Ever since I was introduced back in the day to my first singer-songwriter, architect-designer, actor-waiter, writer-blogger, and professional-hitman, I’ve always enjoyed the stylish comedy routines of the self-styled hyphenates. Who can blame those who strive so mightily to have it all or nearly so, who are able to squeeze no less than two ways and means through a single leaking sieve, and who rise high to partake heartily of whatever the dead red meat, fowl, or slick eel being skewered on the chalk-written menu of the moment. I especially enjoy the heavy-duty, the far-out, the laid-back, and the semi-conscious. What more magnificent a cesspool of ill-conceived confusion can there be?
The forest ranger with the round Smoky hat who started out attempting to ask many of the standard, time-tested alpha questions reminded me of one of those vintage cartoons featuring a pudgy bear with a day-glo lanyard and a plastic whistle around his neck. I declined to invite him inside, but not specifically because of him. I’m the one who smelled so bad. In his off-hours he was a respectable assemblage-artist and devoted free-lancer. Many of those off-hours were spent sifting through blackened semi-precious jewels at the Santa Cruz County Dump. He referred to himself in a brochure he co-wrote and laid out using a bootleg copy of Photoshop as an artisan-naturalist. He employed lots of small river rocks, twisted K-Y jelly tubes, discarded Twix wrappers, Siamese cherry bombs, kitty litter, coffee caddies, and dried Elmer’s Glue pellets, and he employed them well.
His tone when interrogating, however, was so obsequious that even I felt bad for him, though not bad enough.
I said, “Please don’t call me sir. Do I look like a sir to you?”
“Yes sir, all sirs do. According to regulations.”
“What about an out-and-out weenie, a putz, or a schmuck?”
“Please don’t inform me that also includes a wacko Islamo-Fascist wearing a vest that is preparing to commit ritualized hara-kiri.”
“I’m afraid so, sir.”
“Ontologically, that’s not an optimal condition. We could proceed in a downward spiral from there. For the record, however, I don’t respond well to ambiguous regulatory stimuli.”
“There is no record, sir. This is an informal fact finding session.”
From the other side of the door where my eighteen security cameras were whirring, the one tween twin who consistently proves worthy of heavy-duty trust interrupted in a timely manner, “Don’t worry, daddy, I have it all down. It can be up on the Internet with just one click.”
“That’s my girl.”
“There’s no cause to become hostile, sir.”
“That’s plenty enough cause for me.”
“Do you think this is funny, sir?”
“Why would you insinuate that?”
“Perhaps due to the smirk on your face, sir.”
“That’s no smirk. That’s a crooked grin. I was born with it. It originates genetically on my baboon side. It goes so far back it can’t be disguised. Believe me, I’ve been there. In any case, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. How inappropriate of you to suggest otherwise. I’ve been forced to accept it so why not you? And with such wanton dis-regard. My break-through prognosis came directly from a professional-psychiatrist at considerable cost. Shit continues to invariably happen, or so those who say, say. Am I supposed to pretend I know who ‘they’ are? It’s been a long haul since we all came out of Africa. Plus, I admit that one of my legs is shorter than the other. I require artificial lifts to boost performance, which causes additional stress on shaky bones. Are you going to subject me to a guessing game designed to reveal which one? How many more gay slurs do you have in your quiver to shoot? I think I’m owed an apology if not more than that. Don’t you think I would cherish symmetry if I could?”
His nominal buddy-partner, the surfer-wannabe with the artificial abs that employed very little flab, and who had been driving the official government-issued gas guzzler in which they had arrived, was so embarrassed that it seemed seriously to me as if his a-rhythmic to-and-fro shuffling was a cry for help that could be logically mis-diagnosed as a need to piss real bad.
Before we proceeded any further, I said “You can go over there and use the bushes for cover. I do it all the time.”
He did just that, although I hastily re-considered my conclusion and decided he might be faking it. Either way, in due time, with the proper framing, it would look delightfully scandalous on You Tube.
I pointedly turned my head, coughed, and addressed his superior-officer, “I guess that just about wraps it up then.”
“One last question, sir, before we re-group. Are you familiar with the noted naturalist-mascot of the U.S. Forest Service, Woodsy Owl?
I had to think fast on my dirty feet. Was it a trick question? Didn’t Woodsy Owl perish in the eighties due to excessive lampooning along with Duran-Duran, Rudolf Nureyev, and the Berlin Wall? I took a stab in the dark and replied, “Not since a memorable middle school assembly. Some kid hit him in the head with a used up-corn cob. But, it wasn’t me.”
“I’m not going to pretend that Woodsy has not suffered his set-backs in the past. But, he was due to begin his come-back out of retirement tonight at Grassy Knolls. Only now, we discover he is missing. His cage has been emptied. We are concerned of a kidnapping. Woodsy remains a highly valuable member of our team.”
“What was he doing in a cage?”
“Maybe he became chafed by all the comfort and rest and he flew the coop. If I was in a cage, I would.”
“Comments like that, sir, are exactly among the causes for suspicion for which we are searching. It was your car that we found at the scene of the crime.”
“Is my car a suspect?”
“We’ve received no communication of any kind as of yet.”
“I don’t see how my car can be a suspect in a kidnapping. It appears to me as if mistakes have been made. Maybe your team-member got lost taking a leak. My car leaks, but only a little. If you feel the need to probe my car, be gentle. We had a rough ride together. As you may have noticed, I’m still sore. I don’t know what else I can tell you.”
But, I did know. Or I thought I did, which was close enough for me. For now, though, it became time to shut the fuck up. I bore down hard in trying. The details would have to wait until later. The war against the human enablers of cats murdering beautiful birds required sacrifice and I was prepared. I remained clammed-up, tamped-down, zip-lipped, tight-assed. It seemed to me, though I had no idea how or why, that my mission had been a success. I was sure the tawny owl was perched nearly to the top of the redwood tree that loomed above my driveway, nodding his big head in approval.
“I’m sorry to say, sir, this is a case that will have to remain open until it’s closed. We will be in contact. I’m afraid this is not over yet.”
I was keenly aware at that crystalline moment how much I still ached, itched, smelled, oozed, diffused. I was stuck with thorns, cut by wires, sunken in mire. But I am happy to affirm, that no less than an expanding beam of effusive light from Galaxy NGC3314, I was positively smirking as I said, “I’m going to predict you’re wrong about that.”