This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.
You know how it is, you really need a coffee but you don’t have any hands.
It’s a problem that needs a solution and for George the seagull, the solution was Harry.
Harry was a human but George never held it against him, after all no one is perfect.
George had acquired a taste for coffee back when he used to hang out on the beach. Those were cool days but after a while you get sick of chips and left over burger buns and your young heart yearns for something new and exciting.
The answer was simple; take to the wing and survey the world from the air.
As soon as George saw Flinder’s Street Station he knew he had found his new home.
Back on the beach George would occasionally find a coffee cup lying in the sand and sometimes there would be a little bit of coffee left in the bottom of the cup.
George liked the taste and he had to have more.
It had a strange effect on him. He felt lighter, brighter and more able to reason.
He once worked out how to solve the problem of not enough food for all the seagulls in the world but because he did not have arms and could not write it down he forgot what the answer was.
Obviously he needed a constant supply of coffee, but how to get it?
George noticed that humans would go into the small room on the platform and come out with cups of this beautiful elixir.
He would follow them around and hope that they would put their cup down but in the end he knew that this was a poor solution to his problem.
George needed a human to go and get the coffee for him but how was he going to talk a human into helping him?
He had tried talking to humans but they were obviously not very bright and they could not understand him.
But then, along came Harry.
Harry took the train to and from Flinders Street Station every weekday. He noticed that this same seagull would follow him whenever he went to get coffee but he didn’t think anymore about it until one day he thought he heard someone ask him a question.
At the time he was sitting on a bench on the station drinking a coffee when he thought he heard someone say, “Can you get me one of those, I’m dying for a coffee?”
When Harry turned all he could see was the seagull that had been following him around. He stared at it and it said, “Well, how about it?”
George had just about given up on humans but he thought he would give it one more try and this human looked like he knew what he was saying.
“Did you just ask me to buy you a cup of coffee bird?”
“Yes I did, can you understand me?”
“Yes, I can. What sort of coffee do you want?”
“Any sort, just not too hot.”
Harry was a little shaken by his verbal encounter but in the scheme of things this was not the weirdest thing that had happened to him so he went and bought the bird a Latte.
When he got back George explained that even though it was Friday he would be OK for coffee until he saw Harry again on Monday because the people who used the station on the weekend left lots of cups lying around, particularly Carlton supporters.
The friendship between George and Harry, although unlikely, went on for many years and they enjoyed telling each other stories about their very different lives, which just goes to show that you never know where your next friendship will come from.
A cup of coffee, a seagull and a very special human who bothered to listen.