The smoke from my cigarette is dispersed by the flapping wings of the hummingbird. With my forefinger stretched out as far as it can go, its beak taps upon the nail I chew when I can’t think of what to write next, or when I run out of beer. I can’t feel the tapping, it’s too soft, but I can see it, so I know it must be real. Watching in silence, there comes another, and then another. Before I can process what’s going on, a circle of hummingbirds are dancing around my hand, each one tapping me as if I were one of their own. I hope that’s it, and not that they’re attacking me in a tiny frenzy. Certain they see me as a friend, I look at Meeko expecting to see a wondrous smile on her face, but instead, she’s busy gazing at the branches of the tree that are out of her reach. Anxious to ascend, she informs Hachikō to grab hold of my leg and then tells me to stop pissing about.
“Stop pissing about, and get up on the branch. I want to climb.”
“Because I wish to get a better view of what’s going on. I told you already.”
“What about the hummingbirds?”
“I’m sure they’re not afraid of heights like you are. If they want to stick with you, they’ll be more than happy to fly a little higher.”
Tensing my belly while taking in a deep breath of air, I hoist myself upwards the best I can. Arms reaching out as if I’m in the act of drowning, she grabs hold of them as Hachikō accidentally sinks his teeth into my ankle. I say accidentally—I hope it is. Wincing at the pain, I totter back and forth as the hummingbirds rise behind me, their wings carrying the sounds of the windchimes from many miles away. I may only be several feet off the ground, but the second I look down, I feel woozy. Spitting out the cigarette from my mouth with Hachikō nuzzling against me, I hold onto the branch between my legs as Meeko slithers around the trunk of the tree to the branches above.