden suds as if she had never indulged before. When the glass was drained, Willa gently pecked Ka Pow’s wrist for more.
“You looking to get soused, Sweetheart?”
Willa bobbed her head yes. Though she could not speak, she was quite adept at getting her point across with nods and wing flutterings and tightening talons into the shoulder pads Ka Pow wore because love, painful as it was, needed not to draw blood. He’d done enough of that in the Big A. He was home now. America had won no matter what those scorekeepers on both sides had claimed. America had won the longest war it had ever fought. It had saved the flag. And as for the American Eagle, hell, he had married one! What more could a war vet ask!
The Brooklyn Buster Bar was packed solid. It was the usual Saturday night. In the dark corner the juke box droned on. Little Clyde (old-time rocker Little Richard’s grandson) sang the final notes to “If You Wanna Love Me, Love My Dog.”
Willa now was tugging at her eagle leash. Most married pets scratched the bar room floor when duty called, but Willa perched up on Ka Pow’s right shoulder could only pull her leash and peck into the pads. She needed to fly.
“Come on, Sweetheart. Let’s go outside,” he said. Then to himself, because he hated their being apart for even a short time, Ka Pow added, “If only I had wings.”
Salvatore Buttaci is the author of two flash collections, 200 Shorts and Flashing My Shorts, both published by All Things That Matter Press and available at Amazon.com.
Flashing My Shorts is now also available in audio book format at
Buttaci lives with his loving wives Sharon, Snookie, Willa, Little Clyde, Dunn and Bradstreet in West Virginia.