The Story of Murphy and Scoop
by Ms. Margaret Davis
One summer, the Audubon society in the state of Rhode Island decided to call a convention of all state birds in the United States. Each bird had to know the real facts about its own state and fly to the convention carrying its native state flower. This is the story of two birds who met in the trees on the convention center property.
The state of Maine had a hard time finding an available Chickadee who could make the trip with the state flower, which is a White Pine Cone and Tassel. Maine needed a bird who could fly with grace and ease, with its bulky state flower held tightly in its beak. Thus began the process of finding a Chickadee who could think on its feet if anything went wrong. A contest was thrown in the capital, Augusta, where 1.5 percent of Maine’s population lives, making it the second largest city in Maine, just behind Portland. After long hours of interviews and runway walks, the final choice was a beautiful female Chickadee named Murphy. She got that name from her family, who watched all her antics. The joke around her was something about “Murphy’s law” — that if anything could go wrong it would. So for short they just called her Murphy.
Further south, New York was having absolutely no luck in finding an available Bluebird in good health to carry a Rose, the state flower, all the way to Rhode Island. After asking all the Bluebirds to sign up, the state elders decided to ask one of the local pigeons. Since even the pigeons had all sorts of shit to do, the process of finding a bird could only be done by bribing a local artist pigeon named Scoop. Nobody is quite sure where he got that name. Most people believe he did some heavy protesting when some clean up laws were enforced, but if you ask Scoop he’ll tell you that it’s because he has so much charm that he can just ‘scoop the ladies off their little claws’ and send them soaring into song. Nobody dared to ask Scoop to carry a rose to Rhode Island. They just gave him a pack of cigarettes and sent him on his way.
The big weekend arrived, and Murphy set out south from Maine and Scoop headed north out of the south Bronx looking for the state that has big houses along the shore line. A few hours passed and Murphy found the only convention center that seemed prepared for the big event. The parking lot was covered with fifty different trees, each representing one state in the union.
Murphy had no problem feeling right at home in the Eastern White Pine, which sat in a section of trees designated for the birds from the northeast. All were present and ready to share information, but Murphy noticed that the Sugar Maple of New York remained empty. Murphy was a responsible bird, so rather than have the committee think New York was not present she took some of her personal belongings and put them in the Sugar Maple so it looked as if the visiting New York bird had just stepped out.
The festivities began with the usual speeches and warm greetings. The band was playing an introduction of famous melodies when a loud piercing sound of roaring engines and cowboy screams came crashing into New York’s Sugar Maple. It was Scoop. He was so loaded up with fuel that he had no control of his landing gear and steering mechanisms.
“Oooooh Baby, I just get here and a pair of panties just falls on my head. This is my lucky day,” shouted Scoop.
Murphy was mortified. She assumed that a female would be sent and that it would be a lovely Bluebird she could sing with during the recreational hours. As Murphy’s law would have it the New York bird was a male and not a Bluebird at all. Not only that, he had her favorite pair of lace panties over his head and was flying about the state trees looking for the owner. He was too fueled to notice that her underwear had been personalized with the name “Murphy from the state of Maine.” As Scoop made the rounds, all the birds from the northeast looked at the panties, then glanced over at Murphy with slanted eyes.
Scoop made his way over to the annoyed bird from Maine, who sat in her Eastern White Pine tree. “Would these be yours, my little Chickadee?” Scoop said as he lit another cigarette.
Murphy fluffed her feathers, rolled up her wing and punched Scoop right out of the tree and down to the ground. She flew down to stand over his sleek out-of-date city suit and empty pack of smokes.
“You listen to me,” she said, “I am from the state of Maine and we do not talk to Chickadees with that tone of voice. I am of English heritage of the Cabots dating back to the 1600’s. I’m from the most northeastern part of the United States and I represent 35,385 square miles of land which makes Maine the 39th largest state in terms of area. I carry a White Pine Cone and Tassel to show my loyalty to the state I love. I left a few personal belongings in your tree so the committee would assume that the state of New York would be proudly represented by a respectable Bluebird. Leave it to New York to send an intoxicated, arrogant, smelly, ignorant pigeon.”
Ignorant, he thought? She called him ignorant? Even in his dazed condition Scoop took offense to being called that. He brushed himself off and glared at the most radiant Chickadee he had ever seen.
“Listen here, Chick. First of all, maybe I’m gay and I happen to enjoy wearing ladies panties. Second, let’s get something straight about your beloved state of Maine. Your frozen wasteland of state was discovered by a lost Italian. Giovanni Caboto was looking for England and took a bad turn. He ended up on the coast of North America. His stupid ass son, Sebastian Cabot, a cartographer and explorer, continued his old man’s explorations thinking he found something worth checking out. He didn’t even stick around to make it a settlement. It was the French in 1604 that finally set up some kind of community center, and then the English came back in 1607 with a block watch and garden club. All of these guys froze their freakin asses off and Massachusetts didn’t want anything to do with them when it came to forming a state. You people get a little cranky with all that good weather. What is you get up there? Would it be 107 clear days each year? 160 cloudy days, 127 days of precipitation, 41 inches of annual rainfall and 74 freaking inches of snow?”
