Promptly Written
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Promptly Written

The Hoot Owl


Photo by James Toose on Unsplash

I jumped as the owl called to the moon. Normally a hoot owl hooting wouldn’t startle me. But there was nothing normal about this here owl.

The first obvious difference was this owl didn’t hoot. There was no hooting from this owl. My first impression after nearly peeing my pants was that this was a highly educated owl. He was staring at the moon and quoting Shakespeare, I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright, for, by the gracious, golden, glittering gleams, I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.

I stood transfixed. Dumbfounded. Perplexed. Like a very senior citizen trying to open a message on their cell phone. Let me rephrase that. Like a very senior citizen trying to find their cell phone. I said the first thing that came to mind. “Beautiful night, isn’t it?” Duh. My brilliance often astounds me.

The owl, calmly turning his head 120 degrees, looked me in the eye, had the audacity to wink, and said, “As stars in the night sky glittering round the moon’s brilliance blaze in all their glory when the air falls to a sudden, windless calm… all the lookout peaks stand out and the jutting cliffs and the steep ravines and down from the high heavens bursts the boundless, bright air and all the stars shine clear and the shepherd’s heart exults.“

Great. Shakespeare and now Homer. I knew I must be dreaming the silliest dream ever. How else would I have recognized these quotes?

“Tell me wise owl, do you have a university degree in literature?” I asked while flummoxed by the fact I’m talking to an owl.

He laughed. The freaking owl laughed at me. As if I were some worthless peon. And really? Who knew an owl could laugh. I guess it’s no weirder than one talking.

“No sir. I do not. I majored in aviation with a minor in engineering. I’ve always been an avid reader. The classics are my favorite. Lately, I have been engrossed in the website So many interesting writers plying their wares.”

“How is it you can talk? I’ve only heard owls hoot,” I asked.

“What a wonderful question. But I think it’s the wrong question. You should be asking how could you possibly be having a conversation with an owl. Perhaps this is all dream. Or it could be you are hallucinating. Or maybe, just maybe you are a fictional character in a Medium story.

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.” ~ Shakespeare

©2022 Joe Merkle All rights reserved.

Thank you for reading.

Once again I have to thank Christine Graves for this wonderful prompt at Promptly Written. I also want to thank all the publishers at Promptly Written for the wonderful work they do for all of us. Ravyne Hawke, Marcus aka Gregory Maidman, Alyse Rowe, Katrina D., Joanne Olivieri, Charlie Cole, Rose Malana.

If you want to know more about who I am go here.

I hope you have found my writing a joyful experience. You can help others find me by reading and commenting on other stories here.



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Joe Merkle

Joe Merkle

The meanderings of a multifarious writer