Lunchtime asteism

Man: Why do you call me Mr. Peanuts?
Corvid: If we called you Mr. Peanut we’d be exposing ourselves to civil litigation over trademark violation.
Man: Why not Mr. Sandwich? You eat more of my sandwiches.
Corvid: Peanuts are better for caching, they don’t get soggy. And you can carry three at a time in your beak.
Corvid: At least three. You can carry three easily, more than that, it might lack grace.
Man: I’ve been meaning to ask you, why do you sometimes cache vittles beneath the tires of parked automobiles? Don’t you mind your food getting squished?
Corvid: Ehn, we haven’t figured cars out 100% yet.
Corvid: They make great toilets, though. That much we know.

To do

Knock alarm clock onto floor [x]
Hit ‘on’ button on coffee machine [x]
Realize your wife had already turned it on, so you just turned it back off, so turn it back on [x]
Make coffee [x]
Mop kitchen floor and bathroom floor [x]
Get reprimanded by wife for doing a half-assed job [x]
Check outside temperature, put tortoise out, saying, “You are a very naughty tortoise” [x]
Mop kitchen floor a second time [x]
Write in journal a little [x]
Take shower, get dressed [x]
Go to store for cat food [x]
Drive kid to school [x]
Drive to work [x]
Take a walk at lunch time but fill pocket with peanuts first [x]
When the crow swoops by your ear, feel gratitude at being alive so you can hear the whoosh of a crow flying close [x]
Give crow peanuts [x]
Observe crow hiding peanuts by poking them down into grass and carefully covering them with leaves [x]
Stand there a long time watching the crow, which is big and fat and sleek. Also grey, so grey crow most likely, c. cornix [x]
Buy a sandwich at the store [x]
Give the crow more peanuts until it stops even hiding them and just stares at you, stares you down, then give it part of your sandwich and watch as it throws away the tomatoes and lettuce, throws them with great dislike, and tastes the mozzarella carefully, and flies away with the roll [x]
Wonder why slain and hanged. Were those the only causes of death in ancient Scandinavia? [x]
Develop a theory of the multiverse based on choice, with alternate universes bubbling up like foam, branching off from each other with every choice, a few conscious, most not, most not even imagined or suspected [x]
Think about the foam you used to see on blades of grass in the field in early summer, when the grass was still green, put there by some insect [x]
Realize you just created another universe just now, one in which you actually did think about the grass of your childhood, another where you did not [x]
The crow, however, did not create an alternate universe in which he eats a peanut instead of hiding it, because even though the number of alternate universes is infinite and growing larger all the time, in none of these does the crow eat a peanut, that’s how tired it is of peanuts [x]
Go back to work [x]

Odin tries to think sometimes

A week of flatpack furniture assembly.

Crows swooping close.

A habanero plant with slugs on every chili pepper.

Rain, but then sun.

Odin walks past the bench. He walks in the direction of the lottery ticket shop, in the direction of the bakery, but then circles back to the office, crossing gliding crow trajectories, because he feels neither hungry nor lucky.

When did newspapers change their slogan from “All the news that’s fit to print” to “Be very afraid”?

Odin wishes he could have thoughts more complicated and clever than “the universe is heaven, except when we make it hell”.

Maybe a more clever thought will come along soon.

Any time now, maybe.

In his office, which he shares with a dozen people because of rennovation work on his regular office, they have put the radio right behind Odin, and it plays 90s’ classics all the live-long day.

Some of the songs are okay. Most are not.

This can be said of most eras.

Odin makes a deal with a crow. They trade bodies and Odin flies around.

Odin swoops down the street past a police officer with a machine gun guarding a sensitive embassy.

He flies over red urban rooftops and marvels at the ivy turning red and the distant mountains and bodies of water glistening in the sunlight.

He marvels at the sound of wind in his feathers.

He flies back and trades back for his old body.

People come around the corner with rakes and pitchforks.

