peacockSally and Roger love the peacocks in Beacon Hill Park. A dozen roam free near the children’s zoo. Peafowl fly onto the roof or into trees, others stroll green lawns, while some strut across the parking lot.

Sitting on a wooden bench, sipping kombucha, the pair await the magical fanning of tail feathers. When it happens, Roger and Sally hold their breath, seduced by iridescent cobalt, emerald, and lime, entranced by majesty and mystical eyespots. The display lasts several minutes. They remember to breathe. They’ve forgotten how it feels to be in love.

She says, “When you think about it, the human equivalent is a dick pic.”

He blushes scarlet.

She muses, “Peacocks get a bad rap for vanity but at least they flaunt something that’s actually beautiful.”

The peacock swaggers closer. A tempted peahen, crest aquiver, hesitates on the opposite side of the bench, out of the couple’s view.

Roger knows his indiscreet, Tesla-driving boss has taken Sally out for drinks. Twice.

She raises her smartphone to take a photo but the camera-shy fowl turns away. All she captures is a rear view shot of brown and white.

Roger will be crushed if or when Sally begins an affair but, deep down, it will also bring relief. He’ll welcome an easy road to freedom.

She continues, “That’s a modest bird, if you ask me. He knew what I was after and deliberately turned away. Peacocks should be known for intelligence, not vanity.”

He points and laughs, “But they aren’t smart. Look at the one fighting with a parked car.”

Sally looks.

He says, “That one’s so stupid he’s pecking the bumper of a shiny Prius because he thinks his reflection is an aggressive rival.”

She stares and realizes he’s right.

“A Prius,” he rebukes.


Dave Gregory has photographed peafowl on three continents. He is an Associate Editor with Exposition Review and a Fiction Reader for journals on both sides of the Atlantic. His work has appeared in more than twenty-five literary publications including The Nashwaak Review, The Lindenwood Review and Typehouse Literary Magazine.