Putting the Odd in Audubon

December 21, 2014 at 6:07 am (Cussed Dumbers)

I looked to the sky, watching hundreds of crows circle and group on the ledge of the building. (Note to self: Step back from edge of building.) The birds have been congregating near the waterfront, making news when 30-50 were found dead. Toxicology reports claimed pesticide. I think it was avian cirrhosis. Those fuckers find a patch of fermented plums or cherries and the party is on! You can hear them for days. It’s noisier than the smoking area of a Timbers’ bar after a win.

I watch the MAX platform between customers. “I like to see the trouble coming,” said one former co-worker. The problem is, you never see the trouble coming.

Officer Paul rolled up, “Your group of shitbirds was seen by the food carts, giving one of the Middle Eastern guys a hard time. The DA has said to make them a priority, we’re going for dis-con (disorderly conduct) and anything else we can tack on.”

One of the Clean & Safe kids walked up, said hello. “I saw your spotted owl in the park!”

“Which one? The one with wings, or the one with facial tattoos?”


Officer Paul laughed, “He has both…”

The less interesting one first; The Criminal Spotted Owl. We call him that because he is endangered.

Spotted Owl 1He runs with a group we call The Biebers. In an ironic twist, it’s all the white kids who look alike in this gang. It’s obvious why the Spotted Owl stays back in the pack, there aren’t many guys running around who look twelve with facial tats. When you see him, it shocks you. Not because he inspires fear. More like, “Where the fuck are your parents?” He’s kinda the brains of the operation, and has several minions who look and dress like Justin Bieber. We have Regular Bieber, Brown Bieber, and Uber-Bieber. Uber-Bieber is about 6’7″, seventeen years old, and combative. We’ve had encounters at the bus stop, and I am proud to say that he finds another bus stop when I am there now.

But enough about shitbirds.

Spotted Owl birdHow about birds who shit? Big white glops from the heavens above. I always thought real Spotted owls were tiny, helpless things. The bird that camped outside the Waterfront store for a couple days was huge, a couple feet tall. He was a whitish mass leaning up against the tree, like he was waiting for someone to come around the corner so he could ambush them. Motionless, the crowd snapping pictures, occasionally letting loose with a poop-bomb. “Ooh, he must have a full tummy!” one motherly type exclaimed.

“Yeah, you don’t see any pigeons around, huh?”

She harrumphed and walked away.

About ten o’clock he came to life. He did one of them Regan-from-The Exorcist 180-degree head-snaps, raised a leg and scratched what I assume to be *his* balls, and flew off. I missed the departure; apparently a bird that size has about a four-foot wingspan.

Old brother Whitney would love this. He always had a thing for owls. He’s still with us, but the cancer has returned. Art wondered if it wasn’t Whitney coming to say goodbye. I wonder too. Godspeed, brother Whitney.

After a few months at the Nightclub store, the Waterfront seems like a mausoleum. It’s busy during office hours, but after five it becomes a glorified train stop. I just have to be awake enough not to fall asleep, and be able to do fifteen transactions in one minute when everyone runs in at the last minute because “I have to have this gum and could you hurry up because the fucking train is coming and oh hurry oh Christ just keep the change.” I get okay tips.

If you are in a hurry, I will do my best to oblige. If you are not local, and smoke Newports, I will soften the sticker shock as much as possible by announcing the price ($8.72) loudly, and wait while you complain. “Marbs”? Like Dr T, I will quietly correct their pronunciation as I look for a dollar-off pack. If you start giving me directions, like I am an idiot?

Internal dialogue: “Hey, customer’s always right. I have no clue what the fuck I’m doing. Take your full-priced pack and choke on it, and your BFF’s dick. Next!”

Reality: “Of course, right in front of me. What was I thinking? Would you like matches?”

The next fellow in line does not look happy. We won’t be playing. “You a fuckin’ robber.”

“Excuse me?” I ask.

“You fuckin’ robbin’ people with these prices. And why do my credit card need protecting?” We hadn’t even started and he’s getting worked up.

“Credit cards get stolen. We want to make sure the cards belong to the proper person.”

“The only thing my credit card needs protecting from is YOU. You the fuckin’ robber.”

I tossed the $1.50 bag of chips to the side and canceled the sale. “The I suggest you go somewhere you feel safe shopping. Good night!” I turned slightly, in that way bartenders do to dismiss drunks.

“Oh REALLY? You kicking me out? We’ll, fuck you fatboy! You wanna go?” He slapped his jacket, beating his breasts, as it were.

“No, I want YOU to go. Get out. You’re now officially 86ed.”

Slap! A counter display of candy canes crashed against the back wall, giving the cigar rack a holiday flavor. The giant rack of Hostess and other $2.50 pastries came down face-first. He flipped a portable rack holding about ten boxes of Reese’s like a bear flipping a diaper pail. Then he went to the big Hershey’s display, politely asked a horrified customer to step aside, then crashed it down on top of the rest. He seemed proud.

“Feel better, asshole?” I am so glad I am not allowed to carry weapons at work.

“I’ll be back for you, fatboy.” He made a bang-bang pantomime as he left. He stopped, knocked on the window, and did it again. By now I was talking to 911.

Mess 1

“Couldn’t he have done this yesterday, before we stocked all that shit?”

The responding officer smiled, “There is someone with a glass-half-full attitude.”

I try. Out of all that mess, $21.62 in damages. It cost more to pay us to pick it up. Art East has the video footage, I haven’t seen it yet. Master P is worried about me. I’ve been through way hairier moments, this was a bunch of make-work I’d have to do, four hours before my weekend. I figure the way the guy is behaving, he’ll get arrested for something.

Sho’ ’nuff. Three hours later, disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, resisting arrest. With his reverence and love of wildlife, I hope Ted Nugent was the arresting officer, and I hope some restraint was required. And nightsticks, and beanbags, and bear mace, and hog-ties and spit masks and a bunch of EMTs…

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