Friday Fictioneers: Out-Twitted

Genre: Quirky fiction
Word Count: 100


“Madam, I’m not trying to nick your trinkets!” squawked the indignant magpie.

 Lady Annabel prided herself on speaking bird language. “Then why do you keep pecking at my window?”

 “I’m addicted to putty.”

 “That proves it. You intend to remove my windows, with thievery in mind.”

“Magpies’ love of shiny things is mere folklore.  Ask your neighbour, the Professor. He’s done a study on it.”

 “He’s nuts, like all academics.”

 “If you believe in folklore, I must warn you I’m alone and mourning for my mate. So you’d best avert your eyes from me, or I’ll curse you with sorrow.”


Friday Fictioneers: 100 word stories
Photo Prompt: image copyright (c) Janet Webb

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

46 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Out-Twitted”

  1. I would submit to anyone interested that it takes a great amount of talent to tell a tale in so few words, and make it interesting. I could see the scene play out. I smiled….laughed at the dialogue…..felt apprehension…marveled….all from a story of less than 100 words. There is a great writing lesson tucked into this small piece.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bill, my dear friend 🙂
      As you’ve probably gathered by now, I have a fascination for magpies, hence the title of my latest novel. Also, this week there have been a lot of them up to all sorts of antics on the flat roof outside my office window. There were six of them yesterday (noisy whats-its) and one of them was busy throwing something around — probably a bit of masonry — and they were all swooping at it and knocking it about, as if having a sports’ match. It was very funny.


      1. If you’re fascinated with magpies, you’d be quite intrigued with the one hanging around here. It has no tail. Either genetically or through some incident it’s lost those long back tail feathers and its short ‘tail’ is somewhat like a starling’s now.

        Like your story. Dialogue is well done. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve not met a magpie with a short tail. Maybe it met the same fate as the squirrel that used to hang out in a park I went to regularly. Apparently two dogs had got hold of it and pulled in opposite direction. Ouch! It must have felt to the squirrel like the medieval torture of being stretched on the rack. Of course, magpies are always getting into fights with each other, too. I remember seeing five of them assault another one in midair, and there were feathers flying everywhere.

        I’m glad you liked the story and the dialogue. Thanks, Christine 🙂


      3. I’ve read somewhere that birds don’t always regrow their lost feathers if the follicles are damaged beyond repair, either because an animal has attacked them badly, or because of poor vitamin intake.


    1. I don’t remember that. It’s ages since I saw the film. What I do remember is the magpie that kept eating putty somewhere I lived about 20 years ago. Fortunately I was never downwind from it afterwards — not that I’ve ever considered the subject of bird farts, let alone smelly ones!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s an idea, but perhaps if you could find a poison that made them lose their voices but not their lives 😉 Sometimes the jackdaws and seagulls stomp on my roof in hobnailed boots at the crack of dawn. Occasionally, I’ve been known to bang the ceiling very hard with a broom handle, which can silence them, but not always.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Sarah,

    I’m envisioning this conversation and wondering at the last line. What will the consequences be if the lady doesn’t avert her eyes?
    Love the imaginative dialogue.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Rochelle,

      Many sorrowful things might happen, but more so if she believes they will. On the other hand, maybe the magpie does want to steal from her when her eyes are closed, so the only sorrow will be the loss of her trinkets! You never know.

      All best wishes,


    1. Thanks 🙂 I’ve noticed that magpies talk too much, which makes it difficult for them to be as artful as they’d like, because everyone hears them coming. Some children are like that, too, so they’re always the ones who get caught (like I did!).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Andrea 🙂 The only counting of magpies that’s happening just now, is me counting the days since my submission of said manuscript. All I can say is that at the exact moment I pressed send on my PC, I saw two magpies outside my window. In a little while, depending upon whether it’s yay or nay from the publisher, I’ll know whether the counting magpie rhyme is based on folklore or reality!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this. Great conversation and a wise magpie. I was wondering where I had seen/read/heard the magpie and putty theme until I saw Dale’s comment: Nanny McPhee, but of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 As you can also see in my comments, it’s mere coincidence, the Nanny McPhee connection, as I never saw film number two. It’s very hard to be totally original all of the time, however much one aspires to do so!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tell me about it. Every third idea I have gets trashed with the label, ‘Was in Harry Potter’ or ‘Was in LOTR’ or…
        I had never heard of Magpies doing that, we must have a different kind of putty where I live… I thought it was some whimsical fun in the movie, and that made me stop when I read it in your story.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If you think of it, there are millions of creative writers in the world, so the chances of two people coincidentally coming up with the same idea are quite high. But try telling that to a person suing you for stealing their idea when you’ve never heard of them, let alone read their work. It happens D:

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a soft spot for birds, too, and taught my dog from puppy-hood that birds were welcome guests that didn’t need chasing out of the garden. She often sits in the middle of the lawn in the evenings, listening to them singing and watching them coming in to roost. When we had geese flying over in large quantities last autumn, whever she heard them coming, she rushed outside and stood looking up at the sky, obviously in a state of awe and fascination.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love it when maligned corvids set their stories to rights. 🙂 This seems especially timely as I’m reading a book called “Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?” (The answer is yes, barely.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to look up “gobby”. Yes, magpies do talk too much and I sometimes have to open my window and shout at them to shut-up when they interfere with my creative thought. They don’t hear me if I ask them nicely, as they’re making too much noise! Of course, there is another meaning for that word gobby, but it’s definitely not applicable to magpies. In the urban dictionary, it’s Australian slang for a particular sexual act that I’d best not mention here.

      Liked by 1 person

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