The triumphant Norcal owls were planning a big bash on the top of Mt. Umunhum in the Santa Cruz Mountains to celebrate the liberation of Woodsy Owl from the nefarious cartoon clutches of the Beverly Hills Rat in association with the cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney. The lovely wife of the tawny owl, Thee Mrs., who had nursed the former prisoner back to good mental health by providing him with a nourishing diet that featured copious quantities of Etta James, Nina Simone, and Tina Turner, was going to receive special recognition. I was not invited.
I won’t deny that I felt more than a little butt hurt over that. It wasn’t as if I realistically expected any better, or that I would ever be able to climb that high to the top of any mountain, but still.
The tawny owl closed the subject by saying, “There are times it’s best to know your place.”
“So, what you’re telling me is I’m only meaningful as a diversion.”
He said, “Well, yeah, like…duh.”
Later, I was nursing my wounds while listening to Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, the greatest album for brooding of all time. There was a bottle of cold brown beer on the table beside me that was just about to be opened. Okay, maybe more than one. The rest of my injuries, including but not limited to a nose broken in innumerable places, my cracked elbows, my swollen knees, and now my sensitive butt hurting, were coming along satisfactorily, sort of. But, still.
The tween twins shook me from my solipsistic reverie by reiterating a recurring demand.
The yang twin said, “I need a ride to Pleasure Point so I can go surfing.”
The yin twin said, “Me, too.”
Naively, I asked, “When?”
The yang twin sneered, “When do you think? Now.”
“Why can’t you walk?”
I knew that resistance was futile. I stepped glibly into my marching shoes. I dropped the yang twin off first. He was willing to walk one block in order to avoid being seen with me. As he tucked his board under his arm I heard him rasp at a seemingly innocent passerby, “Locals only, douche. Go back to the Valley.”
I asked the yin twin, “How does he get away with shooting his mouth off like that?”
“Massive sense of entitlement. ”
“What about you?”
“Not as much.”
“But, you’re twins.”
“But not identical.”
I proceeded to the next corner at the crumbling edge of the fragile cliff where Western Civilization ends, and I pulled over. As the yin twin gathered her board, her bag, her wax, her booties, and her sentient electronic devices, along with all of the many apres session accessories required for applications to hair and skin over the long haul, a limousine pulled in front of me, and stopped.
It suddenly seemed as if a fetid stink began to permeate the air. As the the yin twin walked off and followed the rocky path down to the beach, the door of the limousine opened. The sneaky fat cat bodyguards of the Beverly Hills Rat jumped out and scurried up an innocent tree. Then, the Beverly Hills Rat stepped out. The fur on his puny chest was no less oily than usual. Then, he did the unthinkable. He entered my car.
He said, “Sup.”
It was hard to get past the smell without gagging. I was able to identify a rancorous admixture of moldy baloney, rancid mayonnaise, curdling green cheese, French mustard, methane gas, and Arrid Extra-Dry in the economy roll-on format.
I said, “What’s that smell?”
He said, “That’s my brand new fragrance, Faintly Famous. It’s available at Rite-Aid, Safeway, and Wal-Mart, $4.99 on sale now.
I said, “I’m sure it will do well.”
He said, “You know it, dawg. But, enough chatter. I hear you hear things about these pesky owls I need to hear.”
I said, “You wouldn’t believe the shit I hear.”
“I can dig it.”
‘Along with the shit I believe.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Looks like a whole lot of tail sticking out, too.”
“Don’t try to be funny. I’ve heard funny from the best.”
“I can see it hanging when you sashay on the runway.”
I quickly did the arithmetic and retrieved my central thoughts. As a sniveling reincarnation of Benedict Arnold several times twisted, turned, handled, and removed, it was often hard to keep my respective roles tidy, but when it came to the Beverly Hills Rat I knew exactly where in the war against the human enablers of pampered cats who murder beautiful birds I was coming from, which if not enough to get nearly anywhere with clarity, was enough to proceed straight and narrowly ahead. I relayed to the rat not what he wanted to hear exactly, but close enough. There was a beginning to my tall tale and an end. There was no time or place for a filling middle, but there remained that heavy bass beat that the slow kids could dance to.
“I’m hearing Woodsy Owl is trying to make it outside of his gilded cage. With a little help from his friends.”
“No fucking way,” the rat spat. “Not without a manager who knows the ropes.”
“What about the rope tied around his neck?”
“He’ll come crawling back. You’ll see.”
Then I actually spoke the truth as I knew it. I said, “I don’t know what else to tell you.”
He said, “You sure you’re not withholding on me? That’s what my shrink is always thinking.”
I said, “All of the shit you hear from me is all of the shit I’ve got to spill. But, there’s loads of new shit reaching my ears every day. You never know what’s bound to be dumped next.”
He said, “That’s what I like to hear.”
I said, “I knew you would.”
“You keep digging then.”
I said, “It’s what I do.”
He said, “I’ll catch you on the flip side.”
I said, “Fo shizzle.”
Unabashedly, he proclaimed, “Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.”