High tide had come and gone. The avocados were ready for mashing. The Meyer lemons were primed to be mercilessly sliced and squeezed, the cilantro decimated, and minced. I had a sharp knife in my hand. I was prepared to assume the position.
I’m not usually comfortable with sharp knives. There are too many important reasons why. History, economics, and sociology mostly. I usually prefer dull knives with less potential to wreak havoc. But, this time I was not sweating it. I was as cool as I was ever going to be. I had more than one bottle chilling of my favorite brown beer. I could hear flutes with mutes, bassoons, an alto saxophone. And jerky words, like puppets, distended.
You can make it if you try.
Yeah, yeah, ooh, ooh.
Next, in mid-motion, at which I am often caught, unaware, changing direction, I decided to sweep up a prior mess on the floor staring me insolently in the face. Clearly, it had to be my mess. Or else, why? I turned in a full circle to be sure. A slide trombone followed my steps. I remembered to first put down the knife. Of course, by this time the brown beer had come closer. Then I noticed the little yellow warbler sitting on my deck in the shade. He dropped a tidy circular shit bomb but he didn’t fly away. He didn’t move. I stepped outside and asked him the reason why. He still didn’t move. I remained curious. Wasn’t there plenty of shade in the trees? Later, I wondered how different it would have been with the knife still in my hand.
I was surprised, also later, when the tawny owl seemed to show some interest. I often think that the tawny owl knows facts of matter before they occur, which according to the tawny owl is not such a big deal for a superior creature. But, still.
He said, “I heard you talking at that little yellow warbler this afternoon.”
“Why do you say ‘at’? That wasn’t how I felt about it. He listened to me talk, I admit, and maybe I said too much, but I was also listening to him sing.”
“I guess you don’t know that ‘he’ is a ‘she’, do you?”
“I don’t see how that matters,” I sputtered, disjointedly.
“You probably don’t have much experience with seed peckers.”
“I have to be honest. This was my first.”
“That little yellow warbler is a looker, I’ll give you that. And sings sweet like a cute baby teeny tweeter. But,then she fades. Not much meat on the bones.”
“From what I could gather, I think she was having a rough day.”
“For a seed pecker, even pecking for seeds is hard. Too much dust to fight off, clods to scratch at, too many darts to dodge. Can’t see good through the haze. Not a lot of give from a seed pecker, lots of tension, take.”
I said, “I think I hear you.”
“All they really want to do is sing.”
“Can you blame them?”
“Hell, yeah. Who pays later? Seed peckers are prey for cats. Cute teeny tweeters, too.”
I said, “She does seem kind of slow.”
“You know what cat I’m talking about.”
“Are you going to be the one to save your teeny tweeter from the white cat next door?”
“I think you’d be better at that than me.”
He said, “Uh huh.”
I said, belatedly, “I”m not sure what I can do.”
I knew the tawny owl was going to be flying around midnight to the highest point in California, Mt. Whitney, where he would be circulating at 14000 feet with eagles, falcons, and hawks, as a participant in an annual conclave that focused on issues vital in this and adjoining galaxies to the integral raptor population in California, the highest flyers on the food chain. The tawny owl is a highly esteemed big brain on the West Coast, unlike humans a user of all of his faculties simultaneously, and then some, and multiversally considered the sharpest of all sources on voluminous matters pertaining to the spiral Galaxies NGC3314a and NGC3314b.
I added, “I’ll do what I can. But, I’m only human.”
He said, “Uh huh.”
Later, as I chewed, sucked, and swallowed, a warped pair of quasi-human heads were glowing on the tube, emitting poisons. Their skin was carted out separately on horizontal platforms with ball bearing wheels. Tongues were attached at odd angles, rearranged vertically, teeth hollowed out. Massive blobs of gunk were spewing cockeyed, and sideways. No form meshed mechanically with no content like iron asp jaws.
I said, although there was no response I could attest to, “I think I need something to lubricate my throat.”
Flat out, they were some hideous fucking creatures. I thought, whoa. I reached for the controls as if I could assume command. I figured someone might be sneaking up on me again. When I remotely offed them I felt better. No correlation to any known quantity was necessary. I felt next to nothing. Still, I was worried.
The next morning my window was open and the birds were bopping to Bob Marley and his unleashed children. Leave it to Stephen and Ziggy to be crazy and incite the wildlife. But, I did not see the yellow warbler. I worried some more, ate some seeds, berries, a prickly fruit. There may or may not have been grains involved. My mediocre eyesight does not go far and I try to take it one step at a time. The little yellow warbler rarely escaped my more worrisome thoughts, though. I continued to worry periodically throughout the day. I was oblivious to all the doings in Galaxy NGC3314, a and/or b. I drank more brown beer. I ate more food that saved my life. I did not sleep as I worried at a more rapid rate. Time continued without me. I listened for every stray yowl.
The next day, I maintained a lookout using binoculars. There was a stout strap hanging around my neck. I had an admitted problem with my hands shaking. It became unclear if I my grip was coming loose. There were hundreds of bees buzzing on spiky purple flowers a few feet in front of me. If I remember correctly, I may have encountered a wayward pair in passing. I do remember, if somewhat faintly, sneezing, wheezing, wiping. I also remember waking up. That was often an ongoing mistake.
I’m still unclear about what came right before that. Unless it was after. I’m pretty sure it holds the key. I know it was getting late, always. Or else I’m locked out again, and screwed. But, the aftermath continues. Soon, it will be dark again. Then what?