Theodore Sharma marveled at the towering Sequoias that surrounded him with his blue eyes. Long ago, he would come into these woods often, but years had passed since he last appreciated the natural monuments of wonder. A mixture of many conflicting emotions raged inside him after seeing the place for the first time in years. He stirred with nostalgia, anger, and regret while his eyes came to rest on the blue minivan that he had inherited so long ago. Theo reached into his pocket and pulled out both a cigarette and a silver lighter. Once the cigarette had been placed in his mouth, he ignited it, exhaling a cloud of smoke as he did so. After he had finally finished his self reflection, he climbed into the van and started rummaging around for nothing in particular. It wasn't long before he found a short letter in his glove box.

Dear Dr. Sharma (I know you like that title these days…),
Hey Theo! This is Shay. Now wait, before you crumple up this piece of paper and light it ablaze with that shiny lighter of yours, listen to what I have to say. I know that you would never talk to me in person after all that's happened, but I needed to talk to you somehow, so I opted for the cowardly route and slipped a note into your glove box! Anyway, listen, I really am sorry about what happened with the coppers, I don't know how many times I have to say it before you'll forgive me. I want to make it up to you though, so whenever you get my message, call me. The number I'm using right now is on the back of this paper. I have something for you, and I think you're going to dig it.
Your old friend,

Reading this letter was too much for Theo. He promptly crumpled the letter into a neat little ball, and a tear crept down his face as he fumbled around his pockets for his lighter. When he finally found it, he lit it ablaze and threw it out the window onto the gravel parking lot below. Content with his outburst, he thrust the key into the ignition and drove away, into the trees that he and Shay had once enjoyed together.

Days had passed since Theo's time in the woods, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he somehow owed it to Shay to call him. Theo paced back and forth in the cramped motel room in which he currently lived, phone in hand. With one last glance at his blue van—a van that was once Shay's—he made a final decision. Dialing the number, he shuddered with anticipation. It rang and rang, but finally, there was an answer. The conversation was abrupt, but by its end, they had decided to meet that very night.

Theo hopped out of the van and walked towards Shay, who was leaning against a tattered old red car. He and Shay were in the bottom of a ravine with a road snaking to and fro, towards the surface. The sight was quite beautiful, but Theo hardly noticed it as he came to a stop in front of Shay.

“Theo! It's great to see you outside and walking around again! How have you been?”

“Listen, I just want to get this over with. Why have you wanted to contact me so badly?”

Shay portrayed a hurt expression. “Come on man, cut me some slack! I just want to have a little chat with an old buddy, that's all.” Theo shot a glare half disgust, half anger. “Okay,” Shay interjected to end the silence “We'll catch up later. First, I want to give you your surprise.”

Theo suddenly decided that none of this trite banter was worth the drive and turned towards his van.

“Hey! HEY! Come on man, don't be like that! Please, just come look at my thing! It's really just one last gift to say I'm sorry that I got you locked up, okay? To clean my conscience and all that.”

“Why should I accept your gift? I've given you the benefit of the doubt before, and look where it's gotten me! You ruined my life!”

“You think I don't know that? That's what's up man, I just want to make up for all the trouble I've caused for you.”

“If I take this surprise of yours, will you promise to never talk to me again?”

Shay looked as if he was on the verge of crying. “Well, yeah. Sure, if that's what you want…”

“Alright, give me this stupid surprise so that I can be on my way.”

Shay entered his old, rusty car and proceeded to retrieve something from the back seat. Once he had climbed back outside again, he held up a bird cage with a raven inside it. Puzzled by what he saw, Theo looked up at Shay.

“What's this supposed to be?”

“It's your gift!” he stated, looking rather proud of it, as if it were some great accomplishment.

“It's a bird…why are you giving me a bird?”

“It's not just any old bird, I made this myself. Well, with the help of some friends, anyway. Remember way back, when I said I was looking for some work? Well, after searching for awhile, I found this group of guys that call themselves anarchists and they could break all sorts of rules, and they taught me how to do it!”

“So it's a stolen bird. How's that supposed to make me feel better?”

“No man, you got it all wrong. Not the law, the rules of physics and shit. Well, not only physics though, all sorts of stuff. This raven here is real great, because it's supposed to help people when they're all depressed. I thought that it would be a good step to making up for what I did. It's sorta intelligent too, so it can even understand what you're saying to it.”

“A therapist bird that helps me with my feelings? Have you been smoking again?”

“Just take the bird okay? You'll see sooner or later.”

Theo just stood for a moment, mulling it over. “If I take this raven, you never contact me again?”

“Yeah, sure, whatever.”

Reluctantly snatching the cage from Shay, Theo traveled back to his van, and began driving up the snaking road. However, as he climbed further towards the top, there was an abrupt and loud roar of sound, and the blue van swerved off the road, tumbling back down into the ravine before skidding to a stop right in front of Shay. Shay watched the car intently, bewildered by what had just happened. After a few moments had passed, the group of anarchists emerged behind him.

“We trusted you, Brodbeck. So why did you give our item away to some passerby and force us to do this?” Asked the leader.

“He was like a brother to me, and I put him through terrible things. I just wanted to give him something back!” Shay sobbed. “But look at where I am now. I should never of gotten myself involved in all this. Please, just kill me now!”

The anarchists exchanged glances with each other, before retreating into where they were hiding before, leaving Shay alone. As he wept, the raven serenely flew onto Shay's shoulder, and gently wiped the tears from his eyes with its foot.