M

Unintended Consequences

by Jonathan Beight

Yesterday I watched a bird dart in and out of a bird house. Each time she entered the small wood structure she had a beak full of insects. After a few moments she would leave, beak empty, only to return minutes later with another beak load to feed her hungry babies. It seemed like an endless, exhausting cycle.

For fun I played a recording I found on the internet of this bird’s call, just before my laptop battery died. Immediately the bird emerged from the bird house and landed on a nearby maple tree. The bird called back and waited for a reply, which didn’t come. She called again and nothing. She called again, her head twisting at odd angles as if to improve her hearing, but she heard no response. She flew to a higher branch and called yet again, and still there was only silence. She flew quickly from tree to tree, continuing to call out, but all her calls went unanswered.

She expanded her search into ever widening circles. Her method was the same: land, call, wait, and move on. As she searched further and further from the bird house her calls began to fade in and out until I couldn’t hear or see her any more. I finally realized she wasn’t coming back.
I wondered how I was going to explain this to her children.


Jon Beight lives in Western New York. He has been published in Feathertale, Red Fez, Alfie Dog Limited, Fiction on the Web, and other fine publications.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Unintended Consequences”?

This story was inspired by a bird I watched go from tree to tree and in and out of a bird house. I played a call of this bird from my laptop to see what would happen. She immediately came out of the bird house and tried to find the source, calling from several spots in the yard. I only played the recording once, having felt bad at playing a bit of a mean trick on her. Fortunately, after a few minutes she gave up the search and went back to feeding her young.

News

Congrats to the Best Small Fictions nominations from Matter Press for Compressed Creative Arts: Sara Backer’s “Oh, What a Night”; Dan Crawley’s “Powers”; Jill Talbot’s “Malahat Highway on Boxing Day”; Christopher Allen’s “Falling Man;” and Kathy Fish’s “Five Micros.” Congrats to Christopher Allen for being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now open. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes June 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

05/23 • Nance Van Winckel (1 of 8)
05/30 • Nance Van Winckel (2 of 8)
06/05 • Rachel Rodman
06/06 • Nance Van Winckel (3 of 8)
06/10 • Erica Soon Olsen
06/12 • Beverly Jackson
06/13 • Nance Van Winckel (4 of 8)
06/17 • Avra Margariti
06/19 • Tommy Dean
06/20 • Nance Van Winckel (5 of 8)
06/24 • Stephen Reaugh
06/26 • Hege Lepri
06/27 • Nance Van Winckel (6 of 8)
07/01 • Danielle Hark
07/03 • Shirley Harshenin
07/04 • Nance Van Winckel (7 of 8)
07/08 • Matthew Barrett
07/10 • Andrew Stevens
07/11 • Nance Van Winckel (8 of 8)
07/15 • Peter Cherches
07/17 • Christopher Ryan
07/18 • Alex Durham
07/22 • Jessica Kehinde Ngo
07/24 • Jillian Pretzel
07/25 • Danielle Hark (1 of 6)
07/29 • Theresa Senato Edwards
07/31 • Stephanie Dickinson
08/01 • Danielle Hark (2 of 6)
08/05 • Callista Buchen
08/07 • Sara Elkamel
08/08 • Danielle Hark (3 of 6)
08/12 • Steven Ostrowski
08/14 • Karie Luidens
08/15 • Danielle Hark (4 of 6)
08/19 • Nick Ackerson
08/21 • Tyler Friend
08/22 • Danielle Hark (5 of 6)
08/26 • Suzanne Verrall
08/28 • Amelia Wright
08/29 • Danielle Hark (6 of 6)
09/05 • Richard Baldasty (1 of 4)
09/12 • Richard Baldasty (2 of 4)
09/19 • Richard Baldasty (3 of 4)
09/26 • Richard Baldasty (4 of 4)
12/23 • Tara Campbell