From the Sky - Part XXI

Suddenly there was a commotion at the bakery. Carlo was holding open the side door, and they could hear Zia shouting. The sisters glanced at one another and rushed over to investigate.

"What's wrong?" Rae asked, and Carlo pointed while at the same time motioning they stay clear of the doorway.

Zia was running around the bakery with a broom held high above her head. Gio ran behind her, shouting: "Chase it out, chase it out!"

"What happened?" Sal asked.

"It's my fault," Carlo said. "It's a bird. I opened the door and it flew in."

They saw a streak of brown and white zip past, heading up toward the ceiling. Zia stopped in her tracks, and she and Gio both looked up. Rae, Sal and Carlo went inside to get a better look. It was a white-throated sparrow, and it was sitting on a steel beam well out of Zia's reach.

"Oh, I can't get near it! I'd have to be ten feet tall!" Zia cried.

"Well, we must do something!" Gio cried. "You can't have birds in a bakery!"

"The strega," Sal whispered. "She's doing this."

Something white flew overhead, and the sparrow fell lifeless to the floor, a block of lard landing nearby. They all turned to see Paulie, grinning ear-to-ear.

"I got it!"

The sisters were mortified.

"Oh, Paulie," Rae cried as she looked down at the bird. Its eyes were lifeless beneath small tufts of bright yellow down. "Do you realize what you've done?"

"I killed it. Isn't that what Zia was trying to do?"

"I was trying to chase it out, Paulie. It's bad luck to have a bird indoors."

"Oh! And it was a sparrow!" Sal exclaimed. "Killing one is unlucky!"

"You've angered the strega, Paulie," Rae said somberly.

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