By Ear

The Fiddler dropped nimbly from the boxcar, just before the train rolled into the town. He stretched, bending until his fingers scraped the ground, arose slapping the dust from his trousers and looked east.

He heard a crow’s shrieking caw, but looking up, all he could see was a Whiskey Jack flitting among the branches of a scraggly pine.

“Much obliged for the warning, friend,” the Fiddler said, tipping his hat. “But I’ve been through here before, and know what to expect.”

The bird stared at him.

“Oh, yes. Your payment,” he said, drawing his bow across the instrument’s strings.

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