Can we have a show of hands?

The air in northern Crete, in the week of Easter, has a grainer scent to it than springtime air in Vienna. Cretan spring air is herbal and smells of land, and sea, while that in Vienna is floral and urban.

At least where Odin works it is.

How many of you removed a tick from a teenaged girl’s navel today? Can we have a show of hands? Because Odin has.

Odin wonders if he leads a charmed life.

Also, whenever he hears the word TICK his skin crawls and he has to exert effort to not scratch himself from head to toe and shake his hair like a dog emerging from a lake.

Odin had a thing recently. It must have been Tuesday because on Monday it was raining and on Tuesday he needed to go to the tobacco shop to get back on schedule with his lottery tickets – Odin is in the habit of buying tickets for two different games, and if he buys them on the wrong days they are more expensive because the optional drawing options (which are obviously a scheme to get customers to pay additional marginal fees, but OTOH are also the only thing Odin ever wins) are for two drawings instead of just a single drawing. So he has to synchronize his purchases and when he is on schedule buys only on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

We shall not dwell on this because a full explanation would be even more confusing than the above.

Odin had a thing recently. On his way to catch a streetcar after work, the grey crow followed him up the street, and Odin felt badly about being empty-handed. On his way to get the lottery tickets on Tuesday on his lunch break, the crow followed him down the sidewalk again, this time not flying but walking, sort of waddling like a casual little penguin, while Odin spoke to it.

Sorry, little dude. I’m fasting today.

But Odin bought a ciabatta-looking roll with cheese baked over it at the bakery next to the tobacconist and stood on his corner waiting for the crow, nibbling his cheese roll. The crow arrived at the moment Odin gave up on it.


Odin tossed it the remains of the roll, about 80%, and the crow hesitated only briefly before flying away with it.

With the flat, rectangular roll in its beak, it looked like a flying hammerhead shark.

Odin’s conscience was assuaged.

No, wait: this was on Monday (Monday is also an okay day to buy lottery tickets) because on Tuesday the rest of the thing happened: returning from a walk, Odin saw his crow on the sidewalk by the corner, eating.

Odin was fascinated to realize that he is not the only human trained by the crow.

The man was sharply dressed, in an expensive blue suit, Ascot tie, nice watch and shoes. Somewhat younger than Odin, let’s say in his forties. When he noticed Odin, he concealed the roll in his hand (Odin had half a mind to tell the man corvids like meat, too, man) and examined the display of a mobile phone. Odin greeted him and the man greeted back.

Odin disappeared around the corner. A blackbird watched Odin from a gate and Odin watched it back. It looked birdlike and mechanical, like the robot robin in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and just like that he remembered Laura Dern’s grimace in Blue Velvet when Isabella Rossellini showed up naked on the porch – a facial expression like the sum total of all silent movie face acting in history.

And he imagined Second Crow Man inhaling nitrous oxide thru a plastic mask.

And singing.

Odin’s wife recently said to him that he sometimes says things that seem more the result of his bizarre trains of thought than what immediate company is saying or doing. She seems convinced that his mode of thought is exotic.

Isn’t everyone like this? Odin tells himself. Everyone thinks this way, right?

Or are some people really just baked potatoes all the way through?

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