Dirty Creatures

Dirty creatures. Wasps, ants, cockroaches, and rats. Stinging nettles, poison ivy, bracken and milfoil. Mudshark, bullhead, leach, jellyfish and the red tide. Rub you the wrong way. Other species key in on you. Rat steals the starling’s egg and scurries into the thorny brush. Starling has no recourse but to scream from her nest in the eaves. Pest on pest violence. The rat emerges out the other side and, with wisps of yolk on his black whiskers, squeezes under the tight chain link diamond onto the wide litter strewn easement by the shoulder of the throbbing expressway. The grayish dirty gravel is warm and rubbery. The rat raises his forelegs up to sniff the ether of petroleum exhaust. Bang. The young eagle hits then is up flying low over the traffic with the heavy rat still wiggling in its talons. Fifteen crows explode up like a gothic firework and tail him in wide formation. Catastrophe has a shape. Cop cars on the O.J. white Bronco. They want in on the action but nobody knows what to do just yet. Badass alpha being demands respect. The eagle lights on top of a telephone pole on the far side of the highway. He keeps the rat pinned down and takes a moment to calmly scan the horizon. The crows settle quickly on the adjacent wires. Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. In the middle an intensely distant gaze. Mythical beauty rests in stark contrast to the mundane and polluted surroundings. Ice white crown, bright yellow eyes and piston hard, bible black feathers. Top feeder on bottom feeder. We are repulsed by one and revere the other. The power differential between the two beings is so great that the eagle projects no sense of effort while the large rat reads the exact opposite way. The rat is an odyssey of struggle condensed to the “Coles Notes” version. He knows that something has pierced him clean through and severed something necessary to life. Consciousness has taken a sharp turn. The jig is up. The coup de gras comes quickly as the bird pecks downward between its feet with a partially opened beak. The hooked upper portion is through the rat’s skull and into its cerebral cortex then back up and out faster than any man could ever punch or any horse could ever kick. It is so fast that the motion almost never happened. What later falls to the thorny bracken below is for the crows, ants and wasps. The starling finds a thin, clean, rat rib bone and takes it back to shore up its nest. Dirty creatures