Friday, January 23, 2009

crows swarm the scarecrow

The news was like a paper cut, quick, narrow, and superficial, but totally ow.


Crows flew overhead and the grass looked burned out, like someone had doused it with a bottle of cheap bleach blonde hair dye.


The speaker stood on a cracked milk crate, yelling into a megaphone that wasn't turned on.


"There's good news and bad news," the voice said. "I'll give you the good news first. That's that the world is not ending!"


We hurrahed. Some exploited the situation by hugging the attractive person standing next to them. Can't blame them really, the world was not ending, the world was absolutely safe, its future resolute.


We hushed. "And now for the bad...the bad news," the voice continued. "The really...really bad...bad news."


The huggers huddled, closer now, embracing, bracing.


"Even though the world will remain, it will crack open like an egg smacked against the rim of a Pyrex bowl. Don't worry though, you'll barely notice. As soon as it happens, pieces of shell will shoot up and get imbedded in your skin. Your life will burst out of you like water from a breeched levee."


The doctor was standing next to me. She pressed her stethoscope to her own heart. The blood drew from her houndish face, "My ticker meters truth," she mouthed. "This speaker is not full of you know what. What was said true blue."


I didn't know what to say, much less do, and much lesser, react.


This morning, I hadn't woken up expecting to cease. I put jelly on my toast optimistically, panted my legs with absolute joie de vivre.


Foolish now, I see. But who knew, you know?



As it happens, the crows swarm the scarecrow half an acre from where I stand, taking risks their ancestors would tisk at.


An old man envelopes my one good hand between his two papery ones. He's wearing a straw cowboy hat and spurs on his bright white tennis shoes. He's never been a wise man, but at a time like this, profundity can well up even in those who are otherwise dense as granite.


As he talks, really letting it roll, enthralling me, he suddenly draws one hand away from mine. He jabs the hand into his breast pocket, pulls out a handgun and begins firing at the crows. He misses and they scatter.


"My aim ain't what it used to be, it seems." That's the last thing I hear.


The fragmented world keeps on its axis and spins, even without us around to pay it mind. It's indifferent. I guess. I see that now.

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