To Mom, the blackbirds are something to watch with rapture and dream of painting. To Dad, they're ruining his corn crop and must be destroyed. And so when the county agent sends a pest specialist in to do the job, Marcus' parents fight--just as they fought at Christmas when Dad "slaughtered" a tree to trim. And, just as at Christmas, Marcus' stuttering breaks out. As Marcus and the smart new psychiatrist come to realize, he feels like a "wishbone," pulled between his parents. There are a few more strands which help as fillers, but don't add dimension. For example, the doctor who had worked with Marcus on the stutter is part of the problem, as Marcus knows she wants Dad to ditch Mom and take up with her. If the issue between the parents weren't so stereotyped, or if the mother were more fully characterized or less of a twit (Marcus' good memory involves her fanciful vision of a unicorn), then the son's problems might seem more than a textbook sketch.