Steve the seagull was a very fine seagull indeed. His feathers were well-groomed, his beak in good order, and his intestines were untwisted by plastic and other human detritus.
In short, Steve was a sublime seagull.
It was, then, a very sad day when this paragon of the ornithological kingdom, the pinnacle of seagullhood, was caught licking out the inside of a single-serve condiment package.
The package was one of those clear little dipping boxes with a foil top. It had been left behind by a short, obese child who had demanded at least five packages, though experience told him he only needed three. The child left the remaining two packages on a plastic bench outside the fast food restaurant, where they were spied by an airborne Steve.
With no other compatriots around, and in a fit of curiosity, Steve flew down, landed, and looked at the package, head cocked to the side. He looked it from another angle, then pecked at it, creating a hole in the foil top. He pecked again, widening the hole, then inserted a tongue.
The contents were disgusting, corn and sugar and shame. But his brain demanded more. Steve licked again, and again, and again. He cleaned the package entirely, and pecked open the second one.
It was by this point that other seagulls had noticed Steve and his snacks. They landed around, watching the fall of the last great seagull to the lure of human garbage. Already Steve’s feathers were more ragged, his eyes a little beadier, and his demeanour twitchy, irritable, and unpleasant.
Steve licked clean the second container, then raised his head. He eyed his audience, then ignored them, hunting for another package. The other seagulls flocked around him.