The Woodpecker and I

The Woodpecker and I

I was sitting on my deck writing my Great American Novel; it was a beautiful day; the sun was shining; the birds were singing. The kids were at school; the hubby was at work. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day. I was just putting the final touches to the penultimate chapter, when he began; rat a tat tat, rat a tat tat. I looked high up in the tree that bordered my deck and there he was pecking away. It seems that we had a new neighbour, and an unwanted one at that, a Northern Flicker Woodpecker, the noisiest woodpecker known to man.  I went inside the house and got the earplugs that I use when my hubby has a head cold, when he has one of those his snoring rattles doors. I put the earplugs in and finished polishing the chapter. I had just finished when it was time to head in and fix dinner for my ravenous horde. Author 1, Woodpecker 0.

I set out the next day to begin the first draft of the final chapter of the novel that I had spent over thirty years crafting. Just in case, I went ahead and inserted my earplugs before I started. I had just finished writing the second paragraph when I was startled by booming machine gun like sounds, repeating rapidly. I had no idea what it was until I looked up into the tree again, and there he was pecking away at a hollow branch. I swear the sounds could be heard for miles. Since the earplugs had failed, I went inside to look for something to scare the noisome pest away. I couldn't find any noisemakers; however, I did find one of my sons' slingshots and some perfectly smooth stones. I headed outside to slay the bane of my novel; I was lucky he was sitting quietly on a branch staring right at me. I put the stone in the pocket, pulled it back tight and then let it go. When I woke up an hour later with a tremendous migraine and pain in my forehead, Mr. Woodpecker was back rat a tat tatting. Author 1 Woodpecker 1.

The next morning once my migraine had subsided, I went next door to borrow the fake owl that my neighbour had used to chase birds away from her cherries. She graciously gave me the owl and wished me all the luck in the world. How was I to know that those words would come back to haunt me and how! I assumed that all the noise I made leaning the metal ladder up against the tree; and moving all the branches out of the way scared Mr. Woodpecker off. I finished attaching the owl right next to the hollow spot on the branch. I had no sooner put the ladder away and sat down to continue writing, when this strange booming sound awoke me from my concentration. I looked around and then finally and dreadfully looked up into the tree, and there perched on top of the owl and pecking away at the hollow owl was Mr. Woodpecker; I swear he was smirking at me between pecks. Author 1 Woodpecker 2.

My loving husband convinced me to try one more nonviolent method, so I downloaded several audio files of hawks and falcons. I then hooked up my iPad to a couple of my sons' and husband's Bluetooth Speakers and played the sounds repeatedly. After about fifteen minutes I put my earplugs in and began to write again, not more than five minutes later Mr. Woodpecker began pecking all over again, only this time in time with the screeches. I decided it was time for a liquid lunch and surrendered to the feathered nuisance. Author 1, Woodpecker 3.

I wasn't about to let no feathered pipsqueak stop me from writing my Great American Novel. So, I headed downstairs to my grandfather's Gun Safe, and took out his favourite Remington Shotgun. I then opened the drawer where he kept his trespasser shells. These shells were his own invention half rock salt and half black powder. He claimed that noise and the cloud of black smoke and the pellets of salt flying past any trespasser would scare them so much they would never come back. I had no idea if they would work, however; I had to try. So, I trudged upstairs, went out to the deck, and carefully loaded the hand-packed shell into the chamber. I waited until I saw the flicker of his feathers, sighted and fired. When I picked myself up from the deck, and the ringing in my ears had stopped, I listened and looked for the feathered fiend. No sound nor sight of him, I cleaned the shotgun and then locked it back into the gun safe. Author 2, Woodpecker 3.

The next morning as I was getting ready to carry my cup of Sumatran Coffee out to the deck and begin writing I was surprised by a loud banging on the door. I went to the door and opened it and I had to duck or get smashed in the face by the ham-handed redneck Deputy Sheriff that was attempting to knock my door down. Before I could get a word out, he bellowed at me,

"Are you Mr. Wiebe Cumming-Wanton?"

"Yes, I am, why do you want to know?" I asked him slightly belligerently, as I was pissed at what he tried to do to my door.

Without answering my question, he shoved a fistful of papers at me,

"Sign these, I have other things to do."

I looked the papers over, and I about passed out; one was a citation for disturbing the peace, one was for firing a firearm in a residential zone, one was for endangering children. There was also a court summons for causing a public nuisance. All together the fines amounted to almost Five Grand. Author 2, Woodpecker 4.

I got in my car and headed to the courthouse to pay my fines, and of course, they wouldn't take a Credit or Debit Card, not even a Cheque, only Cash. The ATM there 'only' charged ten dollars a transaction. So, I got back in the car, went to my bank and withdrew the cash in five- and ten-dollar bills. I paid my fines, and then headed home for a well-deserved lunch. I was just about to sink my teeth into a huge BLAT on Whole Wheat when someone began pounding on the front door again. I opened the door and was about to give whoever was pounding on my door several pieces of my mind. I felt a blindingly sharp pain in my head and then everything went black. When I woke up in the ambulance, all I could remember was the smell of smoke, and some singed feathers. I passed out again. Author 2, Woodpecker 5.


It has been six months since that fateful day when I opened my front door and ended up in the hospital. I have spent the last five months here at Sunnydale Sanitarium, trying to recover my marbles. As I remember, I was almost ready to be discharged when a nurse announced that I had a delivery of a stuffed animal, I told her to bring it in. While, I was trying to figure out which member of my family had sent it she walked in carrying a large stuffed Northern Flicker Woodpecker! And that was all she wrote! Author 2, Woodpecker 6.



Editor's Notes:

Nice story, sad but nice.

Interesting, I kind of think you may have needed a bit more of that peaceful rest.

Perhaps you may be able to take some comfort in the fact that you won't have any further problems from that (wood)pecker.

 Do you know how long it will take you to finish your Great American Novel? ( As long as it takes wink)

 Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

Art's Notes:

Cute story, I sympathize with the author being interrupted by the annoying noise, but you know you shouldn't mess with Mother Nature!!!


Author's notes:

I have tried to write something a little bit more lighthearted than most of what I have written lately

Please let me know if I hit that mark.

I hope you enjoy another sample of my wild imagination.

All comments, suggestions, and even criticisms greatly appreciated at The Story Lover.