The Ugly Swan

George adjusted the neck and waded in.  The neck kept doubling over on its side and looked like a swan in distress which was certainly not his intention.

Although a joke, the idea was his wife Gina’s.  George thought more and more about it and concluded it was a good idea.

He wanted a close-up of the mating pair with their five cygnets.  The babies were adorable, and he wanted to win the village’s photo competition.

He stood on tiptoe to keep the water out of his mouth.  He bent the neck one more time, hoping the wire framing would hold, and zipped up leaving enough room for the camera lens.

What I need is a telephoto lens.  At what it cost to put this costume together, I would have been halfway there. 

Gina objected.

George’s hobby was expensive.  It was more the buying of paraphernalia than taking photos.  He was good at the former and not the latter.

If he could just get close enough, he could get a great shot.  He wanted it to be a brilliant, clear, perfectly focused, and framed but also artistic.  Moody.  Wistful.  That’s the word he wanted.  Wistful. A mating pair of the Queen’s swans with their babies.  It would win – he was sure of it.

He tried to stretch his arms.  The swan body felt like it was getting smaller.  The camera seemed heavier.  He would absolutely shit if he dropped his Sony mirrorless.  So would Gina.  She had been furious when he bought the thing.

But, damn, the specs were great.  Surely, this would be the photo!

He didn’t understand aperture and f-stops. He bought books, but they were tedious.  He assured himself he learned best by doing, but never got a good shot without autofocus.  Gina would really ignite if she knew. 

Sweat broke out on his brow. 

He wiped his brow with his forearm, almost dropping the camera.

Where were they?

“Hey, mate!  What are you doing?”

Oh no.  An audience.  They would never come around if there were people on the banks.  Shite.

He tried to get out of sight. 

The voice followed him. 

“Should I call for help?  You alright?  Had a few pints, did you?”

“Shshhhhh.”

There!

There they were.  Nesting in the reeds near the bank.  Perfect!  The background would include nothing manmade. 

He pointed the camera and started shooting. 

“Listen, mate, if you don’t answer me, I will call 999.  You are sick in the head, I think.”

George turned the dials hoping to get an artistic photo without autofocus. 

The guy on the bank was shouting now.  George recognized the voice.

“Ewen, go away.  I’m fine.  Just trying to get a photo” and with that the male stretched his wings and screeched. The noise and wing flapping startled George.

He dropped the camera.

Bloody hell.

* * * * *

(Holt Village) George William Clarkston was taken into custody at approximately 9:20 a.m. yesterday.  As of press time, it was unclear as to the charges.

He was apprehended from Morning Pond wearing a swan costume formed from tarps and electrician’s tape.  A witness says the ensemble was so constructed to provide an opening that allowed George to take photos while wading in the shallows.  The costume also provided a ventilation tube.

The witness, Ewen Nesbitt, says it wasn’t clear what he was taking photos of.  He said, “You know George, always poking around with that camera, but blimey I don’t know what he thought he was doing.  It was a real headscratcher.  Of course, I called the authorities in fear of his mental health.  There was quite a chill this morning.”

Our reporter saw no such evidence of a camera during the arrest of Mr. Clarkston who seemed overwrought.

Mr. Clarkston’s wife, Gina Layton Clarkston, had no comment.

The nefarious rumors circulating currently seem to be unfounded.  The citizenry is advised to let law enforcement handle the matter.  Further reports will be made when information becomes available. 

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