I was stressing mightily. The battle lines were being drawn. My decision mattered not just to me. What an internal load I carried. It came spinning at me head high, hard and tight, like a bean ball.
The tawny owl had made it abundantly clear in a voice that suffered from no surfeit of mice in his mouth this time that he would be focusing intently from his lofty perch on the details of the diversion it was my duty to create in my role as a traitorous secret agent in the war against sleazy bird murdering cats and their insufferable human enablers. The resultant stink dripped from my chafed pits like an outsourced leak from the hexagonal sewer pipes abutting the Pentagon. Deep down, I burned. I knew it wasn’t hot enough for that, but still.
I took the next nearly one hundred eighty degree turn on Highway 17 as if I didn’t know where it would lead, even though I had been through that treacherous stretch of the Santa Cruz Mountains hundreds of times before. Where, I shuddered to think, was it all going to end up? I needed to come up with something fast and furious. Bitterly, I blamed my indecisiveness on the despicable fact that I was still unable to erase the insipid sound of that Beatles song emanating from my disappointing childhood that only became louder and therefore more stultifying and insipid as I approached my exit. Up ahead, I could hear the amplified bass pounding semi-live and in person. This was the real fucking deal all right.
The rapacious ravagers of the land known for sixty four sorrowful years as Grassy Knolls were celebrating their anniversary with a party. And what a party it was slated to be. No animal is more anatomically suited to simultaneously pat his or her own back while gorging on meat and entrails than a human. Multitudinous arms were suspended in mid-air like poisonous asps. Nails had been filed to make a nitpicking point or points. Achieving the age of sixty four, it seemed, was somewhat of an achievement. Even for inanimate objects. Or perhaps especially for inanimate objects. There was food and drink in gargantuan portions on lopsided tables dug into the denuded dirt. Snorting and pawing could be heard underneath. There was that sort of quasi-music and dancing from sodden days of old that was best suited to sedentary white people without benefit of movable hips who were pretending to be more than just swollen.
What, I tortuously pondered, would constitute a sufficiently stirring diversion to force such an oblivious crowd of human enablers stomping on the formerly hallowed grounds upon which the Catastrophe of 1949 had taken place to sit up and take notice?
And furthermore, to compound my consternation, before he had flown off, my officially superior and commanding officer in our mutually gruesome undertaking, performing according to his rank as His High Unholy Majestic Hipness, (HHUMH), Thee Tawny Owl, cackled somewhat disturbingly, “Don’t matter exactly how ’cause I’ma be laughing my ass no matter what.”
I said benignly, honored, yet numb, and humbled, “I don’t know what to say.”
In my understandably dazed and dizzying state of distraction, therefore, which above all else I still maintain to be a direct consequence of unsettling issues associated with that blithering, insipid song as sung by my disappointing father while sitting cross legged on a hardwood floor and humping a defenseless guitar, I drove heedlessly into one of the massive boulders wrenched barbarically from the ancient mire of the Cenozoic Period and transported from the American River east of Sacramento that flanked the gated entrance to Grassy Knolls. Just like that, damage was done.
I was only going about twenty miles per hour, but still. Believe me, it hurt on multiple levels. I nearly blew the small left side of my brain that had not previously been blown. Unless it was the right side. As the airbag popped me a good one in the chops that raised an instant welt along with a developing facial bruise that looked as if I had been made a hapless sparring partner of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada, I heard the cutesy song lyrics continue semi-live despite all of the pain the hollow words continued to caused:
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?
Then, before I knew what hit me again, or anything else, I was looking up at faces formed in a circle of nominally concerned citizens.
I heard one snide voice say, “Where’s the liability here?”
Another said, “Don’t worry. We’re covered.”
“Does that mean we can touch him?”
“I wouldn’t go that far. I think we should wait for the professionals to handle it.”
But, despite my state of disorientation, I was confident I knew something important that these snide voices did not. I knew that by the time the professionals arrived, it would be too late. I could hear it begin when the quasi-music from the formerly living Beatles stopped dead. That’s when the initial shit hit hard. The first contagion of expired mice began to rain from the sky. Most of them had been regurgitated by barn owls living adjacent to the strawberry fields in the Pajaro Valley. They were highly influenced by the output of gases from any number of spinning pinwheel galaxies many scads of light years away. Then the histrionic shrieking began from the humans, the shouting, the bellowing, the cursing, the recriminations. Accusations flew like stuffed turkeys at acrimonious Thanksgiving affairs. I could hear the cats going fucking crazy. They didn’t know which way to turn so they turned in circles. Such sub-human pussies they turned out to be. Then, naturally, multiple hound dogs hurried to the spot where the shit was stinkiest, along with their nominal masters, and began to bark and howl like sideshow carnies at the circus for midgets. I wanted to be able to get up and witness some of the first salacious details but when I heard the initial gunshot resound I was satisfied to stay put. I knew there was going to be a whole lot more fucking shit to go down. With bolt action and recoiling aplenty. And I wasn’t going to miss any of that for the fucking world. Not the fucking world as I knew it to be.
Now, if I could only get that song out of my head.