General Flash Fiction posted October 16, 2019

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In the beak of his prime. (50 words)

He Swanned About Arrogantly

by LisaMay

I’ll be his for life!  I thought, when I met that Aussie.
He’s swan helluva guy. He’d be a feather in my cap.
But he couldn’t give a flying duck about my feelings. Shame – no cygnet ring for me. I was devastated when he called me ‘Honky’ and muted me.


Author's Notes:

This is number 18 in the series of my hypothetical 'new boyfriends'.
(It's OK, I can badmouth Aussies. I am one myself. More of a black sheep than a black swan, though.)

1. Australia is the only place in the world where the Black Swan is native. The Northern Hemisphere species of swan have pure white plumage but the Southern Hemisphere species are usually black, or black and white. The black swan (Cygnus atratus) breeds mainly in the southwest and southeast regions of Australia. Black swans were first seen by Europeans in 1697, when Willem de Vlamingh's expedition explored a river through present-day Perth, the Swan River, in Western Australia.
The black swan's role in Australian heraldry and culture extends to the first founding of the colonies in the eighteenth century. It has often been equated with antipodean identity, the contrast to the white swan of the northern hemisphere indicating 'Australianness'.
In the 1800s, black swans were introduced to Britain and various European countries as an ornamental bird.
2. During courtship displays swans entwine their necks in a romantic gesture of togetherness. Once courtship is complete, male and female swans are bonded for life, with few exceptions. It is extremely rare for mute and black swans to interbreed.
3. The only common swan in most places, the mute swan is easily recognised by its all-white body and its reddish-orange bill that has a large black knob at the base. An iconic waterbird, the mute swan is famed for its grace and beauty.
4. 'Honky' is a derogatory term for white people, predominantly heard in the United States.
5. Swans don't honk, like geese, but they do utter a variety of sounds from the windpipe, which in some species is looped within the breastbone (as in cranes); even the mute swan, the least vocal species, often hisses, makes soft snoring sounds, or grunts sharply. By contrast, the trumpeter swan has a distinctive call.
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