01 August 2012

Do You Mind? (Songbirds of North America, Part 3)

Grayson hobbled to the left, and then he hobbled to the right. Having expended the last scraps of his energy, he collapsed in a heap. The camera pulled back, back, back. Grayson was face down in the middle of a deserted street. Unexploded bombs surrounded his motionless form. A small child wandered through the street, zig-zagging his way to Grayson.

As the piss-gulls rushed out of the heights and dive-bombed poor Grayson's inert form, the small child waved his arms as if to say “off with you! Off with you!” The piss-gulls took no notice of the little child waving his arms. They dove closer and closer to Grayson.

One large, beige piss-gull landed upon Grayson's back. He lifted his beak and turned. Right then left. Right then left. He pecked at the back of Grayson's head and then gave the strangest call that anyone had ever heard. “Ou-whah...ou-whah. Piteema. Piteema.” The piss-gull leapt into the air and caught a current beneath his wings.

All of Grayson's spirit was caught up in that piss-gull, and it took wing that day. The bird reflected on the spirit within him, and was never so confused as he was in flight that day. The spirit of Grayson moaned, it shook, it wept. The spirit of Grayson called out for all those it had known over the previous thirty years, and it wailed such as had not been heard before in these parts. The piss-gull flew higher and higher, higher and higher. It climbed a circular gyre into the heavens and for the first time the piss-gull was light headed from lack of oxygen. The piss-gull suddenly stopped flapping his wings and he glided – silently and silently. The wind beneath his wings was the only sound he made. High-altitude puffer-fish were scared to say a word and the lifeguards turned their heads in mock distraction.

Silently, silently. The piss-gull, infused with the spirit of Grayson, thought back about the doctor of philosophy who had been the Sabre-jet pilot in 1950-something. High in the stratosphere or somewhere this doctor of philosophy had plied the waters of the airy ocean, seeking target after target and defending the right of piss-gulls to call out “piteema” when charity was expended along with the last scraps of energy.

The sabre-jet steered its eternal exhaust trail into the heavens, and the doctor of philosphy jjust quietly closed his book and put down his pen. The piss-gull winged his way home. The small child dropped his arms to his side in disappointment and set his sights on the journey to Jerusalem.

Grayson became like the dust and the dew and the fine, precious oil that runs down upon the beard and down to the skirts of his garments. And Grayson let go and Grayson departed. Grayson departed while he lie there. Slow, quiet, and soft, like the very path of the saber-jet as it winged its way to eternity.

“Ou-whah...ou-whah. Piteema. Piteema.”

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