“Look, Mr. Big, in my state of Maine the National Park Service administers over 84 Million acres of federal lands; this includes National Parks, National Historical Parks, National Battleships, National Battlefield sites, national Military Parks, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Monuments, National Preserves, National Seashores, National Parkways, National Lakeshores, National Reserves, National Rivers, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Recreation Areas, National Scenic Trails, Parks and a single International Historic Site, which is Saint Croix Island. New York does not have one, not one!, single National Park!”
Scoop laughed. “And you wanna know where everybody still goes? Of the 20 most-visited sites in the National Park System, New York has two sites listed. Your lovely Maine didn’t even make the list! By the year 2000 there were 7,927,567 visitors that visited Gateway National Recreation Area and 5,509,706 visitors had gone to the Statue of Liberty. Beat that.”
Murphy injected, “My list of famous Mainers includes, but is not limited to: Leon Leonwood Bean, Stephen King, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edmund Muskie. Of course former President George Bush lives in Kennebunkport.”
“Do you really want to do this, Chick? How about New Yorkers like Woody Allen, Susan B. Anthony, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Mel Brooks, Millard Fillmore, Lou Gehrig, George and Ira Gershwin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Herman Melville, Rudy Giuliani, Joyce Carol Oates, Colin Powell, John D. Rockefeller, Nelson Rockefeller, Nancy Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, J.D. Salinger, Barbara Streisand, Donald Trump, Martin Van Buren, Gore Vidal and Walt Whitman. Would you like me to go on? Should I continue?”
Murphy’s eyes got lost in his as she passively said in a soft, melodic voice, “In Maine the average SAT score was 896 while the average score in New York was 889.”
Scoop didn’t notice she was melting and continued to feed his ego with more detail. “The chief industries in Maine are manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, services, trade, government, finances, insurance, real estate and construction. The chief industries in New York are manufacturing, finance, communications, tourism, transportation and services. You might wanna know that Maine has 7,893 federal civilian employees with an annual average salary of $45,496 while New York has 57, 456 federal employees with an annual average salary of $49,330. That means Maine has 1 federal civilian employee for every 162 people in the state, whereas New York has 1 federal employee for every 330 people in the state. That means in theory New York is twice as efficient as Maine.
Murphy wasn’t listening. She flew into the New York State tree, the famous Sugar Maple, and began to whistle a familiar tune. Scoop looked up at her in amusement but got confused when he recognized that while she sat in his tree, she was singing “I Love New York.” This was odd and he flew up next to her. He handed her the monogrammed panties and asked what she was doing in his tree?
She whispered, “Do you know that Maine has several ridiculous sex laws? In the little town of Buckfield, Maine it is illegal for a cab driver to charge a passenger a fare if the passenger had sex with the driver while on their way home from any place that sold liquor. Did you know that statewide sellers of condoms must obtain a license from the state and display their license at all times? And, did you know that it is illegal for a husband to place his wife in a brothel?”
Scoop hesitated but answered, “New York doesn’t have any of those laws.” he said. He saw her warm eyes and dove skin complexion. He wanted to tweak her beak but instead he continued talking, “Did you know that both states have a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, and both states share a border with Canada?”
Murphy moved closer to Scoop and said, “Prior to explorers coming to what was to be known as the new world, the land now called Maine and New York was inhabited by members of the Algonquian and Iroquoian Indian Nations. They were doing just fine until the French and English came along. I wonder how different things would be if all that land had been left to the Indians?
Scoop tried to freshen his breath with a mint while he said, “Did you know that the Capital cities of Maine and New York are not the largest cities of the state they reside in, and both capitals were established along a river? The capital of Maine is Augusta, located in Kennebec County along the Kennebec River with a population of 18,560 people. The capital of New York is Albany, located in Albany County on the west bank of the Hudson River with a population of 95, 658.”
“You know what I’ve learned today, Mr… Mr…?”
“Scoop,” he said.
“I’ve learned, Mr. Scoop, that New York is known for its bigness. You people must be really, really big. On the other hand Maine has lots of space to do big things in private. Who would miss two little birds if they got lost in one of those big old National Parks?”
Scoops feathers were rising. “Did you know that both Maine and New York have outlawed the use of corporal punishment? Interestingly enough, eight of the top ten scoring states allow corporal punishment. Do you think paddling equals higher test scores?”
Murphy blushed. “I wouldn’t know. It’s been a long time since I’ve been tested.”
Suddenly Scoop was annoyed by the blaring sound of the conventions orchestra. “What is that racket? What is that?”
“That is the State of Maine Song, you idiot.” She did it again. Scoop can handle most anything but there are certain names that just rub his feathers the wrong way. He placed his hand under her chin and said, ” I apologize, Chickadee. I can see I offended you. However, I am not an idiot.” Without hesitating, he took her by her wing and bent her over a branch. He raised his other wing high over her buttocks and began to spank her royal feathers.
“This is a test. I am testing your ability to spell idiot.”… smack ….smack.. smack..
Murphy was so stunned that she was torn between hanging on to the tree, starting to spell, or asking if he used safe words. “I… D…”…smack…smack…smack….”I…. D….I….” smack…..smack…..smack….. ” I…D…I… O….T.”
Scoop let her up and sent her to her own tree. As they sat on their perches, Scoop and Murphy noticed that 48 other birds sat in their trees watching the visitors from Maine and New York.