A woman points at him and shouts, “There he is! Get him!”

Odin wonders what the crow did while they were trading bodies.

What crows dream of, I guess.

Fledgling

Odin is walking to work, it’s early, he took a later train because his kid skipped school but it’s still early and he walks around a corner by his office and a fledgling something hops up to him.

Whoa, hello little dude says Odin.

He squats down and the little grey bird hops over to him.

Don’t get too friendly, says Odin. Also watch out for cats.

Odin looks over the little bird, trying to decide if it’s a cuckoo or a crow. He guesses crow. There must be a nest.

Odin has no food for it.

He apologizes.

He squats there in his suit having a stare-out with the baby crow. He wonders if the crow is imprinting his face.

We’ll see, I guess.

The bird flaps its wings and gets a little air.

Watch out for cats, Odin repeats. He stands and when he does, he notices another fledgling further on down the sidewalk, exploring. He has the impression there might be a couple more out there, but when he looks closer he doesn’t see any more.

What say the slain?

What’s a slain, says the fledgling.

 

Quickening

It’s Friday and on Fridays everyone has a two-hour lunch break (you do, right? If not, send a letter to your Congressman) and because OdinĀ  has time to meander a roundabout path he almost makes it to the store before the crow notices him.

Let me tell you something: having largish birds swoop around you close enough to hear their feathers on the air quickens the heart with joy, as long as they’re not pecking at you or shitting on you or something belonging to you or where you wanted to sit.

Heart quickened, Odin buys a mylar bag of cashew nuts and dried cranberries, and a small plastic bag of miniature dried sausages.

Odin eats some nuts and eats a sausage on his way back to the bench to share with the crow.

The atmosphere is cycling back and forth between the poles of nice, sunny, late-spring day and Is it maybe going to rain or not, without ever actually raining.

When he arrives at the bench, Odin is thinking about writing a love scene with the sentence, They kissed so hard a piece of dried sausage trapped between two molars was dislodged.

The grey crow has its rules of engagement, and they include not approaching closer than four feet. It will not come onto the bench for a bite of sausage. It hides the big pieces, and some of the nuts, and eats the small pieces and the rest of the nuts and cranberries.

On a two-hour lunch break, you have time to just sit on a bench in the sun/shade/sun/shade and rejoice in being a living thing.

Part of all this.

Just a part, one part among many.

What say the slain?

How fortunate you are, this very second.

And how I love you.

The science of evil

Odin is not hungry so he goes to a park because it’s such a nice day. He sits on a bench and reads a book.

He is careful not to sit on a bench by the playground near the park entrance, because Odin is a middle-aged man in a suit and the book is The Science of Evil and that might not go over well in a playground, although Odin himself finds it a charming image.

Odin sits on white bench under a giant Blood Beech tree (so they are called in German) and reads a black book about zero negative empathy and the neurological origins of evil.

He borrowed the book from his kid, sort of half-trading it for The Wisdom of Psychopaths, a book of his.

Move along, nothing to see here.

People jog past. People walk past. People sit on the grass and sun themselves.

Sit in the park reading a book about evil: isn’t this what a Bond villain might do? Am I a potential Bond villain? wonders Odin.

What is a Bond villain anyhow, nowadays?

Someone with more than a certain quantity of money, he thinks. Above a certain amount of money, the evil ensues automatically.

Once you have more than what could be defined, by any stretch of the imagination, as ‘enough’ you are a Bond villain, because someone who is not a Bond villain would have paid their taxes, or given away the excess.

Nowadays, you don’t need a ray gun pointed at the moon. Nowadays, you are the Koch Brothers, fracking. You are Dick Cheney, running a fake real war from a hidden location.

Odin goes back to his reading.

I know these people, he thinks, reading case studies.

Better than, I am these people, he thinks.

Am I these people?

Am I?

A black crow, a stranger with a crooked wing feather, watches Odin from beneath a car when he walks back to the office.

Odin watches it back.

Am I?