Tin Foil

Vox went down to the river in the morning, the way he had for years. That morning, however, he was joined by a crow that fluttered over to a tree nearby. It flapped its wings kind of frantically, as it landed on an outstretched branch of the pine beneath it.

The bird had a bit of foil or something in one of its claws. Vox wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but he could see that it was terribly shiny. The crow didn’t seem to be doing anything with it. It just rubbed its beak against the foil occasionally.

“Nice foil,” said Vox. He still wasn’t completely sure what it was, but it looked like foil, so he decided to risk it. Whatever it was, Vox was jealous about how shiny it was.

“Thanks,” said the crow. “I got it from some campers back that way.” It gestured back towards the mountains with its beak.

“Campers? They hunters or what?”

“I don’t think so. Didn’t see any guns when I was there.”

“That’s really nice foil,” Vox said again.

“Thanks. They’ve got a whole roll of it. I only noticed it after I’d already grabbed this and started flying away. But there was a whole roll of the stuff just sitting on a table in the middle of the camp.” With that, the crow decided that it was time to get going. Vox thanked the bird again as it fluttered off with the foil still clutched tightly in one of its claws.

Vox washed his face in the river and then took a drink. Then he sat back, letting the water run down his face as he pondered whether he should go to the camp.

On the one hand, he had really liked the look of that foil. It would look excellent at home in his cave. He already had plans. He’d spread it out over the wall, and then it’d reflect the whole cavern back at him.

On the other hand, he really didn’t want to have to deal with campers again. He’d gotten shot at a few times, and that’d been more than enough. The crow had said that it hadn’t seen any guns, but Vox knew that a quick glance wasn’t going to tell you much.

He decided that he’d need to investigate the camp further before he did anything. So, he walked from the stream to where they were camped to see what he could see.

The first thing that he noticed was that, as the crow had said, there was a roll of tin foil on the table in the middle of the camp. The campers were wandering around the campsite, sleepily cooking and cleaning. There was an old man sitting in a chair, reading. Vox didn’t see any sign of any guns.

There were five campers altogether. Vox figured that he could just wait until they left, and then sneak in and snatch the foil off the table.

They were moving slowly, but eventually they did leave. The old man was the last to go, but when he did, Vox was able to quickly go down and grab the foil. Then he went back to his cave.

He considered putting it up on the wall, as he’d been thinking, but then he decided it’d be easier and better to cover one of his chairs instead. He had a little furniture that he’d managed to scavenge from people who were throwing it out.  So, he grabbed a wooden rocking chair that he’d found and layered the foil on it. It was made of wooden spindles, so the foil worked well as just an added layer wrapped around it. It took a good hour or so, but when he was done, he was very proud of himself.

He went outside and saw another crow perched in a pine tree not far from him. Crows generally liked the shiny things, so Vox decided it might be worth it to show the crow his handiwork.

So, he shouted up to the bird to come down and see his chair. Then he went back inside the cave and pulled the chair he’d been working on outside.

At first, it didn’t look like the crow was going to do anything at all. But when it saw the shiny chair, it fluttered down to get a better look. It wandered around the chair like certain men walk around a car surveying it.

“That’s a nice chair,” said the crow. “If you don’t mind, I’m gonna go tell some other people about it, so they can get a look at it themselves.”

Vox didn’t mind at all, so the crow flew off and returned about ten minutes later with a group of other crows. They all looked expertly at the chair in appreciation.

This kind of admiration went on for a few days. Crows would keep flying up to Vox’s cave and asking to see the chair. Vox was happy to do so, though after the third day of it, he began to wonder when it was going to end.

It ended after a week. The latecomers flew up at about seven in the evening. There were two of them. Vox let them into his cave, and they admired the chair briefly. He didn’t know that they would be the last, and he even considered that he might need to make a sign or something to try to dissuade visitors for the chair. He didn’t, which was fine, because he wouldn’t have needed it anyway.

When the latecomers had left, Vox sat down in the chair. The foil had actually made it kind of slippery and crinkly, and he didn’t actually sit in it much anymore. But he did that night and felt good about it. He looked out of the cave and down to the lake in front of him. It was a glorious view. And he felt like a kind of king, sitting in his silver throne and surveying his kingdom.