from Babybirds

I breathed out again and laughed quietly to myself. “Here, put this under your head and lie down.” I grabbed the box of Twinkies and gently guided this simple giant to the ground by placing my hand upon his shoulder. Just as he lay down I quickly put the box under his head and was relieved when he stayed there. He was really quite manageable except for when it came to the baby birds and the mountain. He looked up at me sideways as I went back to my spot up against the side of the rock. “Yeah, life’s not fair. You work and work and work and work and then they pull the rug out from under you because you believe in love. Love! Hah! If you believe in love in this world you’re dumped to the bottom of the pile, stepped on, flushed. That’s me, flushed. I mean look at me, I’m 29 years old, college educated, I’m even handsome. Look at this mug! This mug is meant to go places and I was, I was, until my line went just this side of the box and wham! Boom! You’re gone. You’re history. Go count change, Evan. That’s all you’re good for. Make sure the quarters don’t fall on the floor. Make sure the bags are tied up all tight and if you’re good we’ll let you stay here until you’re an old man then we’ll put you in a bag and tie it up with a tie and take you away too. It’s everything you could ever want and you’ve only got Thaddeus L. DuBuque Tooo to thank, bless the man. God bless his holy highness!”
The Man had lifted his head up when I went Boom! But I calmed him down with my hand and he lowered his head back down. He was obviously very tired and would be asleep soon, but I wasn’t sleepy at all. I shook my head. I could feel another wave coming on. “I’m a good person. I’m one of those people who can believe in doing good and work hard for a corporation. You know, it seems like anybody who cares anymore is suspect. If you don’t become a goddamned machine for these people you’re a squeaky wheel. They want your complete soul. Everything. It’s like you’re a coloring book picture.” I felt crazy. “That’s what you’re like, but the white parts of the thing, the part that hasn’t been colored in yet is the real thing and the part that you let be colored is what they want you to be. They’re doing the coloring. You’re not. You just sit there and let them color you in. If you think they’re good at coloring, if it seems it will be worth it, you just sit there and let them do it, yet you know that you’re still the outline, that even though they color you in, make you what they want you to be for the sake of their business, you are not really those colors. You know that you have already been colored in, completely different colors, already colored in by yourself and your parents and your surroundings and everything, what you believe, what you love, but for the sake of the team you let them color you the way they want and when you step out the door of the office you automatically revert to who you really are. I mixed these two things together. Do you see? I showed my true colors to the current colorer and look what became of me. I’m sitting in the desert looking for baby birds, geez, I must be crazy.”
The man suddenly sat up.
“Babybirds,” he said.
For the first time he truly smiled and it was a smile that disarmed me. It was huge and awkward and real and unless I was mistaken actually sympathetic. For the first time I let it get through that there really was more to life than the Arabian. I just didn’t know what it was yet.
“Yeah, baby birds. Now go to sleep. Go on.” This time he placed himself down and I, for the life of me, couldn’t remember what it was that I had been thinking about.

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Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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