Vinny the Vegetarian Vulture

by Harry B. Sanderford

When Vinny was little his grandpa told him stories of how the old timers used to panic westbound pilgrims and prospectors into picking up the pace just by circling overhead. Those days were long gone, the pioneers may have had to keep one eye on their canteen and the other one on Grandpa's grandpa but these days humans didn't go as far as the corner market without a cell phone, a bottle of water and their own personal GPS so the likelihood of his ever tasting the chewy center of a thirsty cowboy was looking pretty remote. Vinny spent most days with his pals along the shoulder of US highway 17 between Pierson and Barberville just waiting for a pokey gopher turtle or near sighted armadillo to wander into traffic and day-dreaming of circling high overhead. One day a carload of passing surfers hucked half a cheeseburger right to or maybe it was right at him, handout or hand grenade it was an epicurean epiphany for Vincent. He'd never tasted seasoned or cooked meat, when he thought of all the Uniroyaled roadkill he'd snacked on sans any salty benefit he cringed, but even bigger he'd unknowingly been on the Atkins diet his whole life and this crusty, pickle chip imbedded, half burger bun, this castoff cache of culinary carbohydrates, triggered sensations of delight beyond any earthbound buzzard's bearing. And so began Vinny the vulture's vegetarian sojourn, he took flight soaring higher than he'd ever been before following the little blue maverick with the surfboards on top all the way to New Smyrna Beach where he can still be found circling overhead on the afternoon trade winds with his new girlfriend, a seagull named Sasha who taught him where to look for kid-dropped ice cream cones and Pedro, a pelican pirate from the panhandle who claims to have dined on every bait barge from Pensacola to Jacksonville the long way around.

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Harry B. Sanderford, author of Commercials: They're Great!, is a Central Florida surfing cowboy who'd sooner spin yarns than mend fences.