Why do you take my salami sandwich if you’re only going to hide it in the gutter?

The weather is no longer trustworthy like it used to be back in the old days.
Now it’s different. Now it’s winter one day, summer the next day.
Odin is a-walkin’ down the sidewalk trying to figure out if both hearing aids are on.
He’s trying out hearing aids. The left one keeps cutting out, and he’s afraid he’ll walk in circles if they don’t fix it.
Actually, they’re making him new ones but it takes a while. He was at the shop yesterday and the guy squirted putty into his ears to make templates.
The putty was nice and cold, and made everything quiet.
Odin enjoyed sitting there in the silence while blue putty hardened in his ears.
Then the man removed the putty and the world re-became its old normal self.
Later, at the wine tavern, Odin and his wife and Loki were talking about sports and when swimming came up Odin described swimming a length of a pool underwater and, upon reaching the end and not being out of breath, turning around and swimming all the way back.
He realized that is why the putty felt so good in his ears, it was the same sensation.
He had even held his breath.

There on the corner the grey crow brushes him with his wing and lands atop a black car and regards.
Here you go, pal, says Odin and gives the crow half of half of his salami sandwich. The crow dissects it and hides a piece of bread with salami in the gutter, carefully covering it with leaves.

What say the slain?

No one, when they die, regrets not building more pyramids.
They regret not engaging in enough monkey business.
Ergo: monkey business is the highest human activity. And shenanigans, and hanky-panky. High-jinks, lunacy, antics, pranks and hoaxes.

What say the hanged?
One so often finds oneself in situations externally dictated that it is really nice now and then to be able to say, this is weird, i don’t know what it is, but it’s all mine. Sustain whatever crazy little shard of creative oddness pierces your heart.

He can’t be wounded cause he’s got no heart

Odin goes to the store for a smoothie at lunch. His coat pocket is full of peanuts in the shell.
Believe me when I tell you crows can go through a peanut shell in no time.

Odin gets two small smoothies because they come in bottles he can use to make smoothies at home for Loki, now that he lugged the blender back up to the kitchen from the cellar. The glass jar he used the first time, Loki finally got a janitor to open it for her.

On the way back to the office, halfway up the hill, Odin gives some peanuts to Huginn and Muninn and admires the black storm clouds gathering over the city. There is nothing like that dramatic light, is there, when sun shines on black storm clouds.

He is back in his office before the hail falls.

It doesn’t last long.

Are you happy with your life? Odin’s wife asked him.

He thought about it. He was miserable, but not with his life. It was not his life’s fault. His life was fine and he liked it and he told her that. All the circumstances of his life. Loving wife and daughters. Nice house. Job.

He was just sick of himself. His life was innocent.

He had a dream after that, a nightmare about a beige McMansion. After the dream he asked it questions. Who are the scary men? They are your fears. What is the house? The house is your life.

So maybe he wasn’t 100% happy with his life, really. But it wasn’t his life’s fault it was beige.

What say the hanged?

If you have a twin inside you, don’t stop talking to it or you will eventually forget it is there and it will turn to stone.

What say the slain?

If you think you don’t have a twin inside you, you just haven’t found it yet. Or you forgot it already.

In Russia, cat adopt you

Odin wonders, did kittens have something to do with the loss of his one eye and he made up the story about the spring of wisdom because it sounded more divine?

He wonders, is that what happened to Van Gogh and he made up the whole cut off his own ear story because mad artist sounded better in the 19th century than kitten?

See Odin woke up at 3.30 with a kitten gnawing on his ear, making nomnomnom sounds and purring sounds, and smacking its lips.

It also bathed his entire head as he tried to fall back to sleep.

You ever try to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night with a kitten chewing on your head? he asks the crows.

Of course not.

Of course not. The crows aren’t even there, Odin is just imagining them today. His wife packed him a lunch and he ate it early in his office and now he’s sitting there while workmen drill holes in brick walls on all sides and concrete walls and do other things similarly noisy to floors and ceilings with other power tools.

What say the slain?

