Once upon a time there was a cardinal. He lived on a college campus, and was known as Kamikaze Karl. For you see every spring morning without fail he would greet the new day with a beautiful song and a crash against the windows by the tree. He would rise with the sun and begin attacking a window, though the darkness was still trapped inside the closed curtain and there were sure to be sleeping girls inside. But Kamikaze Karl did not care about the disturbance he was causing nor the growing feelings that girls had for him.
Some girls loved his sweet melodies and thought of him as their friend. Others constantly fantasized his death, imagining all the horrible ways they could murder him. A few of them took great pleasure in shooting a nerf gun at him to try to scare him away. Pictures of owls were taped to the window, music with loud guitar solos was blasted from stereos, and girls waited by the window with text books in hand to thrust into the bird’s face when his beak hit the glass. A Justin Bieber cutout was even borrowed to try to scare Kamikaze Karl, but nothing would stop him.
Many wondered at Karl’s strange behavior. Those that had named him remembered him from years past, and the question remained; why was Karl still here banging against the windows every spring? They all had their hunches. Maybe Karl was trying to get in because he was lonely and wanted friends. Maybe his goal was for everyone to fail all of their classes by interrupting their sleep. Or maybe when he finally got through a window he would kill all of the girls- a red flash of death swooping in and killing the entire dorm. Other more practical girls insisted that the bird was simply mistaking his reflection in the window for another bird that must be attacked.
But what follows is the true story of Kamikaze Karl and why he crashes into windows every spring:
Young Karl loved the idea of settling down on a college campus. He enjoyed the excitement and activity during the day that reminded him of his city home, and his young bride loved the peaceful weekends and the friendly ducks by the pond that made her think of her childhood.
They built their nest in a little tree right next to a window where Karl knew three sweet freshman girls lived. They loved their baby birds even while they were still in their eggs. Karl became obsessed with protecting his eggs. He would sit in the tree a few feet away from the nest and peer intensely at the world surrounding him. When students walked by, he’d chirp a threatening song. He’d chase away even the friendliest birds that got too close to the tree. Karl was so paranoid he would attack his reflection in the window, thinking it was an evil bird that had come for his eggs.
The other birds laughed at his obsession and quickly gave him the name Kamikaze Karl, mocking him as his head pounded into the glass again and again. But Karl ignored them, thinking only of the safety of his family.
After what seemed like an eternity of listening to the other birds torment him, Karl’s baby birds hatched. He had kept them safe.
Now when birds and students call him Kamikaze Karl, he is flattered. It is a reminder of how he didn’t let anyone hurt his eggs. Every spring when it is time to build a nest his kamikaze side comes out, ready to sacrifice his life for his eggs.
If the girls on campus knew Karl’s story maybe they would understand him. Maybe the frightening owl pictures would disappear and the wild rumors would stop. But they will never know his story, and Kamikaze Karl will always be a secret hero.