Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: THE UGLY TOURIST (07/09/15)
- TITLE: Fitting the Bill
By Loni Bowden-Horn
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Gladys dangled three pairs of binoculars and four cameras precariously around her neck before heading out for a bird-watching excursion along the trails of Camargue in France. Being a mature woman in her early fifties, Gladys understood that her chances of sighting this rare breed had narrowed considerably with each passing year.
Glancing in the mirror, Gladys did an once-over to make sure she had dressed in the proper attire. Since choosing the right clothing was vital to attracting a certain kind of species of bird, Gladys had carefully selected her entire ensemble in advance. She chose a pair of ill-fitting khaki shorts, a tee shirt with the saying, “I’m not a bird brain, just a bird watcher” emblazoned on the front, a putrid green vest, and finally a garish orange fanny pack she would strap around her waist.
With a few minutes to go before the cab arrived, Gladys went into a café for a cup of coffee.
“Decaf latte, please,” Gladys chortled at the waiter.
The waiter arched his eyebrow, “Madame, we do not serve decaf coffee.”
“Can you get me one of those scones with a dollop of peanut butter?”
“Really,” the waiter replied as he rolled his eyes.
Gladys had just enough time to wolf down her breakfast before the cab arrived. She didn’t have time to see what got into the waiter to get his dander up.
Since she needed to freshen up before the hike, Gladys pulled out her compact from her fanny pack on the cab ride over to the reserve. She slathered on two or three coats of ruby red lip stick to add a little color to her pasty skin tone. She tucked the locks of her red, white and blue hair under a baseball cap to remain as inconspicuous as possible to her fellow bird enthusiasts.
As an American tourist, Gladys felt it was important to bone up on her language skills. After she reviewed the list of French vocabulary words, Gladys decided to try them out as the driver as she exited the cab.
“Av Wear” (“au revoir”) Gladys voice boomed.
Seeing the cabby’s puzzled expression, Gladys slowed down her speech and raised her decibels
“A – V W-E-A-R”
The cabby put his hands to his ears and muttered to himself. His eyes flashed as he grabbed the money from her grasp, slammed the door, and sped away leaving a trail of dust in his wake.
Her mouth stood agape at the rude behavior of the driver, but she didn’t have much time to think about the incident because her tour was beginning shortly.
Gladys was relieved she had slipped on a sturdy pair of squeaky clean tennis shoes over her ecru knee socks since the terrain had rocky pathways, and the foliage was dense near the marshes.
As the guide pointed out the various types of birds and their habitats, she stood watching out of the lenses of her binoculars at an entirely different species. Gladys adjusted the diopter mechanism of her field glasses to get a better view of the flock.
As she approached the tall, dark and handsome men,they swooped away to another exhibit. They took off in a V formation and seemed to disperse like geese migrating to a warmer climate in the fall.
She slunk down on a bench to rest her aching feet. Why did she theorize that reading the self-help book, “Begin Dating Again after Past Relationships with Men Have Gone Afowl” would steer her in the right direction towards meeting her future husband.
Gladys could feel her heart go pitter-patter and her eyes widen the size of quarters when she spotted a balding man with a stout physique approach her. His tee shirt read, “Old Bird Watcher Never Die, they just leave their nests” etched across the front.
Do you mind if I join you? My name is Nate.
It seemed to Gladys that the two of them had never been strangers. She inwardly thanked God that he had orchestrated this meeting between the two of them since “Birds of a feather need to stick together”.
There is not an exact source for "Birds of a feather need to stick together" but it is a old proverb.
All the books and saying are fictitious.
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