Sea Gull perched on the rocks. Flecks of ocean foam sprayed him as he considered where to dive next. Soon he was joined by several other gulls from around the bay. Their heads bobbed along with the waves as they watched another gull swoop into the air, spiral down, and then dive into the water in one swift, sharp movement. A second later, the gull emerged victorious as he ascended into the sky with the largest fish any of them had ever seen in his mouth.
Accolades punctuated the air as all the gulls squawked in raucous approval. All the gulls, except one. Sea Gull ruffled his feathers, but remained quiet. He cast his gaze upon the gigantic fish and snapped his beak imagining what it would be like to have that much food.
Sea Gull had never caught anything so big, nor had anyone ever cheered for him. The fish Sea Gull caught were always puny and he often spent more time hunting than he wanted to. He found it unfair that he worked so hard for so little. Bah, he thought. If that other gull can catch such a big fish, there’s no reason I can’t too.
Sea Gull took to the air and imagined the moist mounds of flesh that would soon be his, the wild praise he would receive from the other gulls, and the pride he would feel as a hunter. He swooped and dived, swooped and dived. But his only catch was so tiny, Sea Gull released it, embarrassed his prey so inadequate.
Sea Gull perched back on the rocks. He watched as the other birds feasted, then took to the sky again. The gulls who had been unsuccessful zeroed in on the fleshy remains, picking apart the bones. Sea Gull huffed. Just like he was not satisfied with a paltry catch, he did not want anyone’s leftovers. Sea Gull wanted the biggest, juiciest fish he could find and when he got it, he would be the one leaving food behind.
It was time to hunt again, and Sea Gull flew into the air. Disgusted as he heard fighting over the remaining fishy dregs, he flew further and further away until the other birds were specks in the distance.
Sea Gull redoubled his efforts as he dove into the water. Only once did he almost catch a fish worthy of his standards. Nearing exhaustion, he looked for rocks on which he could perch, but there were none. Sea Gull’s only choice was to land on the beach.
The sand was thick and muddy. Sea Gull’s tracks followed him as he looked for a good resting place. Then he saw it. Through the pebbles and broken shells was a clam – it was the biggest one he had ever seen. Despite the ache that raged through his body, Sea Gull snatched up his new prey and made for the sky.
He flew through the air in jubilation. Sea Gull could not wait to show off this find. But as he started his descent to the rocky island where his fellow gulls perched, he swerved away and started a new ascent.
The only way to get this clam open would be to shatter it on the rocks; if he did, he would risk the other gulls scavenging his find. Sea Gull had no choice but to fly away from everyone. He found an isolated parking lot a few hundred feet away.
From high above, Sea Gull opened his beak. He watched as the clam plummeted to the concrete below, the shell shattering into tiny pieces. Sea Gull descended. There was more meat in there than he imagined. He gorged himself, looking around in triumph.
Only there was no one to witness his victory. The clam, which had started off tasting rich and succulent, turned to rubber in his mouth. Sea Gull could barely stomach to eat the rest as he realized his greatest victory would remain unknown to everyone but himself.
Sea Gull took to the sky, leaving the half-eaten clam on the beach. As he flew back to the rocks, he heard a ruckus behind him. There on the beach, several birds now fought over the rest of the clam. He changed his course to return, so he could boast to the other gulls it had been he who left such a feast. But by the time he got there, the clam had been gobbled up and the birds had flown on. All that was left were the broken shells and Sea Gull’s empty stomach.