Here is what I wish for you: that one day you lay aside the millstone of recognition for just a second and driving down the street, say, you see a young woman walking toward you on the sidewalk, smiling in the morning sunshine, on her way to work, dark hair flowing in the breeze and unaware of you and the sight of her makes you happy and you think, what a beautiful, together, strong, happy, professional-looking, competent, smart, intelligent, interesting, charismatic and unique woman and only then after this objective reaction to a stranger, realize she is your daughter.

What say the hanged?

Seeing yourself at the center of creation is a failure of imagination.

Odin looked at his toe

Odin looked at his toe it was all bloody.

He thought a minute.

Oh yeah he stubbed it earlier in the day.

One mystery solved.

Odin walked to the store, not raining, crow recognized him, followed him to the store.

Do animals have consciousness? They think. They solve problems, is that consciousness? Also crows lie and steal, they look over their shoulders when they’re doing something shady to see if anyone is watching.

Here, Odin gives the crow a hard sausage. A piece of one. Then he gives the crow a second piece to see what it will do.

It studies the pieces. It arranges them side by side, perpendicular, then parallel until it has them arranged in such a fashion that it can get both into its beak at the same time and do something – hide them or fly off with them, Odin doesn’t stick around to watch.

It could have just flown off with one, left the other, come back for it later, but a second crow was watching so it had to take both.

What say the hanged?
I seen you on the dock letting the sunrise warm your face, you were smiling.
I remember how you liked to pick cigarette butts out of the gutter, back when you were still learning to walk.
Second-prettiest eyes I ever saw, some mechanic, brown eyes glowing amber in autumn sunlight.
Prettiest: green-eyed girl in an airport long time ago stopped me in my tracks.

What say the slain?
Nihilism is childish.
Agnosticism is where it’s at.
Certainty is for morans.
Who knows? Not me.
Who knows? Not me. Let’s find out.

Perspective

No crows two days in a row. Odin guesses it’s the umbrella. No rain today and a crow turns up. That doesn’t prove it was the umbrella, it might have been the rain itself, but Odin has a feeling it’s the umbrella.

It’s not like crows are afraid of the rain. Are they? Have you paid attention to that?

Odin can’t say that he has.

He stands on the corner and feeds a crow part of a random sandwich. The crow buries most of it under leaves, and discards the lettuce entirely.

What say the slain?

From above, an umbrella is a large mask.

From above, umbrellas are black monsters eating people.

That the people carry around.

From above, it is a long way down but you’re still flying so it’s okay.

Everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Except existential horror, that is, because even after everything has gone wrong, more can go wrong.

Rain and sunshine are equally beautiful.

The Gauntlet

sunrise01131008The day has a weird liminal feeling to it. Grey and quiet, except for a lawnmower, crows, traffic and pedestrians, like the soundtrack to a National Geographic documentary on urban corvids.

Odin tries his wife’s number but she doesn’t answer.

He walks down the street, past a line of crows. They just stand there watching him: the old black one with white feathers, three grey ones. More keep showing up.

Odin wonders has he overdone the crow thing.

He follows a little old woman with a tiny little dog on a leash. What is it with old people and little pets, he wonders. They can never, like, stay out all night drinking or anything. Sorry, I have to get back to the little dog! And they are the ones with all the time for adventures like that, and then they go tie themselves down.

He turns a corner and a sleek black crow swoops down from the other direction and follows him to the store, hopping from car to car.

Odin’s phone rings. It’s his wife.

The day has a weird feeling to it, says his wife.

Weird and grey and in-between, agrees Odin.

He tells her about the crow gauntlet because she always laughs at his crow stories.

He holds her up to his ear and talks to her all the way through the store.

I picked out a ham-and-cheese sub for the crows, he says.

Which ones?

All of them.

I’m getting cottage cheese now, he says.

He hangs up before paying the cashier.

He feeds all the crows he can find on his way back to the office. They eat the whole sandwich, except he eats the parts with pickles, as they don’t like pickles.

It’s like a day hidden between other days, he had said to his wife.

She agreed.

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.