Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Bird Strikes

2 Days Sober
I have mentioned that a certain bird has been ranging closer to my sleeping spot, since showing up about 2 weeks ago. I have not been able to identify it by Googling "southern Louisiana aquatic birds," and so have decided to just try to draw the thing (below).
A few days ago, I woke up to find the thing standing an arms length away from me, intently staring into the gap between rocks where I sometimes place food for the mice to eat.
I said: "Big bird, are you alright; are you alright?" in as soothing a voice as I could muster. It was busy staring into the gap, perfectly motionless.
I didn't want to move quickly and spook it; but that became a mute point; as, it wasn't going anywhere. 
I eventually wanted to reach for a cigarette or something, and so I sat up to do so.
It shifted its gaze to me for a second; gave me a look of annoyance, and then went back to watching the mouse hole.
I dozed off for a while before being woken by squeaking sounds, and the feeling of feathers brushing against my arm. 
The bird had a hold of a mouse or baby rat down a hole right by my side (where a piece of a cookie or something might have fallen from me the night before) and as it fought to keep its balance, and angle its beak better into the gap; its wings were just about flapping in my face.
The mouse or whatever it was, escaped, and the bird gave me another annoyed look and then slowly walked off to another spot.
There was no dust on me.
It is one of those birds (like seagulls) which look a lot bigger than you had thought it was when it is standing right next to you (or towering over you). It has a slightly downward curving black beak which looked a lot bigger and a lot sharper up close than I thought had thought it was, also.
I had tried to feed it before, but had no success with cheese nor oven roasted turkey breast.
I was up most of Monday morning, reading by candlelight, sipping apple juice and distilled water alternately every half hour, as the second day of my fast and cleanse was beginning.
I had dozed off right before sunup, and would wind up sleeping most of the day. My body seemed to be tired from all the tension which I could feel gradually easing up in my neck and upper back.
I woke up to the sound of  a small rat frantically squealing. It is a sound that I have heard in the past, and always attributed to the rats fighting amongst themselves, perhaps over food stolen from me while I was asleep.
About 20 feet away was the bird, which had a rat about the size of a chipmunk by the tail and was shaking it vigorously, as if trying to snap its spine. I put on my glasses and turned on my flashlight for a better look.
The racket which the rat was making made me wonder.
Was it just an uncontrollable reflexive reaction to being in pain, or in fear?
Was it trying to frighten the bird into letting it go?
Was it calling to the other rats to come to its rescue?

Or is it a genetically programmed thing whereby the other rats who aren't doomed become warned that there is a bird around, so that they could be on guard?
I had a notion to try to rescue the rat but was pretty sure that the bird would just fly off with it; keeping out of my reach. Then I thought about how many rats there were; yet only one bird; which makes the bird kind of a novelty.
After almost a minute of being shaken; the rat was still squealing and flailing around.
The bird hopped up onto, and ran the length of, a fallen tree trunk which led to the riverbank, still holding the rat by the tail. There, it dipped the rodent like a teabag into the muddy water, held it there for a few seconds, retracted it; whereupon the rat squealed, then repeated the process until it was silent and still. Then it tilted its head back and swallowed it whole.
I couldn't decide if I had just witnessed nature in all its beauty and splendor; or in all its disgusting cruelty.
"That's f**ked up!" I couldn't help thinking out loud.
We (humans) are supposed to believe that they are (all) dumb animals with no feelings...
Earlier This (Monday) evening, I came out and bought some more apple juice and then walked, feeling light-headed and weak, to the Lilly spot, where I decided not to play at all.
I had no money, but no desire to spend any.
I chose to charge my laptop while making a cartoon drawing of the bird attacking the rat, organizing my folders and writing this blog post.
Skeezers were as bad as I have ever seen them.
Dumb Skeezers With No Feelings
The first thing I saw when I came out onto the river walk was a black guy sitting on the first bench which I came to, who said to a couple who were walking just a little ahead of me, "Can you help me out with a few bucks, so I can get something to eat?"
When I went to get the apple juice, the "I'll bet you 20 dollars I can tell you where you got your shoes!" guy was outside Walgreens pestering a couple people ("You got them on Decatur Street in New Orleans, now pay up; a bet is a bet!").
And, when I came out, the "Party Police" guy was "fining" people because they weren't having enough fun (what a barrel of laughs HE is, and close enough to being dressed in impersonation of a police officer that some of these foreign tourists don't know any better).
When I got to the Lilly spot, I saw more skeezers than tourists, up and down the street, which helped make my decision a bit easier.
After I left, I ran into the guy in the "Sponge Bob" costume, who tried to bum a cigarette. If Sponge Bob didn't make enough for a pack of smokes, then, what was I doing out there?
Then, I ran into Louise the tarot card reader, who asked if she could borrow 3 bucks because she hadn't made anything in 5 hours and was going to need an all day bus pass, so she could eat at all the homeless places (today).
And, here I am, ready to make a very cautious and circuitous trip to the dock. It feels more dangerous around here when the skeezers aren't getting their "way."
Time To Get Out Or Go In
If I don't travel soon; I will have to consider trying to rent a place, possibly from Dorise; and just deal with the possibility that I might fall behind on the rent at times and then catch up on it when the once-in-a-blue-moon 100+ dollar tips come my way. I'm sure she understands the nature of the business; and as long as she doesn't see empty liquor bottles and crack pipes laying around if she comes to do an "inspection," might be willing to work with me..


alex carter said...

You might have a "night heron", those will hunt at night. Look up "night heron louisiana" and see if any of those look familiar.

I can't figure out how to eliminate my blog completely, but I did delete all the posts, since there's no real point in keeping a blog.

Sounds like you're in .... skeezer heaven! Kind of like the joke about Santa Cruz or San Francisco that there's an endless circle of bicycles that everyone just steals from each other ... maybe in New Orleans there's a potential endless cycle of skeezers, that if you all get together and skeeze each other hard enough, you'll all get rich.

Daniel McKenna said...

Darn, I wanted to read your blog, so as to get to know better the guy who comments all the time, but the "print to file" option saved it in a format that I guess only a print spooler can read; so I had to delete it myself; you mean the buskinginsilconvalley one or the woodshed?
More on skeezers in today's post; this is a city full of pissed off mentally ill people who aren't getting their crack money right now...
He could have given us all a couple bucks, but instead, he bought a computer; that's a selfish motherf****r! And he has to sit right on the sidewalk outside Starbucks at night just to rub our noses in it!!

alex carter said...

My blog is/was boring, boring, boring. Yeah the buskinginsiliconvalley one, I can't delete the blog itself, but I deleted the posts. Too boring.

For a while there I was taken up with the idea of moving to New Orleans, but have decided that it's definitely not for me. Too many East Coast people, and far too many skeezers. Plus, if I'm going to play violin, I'm in one of the better parts of the country for that right here. Mainly any music is going to be more of a hobby, like your Dad advised you, and I'm probably going to just do the electronics surplus game since it's fairly interesting, can pay well, and frankly I like it.