Luke sat on the bench and looked at his Gregg’s sandwich. How could a sandwich go from vibrant and enticing to vapid in just the 12 steps it had taken him to get from the bakery to the castle grounds? But it was all he had and he was hungry. He tore at the cardboard, twirled the sandwich and took a bite. The bread tasted soapy, the cheese was rubbery and the tomatoes were tasteless. He chewed idly while staring at the leaning tower that loomed over him. It had been like that all his life; why had it stopped at that angle and never collapsed?
It was cold on the bench, but it was better to eat his miserable sandwich in the park than sitting at his desk; that office seemed to get smaller and smaller every day as the clashing egos got bigger and bigger. Luke tried to keep out of it all, but he was often caught in he crossfire. It was like an episode of Game of Thrones just played out in a shitty office, and instead of hunks and honeys there were middle-aged men with chips on their shoulders and failed X-Factor auditionists.
The sandwich was making him feel sick, he started chucking chunks of it to the swans that were standing on the banks. They waddled towards him. What did they taste like? Would they be like chicken or duck or pigeon? Why did people eat duck but not swans? Cows but not horses? Pigs but not dogs? Maybe they tasted disgusting, or maybe it is harder to eat aesthetically pleasing stuff; that should have made his sandwich easy to eat, but it didn’t.
The swans surrounded him now, maybe twenty, twenty-five birds, silently watching him, waiting for another morsel to scrap over. He took one last bite and then scattered the rest of the sandwich. The swans hissed and fought each other, white feathers flying in the air, wings flapping, beaks pecking and when the bread was gone they turned their attention to Luke.
“That’s it birds, I don’t have anymore.”
They stepped towards him like a squad of Stormtroopers, they had hunger in their eyes.
“Shoo!” Luke said, and flapped his arms in the birds’ direction. “Go away, you ungrateful bastards.”
Then, from nowhere a black swan came to the fore. The others scattered as it made its way towards Luke. Luke stared at the Darth Vader bird. The swan stared back breathing heavily. Luke edged away deciding cowardice was the greater part of valour, but the swan followed him, matched his step. Luke turned but before he could run the black swan swung its neck like a Lightsaber and brought Luke to the ground. He scrambled to his feet and ran away, the birds hissing behind him.
Luke got back to the office out of breath and looking like he’d been in a fight, but no one noticed his distress; they were too wrapped up in office politics. He spent the afternoon staring at the clock, slowly being bored to death, and a little part of him, just a little one, wished he’d let himself be pecked to death.