SMAT! “Oh, man, you gotta be kidding me!” A small drop of mud spattered across Mark’s shirt as he walked in the door. It had a tiny twig stuck in it. “Time to call for swallow trapping, my friend!” he called to Art, the man behind the lunch counter.
“What’re you whining about, now?” laughed Art, “A silly little bird building an innocent little nest? Yeah, we don’t want to dirty up your pristine clothes!” It was true, Mark painted houses for a living, and was already covered in drywall dust, dried primer and paint of several shades. You could barely tell where the swallow had dropped the mudball on him, mud that was intended for making its nest right above the door of the tiny diner. “You want the usual?” Art asked, and disappeared into the back, not even bothering to wait for Mark’s answer.
Mark grabbed up a napkin and wiped at the mess on his chest, as he sat down at the counter. Soon, he was chewing on a turkey sandwich with a side of Art’s famous greasy fries. He didn’t have much time to eat, because he had a big job to get done by the end of the day, but he always had time for lunch at Art’s diner. Around a mouthful of fries, he told his friend, “I’m serious. You’ve got to trap the swallows or get rid of them somehow.”
“Oh, come on. You know I don’t have time. I’ve got a busy diner to run and . . .“
“I’m telling you, I’ve seen it a lot with these houses I paint. Swallows will stick their mud nests everywhere, and the mud and their bird crap stains the walls or the concrete. Those suckers will come back year after year, too, if you don’t do something about it now.”
“I’m not sure you can knock the nests down, though,” Mark’s counter-neighbor offered. “I think they’re protected, aren’t they?”
“Maybe,” said Mark. “I don’t know what the law says about that. Just know they’re a darned nuisance. Pain to clean up after, too.”
“Sure are a nuisance,” said Art. “They dive-bombed my wife when she opened this morning. Maybe I should call someone? ‘Cause I sure don’t have the time to deal with ‘em.”
“I think you definitely should get someone out here for swallow trapping,” Mark said. “Ever hear of swallow bugs? Those bugs just drop right off the bird and infest a place.”
Art looked around his diner and shuddered. The guy next to Mark turned a little green and put down his sandwich. Mark said quickly, “Oh, I don’t think they hurt humans, but you don’t want them around the place, do you?” Art had his wife call for a professional swallow trapper that afternoon, just to be on the safe side.