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Steve The Owl
Daniel W. Kneip
Just about every morning, Steve Peppers would wake up feeling groggy, a bit
melancholy, and a little like an owl. He tried to explain this to his therapist
but the therapist would merely blush and say, "Such a silly thing!"
But everyday, the cycle was the same. Steve would sit himself at the edge of his
bed stretching all available limbs to their limit and he was nearly at the point
where he could turn his head 180 degrees! After a brisk shower, he would dress
in a rather conservative style and then skitter out the back door and hunt down
a small rodent or mid-sized rabbit for breakfast. Then he'd head off for work,
which was basically sitting in a tree for a few hours and sometimes gathering
"Insanity at its finest," said his therapist, jotting something down in his
Recently, it had began to occur to Steve that perhaps he and the doctor were
altogether wrong for each other. But in the beginning, hopes were quite high
that the doctor, who also majored in animal psychology with a heavy emphasis on
"winged and beaked critters" seemed like the perfect choice.
"Doctor, the only thing I know for sure is that I'm not an owl really," said
Steven, scratching his nose gently with his talon. "If and when I look in the
mirror, I see a man there and NOT an owl! And for a moment, I feel normal, like
a normal man. But dog-gone it if two seconds later I don't start checkin' myself
The doctor startled. Overall, he was pleased with Steve's assessment. Finally,
after three months of meetings, his patient could admit he was not an owl. A
long haul, indeed! "Now," thought the doctor, "I have him where I want him!"
"Your existence is important, Steven," began the doctor as if he truly believed
it. "And if denial should swallow you up, we may lose you altogether! You are
not an owl. You are a man. A human man. And, Steven, listen to this! It is ever
important that you credit yourself as such! Now I want you to repeat those words
after me. Are you prepared to take that hop?" and the doctor nearly scooted
himself right over next to Steve in anticipation of the answer.
And Steve thought about it for a long time. He mostly wanted to just "hoot" but
he knew, in his wildest dreams, that that was inappropriate. An overwhelming
amassment of emotion overran him and he quivered.
But dammit! Why couldn't he be an owl? Who was it hurting?
"All I don't have are wings and feathers and a itty bitty tail! Does that make
me NOT an owl?!" Steve screamed in a mad rage and he almost sipped at his coffee
and then purposefully spit it out!
The doctor could only sigh, closing his ever precious notepad. "Fine," he said.
"Be an owl. See if I care. But I charge owl's extra per hour."
A very brief moment passed.
Then suddenly, Steve didn't want to be an owl anymore.
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