Filthy Fowl

The origin of a nickname is often based on a physical characteristic or something a person said or did as a child. My father got his nickname, Pug, as a small boy when someone asked him about his political views and he declared himself a “Puglican.” That must be a branch of the Bird Party because most of the candidates Dad voted for were real bird-brains.

Growing up, Clifford lived next door—a half a mile a way. We were inseparable as youths. Due to his snow-white hair, Dad dubbed him “Cotton Top.” As Clifford grew older, the boys at school chopped his name into two syllables and pronounced it Cliff-turd. Teachers deemed this moniker inappropriate for public enunciation so the nickname counsel held a short meeting and came up with “Dirty Bird.” One of our more sophisticated classmates felt the name was too crude and redneck and offered the aesthetically pleasing sobriquet (thank you Warren Zevon), “Filthy Fowl.”  We loved it!

Speaking of names, the facilitator of Friday Flash Fiction has more handles than a hotel full of truck drivers at a CB Radio convention. Often imitated, but never duplicated, the world’s greatest cat herder, Wandean “Backscratcher”  Wisoff-Fields. To learn how to participate in this exercise of madness, head over to her blog for step-by-step instructions. To view the FFF  Hollywood Squares Authors Block click here.

copyright - E.A. Wicklund
copyright – E.A. Wicklund

This week there has been a lot of squawking about the United States government shutting down. Let’s examine how it affected some of America’s feathered citizens.



Bald Eagle: I’ve been America’s symbol of freedom for over 200 years, now I’m classified as “non-essential.” That’s a real slap across the beak.

Dove: Our country has been at war this entire century. I can’t remember the last time I even saw an olive branch. Thank God they haven’t cut Seed Stamps.

Pigeon: When the government shuts down we shouldn’t have to pay taxes. I work second shift defacing statues in New York City. For a while, I was sleeping under a window air conditioner on the Upper West Side until some lady started posting pictures of me on her blog—probably an IRS employee. Maybe now I’ll get some sleep.


25 Comments on “Filthy Fowl

  1. Filthy Fowl. Too funny! As for the government, did you notice that Congress is still getting their paychecks as, I’m sure, the President is? But I shall say no more lest I lay an egg or hit a fowl (or would that be “foul”?)



  2. Very funny – I loved “second shift defacing statues in New York City” – what a great idea! And I am not sure if the hit of a pigeon will work on politicians – most of them are so slippery they would just shake it off!


  3. Another grand tale Russell! I’ve missed them while I’ve been away. It’s a wonderful and timely take on current affairs. What a pity we can’t train pigeons and other birds to automatically sniff out politicians and ‘brand’ them 😉

    I am, however, still trying to figure out how you get “Filthy Fowl” from Clifford…even with the explanation. Still, I suppose it’s no different to the nickname I had as a kid “Lollylegs”. My name. Lyn Lauren, was changed to Lynie Lolly and quickly became Lollylegs because I was a beanpole.


  4. Funny from beginning to end, Russell. Politics, turds, Warren Zevon, breaker … breaker (whatever that means, I’m a Northerner), bald eagles, seed stamps, non-essential workers, and a shutdown of Republican brains — it’s all here! Even a link to some chick’s blog who some day may be halfway as funny as we are if we take her under our wing and she pays attention. Love this one, Russell!


  5. Dear Russell,

    You should have devoted a portion of your 100 to the Turkey. Lots of them in the news this week. This was an apt missive from a difficult prompt.




    • I think the turkeys deserve an entire post to themselves. I could easily spend 1000 words on them, though I’m not sure they are worthy of that much attention.


  6. Dear Russ-turd,

    Love seed stamps. Just hope the doves aren’t abusing them and buying huge seed cakes with them. Another high-flyer.


    Wandean, Queen Cat-Herder


  7. Ripped from the headlines! I really like these responses from birds about the government shutdown. So it’s not just us humans who are disgusted with this mess, it’s also the birds who have to deal with it. Good story, Russell.


  8. I wondered how you skipped over our almost national bird, the Turkey. I want to read those 1,000 words! Fun stuff, as always!


  9. Filthy Fowl…I enjoyed its fascinating origin as well as its appropriate description of current events and your story characters. All so cleverly intertwined, Russell. I think you should put together a book of all your intros. They’re as great as your stories! Excellent take.


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