The Canary:

By R.G. Ramsey

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The Canary

Who killed the canary?

“It was a Red Toyota, wasn’t it? A Red Toyota that killed the canary” said Greg to a random customer named Matt who was shopping in his store.

The customer who was obviously perplexed, and more than a little annoyed, responded less than hospitably to Greg’s comment, “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I am talking about the canary of course. It is forbidden for me to interfere with this event, but you can if you so choose,” said Greg.

Matt’s friend Larry who was in the store with him shook his head and said, “What a weirdo.”

Greg looked at Larry and replied, “You should know, you were there too and watched it happen.”

Larry looked at Greg like he had two heads, Greg then took a receipt from his wallet and wrote, #68, $57.42 on the back of it.

“Keep this in your wallet, before the month is over you will know what I am talking about,” Greg said as he made eye contact with Larry and had absolute confidence in his demeanor.

Larry took the folded up paper from Greg’s hand, and whispered under his breath, “Idiot…” before walking away.

Two weeks later Matt and Larry met at a popular restaurant they have frequented many times in the past. This restaurant had a Key West flair to it and always had live music in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights.

They had outdoor, and indoor seating available for their customers. On this particular day it was a warm, but slightly cloudy day, the perfect weather to enjoy outdoor dining. Many people shared the same idea that day, and the restaurant had a busy outdoor crowd.

Matt and Larry were seated among other patrons and enjoying their meal with a couple of beers to wash their food down. Matt’s meal of choice was the half-pound beef burger that the restaurant is known for, and Larry chose the fried Grouper and fries for his meal.

They always had a couple of appetizers while waiting for their meal, and Matt made sure he reminded Larry that it was his turn to buy with a hearty laugh.

Larry acknowledged it with a laugh of his own, and clang of beer mugs as a toast to good times, and a great day to spend together.

They both engaged in people-watching while they waited for their meal to arrive.

Two elderly couples eating together were giving the waitress a hard time, and insisting that she make sure they get their senior discount, which brought a smile and a chuckle to Matt and Larry.

A few tables over from them was a little girl in a yellow dress that looked about seven years old who couldn’t sit still at the table and wandered off to the sidewalk not far from the table her parents were sitting at.

The little girl in the yellow dress that accented her blonde hair was bouncing a tennis ball with one hand and catching it with the other hand. Several people commented about her skills, and of her potential future as a tennis star.

Over on the far side were two men in their late 20’s who were having a conversation a bit louder than everyone else. They were extroverts without a doubt, even engaging in conversation with strangers.

The two boisterous young men were discussing a classic car show they had attended earlier. One of them commented within earshot of Matt and Larry that his favorite car was the 1978 Camaro. He told his friend, “I love that canary yellow color.”

Upon hearing this Matt and Larry looked at each other, and then looked at the girl in the yellow dress both thinking the same thing.

They both watched the young girl in yellow who was happily playing with her tennis ball. As they looked around the area and everything seemed calm and uneventful so they continued to enjoy their meal.

The little girl threw her ball against a tree, it bounced off the tree but she didn’t catch it after it bounced back to her. Her tennis ball bounced behind her, then out into the parking lot which she chased after.

Tires screeched like someone slamming on their breaks. Everybody looked to see a red Toyota pickup truck run into, and over the little girl before skidding to a stop. The little girl’s parents both rushed to her side, as the driver of the Toyota truck stepped out of his truck with a look of shock on his face.

The driver was a small squirrely looking guy that barely looked old enough to drive.

Several days later after they had time to get over the shock of what they had witnessed, they returned to the store Greg was working in.

Before they could say anything Greg said, “It was a red Toyota, wasn’t it? A red Toyota that killed the yellow canary.”

Larry said, “How did you know? How could you possibly know that was going to happen?”

Greg said, “Do you still have your receipt from your meal?”

Larry pulled the receipt out of his pocket and Greg said, “What was your customer #, and how much was your bill?”

Larry said, “Customer #68, and I paid $57.42.”

“Hopefully you still have that paper I handed you before,” Greg said.

Larry looked at it and saw that it was an exact match to the receipt for their meal.

Before Larry could even process the reality of it in his mind Greg said, “What do you think now? Am I the idiot for warning you, or are you the idiot for watching it happen, and doing nothing about it.”

“I told you,” said Greg, “I am forbidden from interfering, but you can stop it from happening.”

“Who told you that you are not allowed to interfere,” Larry asked?

“They did…” said Greg “They did, and they were quite adamant about it. Sorry, I should not have said anything. I should not have told you a red Toyota truck would kill the angel in the yellow dress.”

“It was meant to happen, and they forbid me from changing the timeline.”

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