Tuesday, May 24, 2005
My daily routine continued and weed after weed found itself yanked from the soil and tossed through the air into a slowly growing pile of fading greenery. Sweat geysered from my pores and coursed its way down my back and chest, trickling down my face and collecting particles of dirt on its way. Once again the music blaring in my ears severed my aural senses from the world around me. Continuing apace, I took scant notice when the forest of weeds to my left began to waver. Only the wind, I assumed, since a breeze was offering sweet relief to my taxed body.
Papayas ripened on the trees, avocados fell to the ground, my roommate continued his mute-ish ways and somewhere in town a little girl giggled; I worked on.
Unbeknownst to me, storm clouds were on their way. Unlike the storms I’ve been thru thus far, this was not a friendly fellow; wreaking havoc was its expressed purpose. When I finally looked up and noticed the weather shift, the sky was a solid bank of black clouds over my head though down by the ocean, sunbathers had nary a worry. I smiled in hopes that the rain would begin and cut my day of servitude short. My wish was almost immediately granted. There was no light commencement of rain. The gods got the ball rolling by tipping over quite the bucket of water. My clothes were instantly washed clean of sweat, the ground beneath me turned to a muddy rock slope (very slick), my straw hat became plastered to my head, and my mp3 player began to short circuit and fill my ears with piercing shrieks. Knocking the earphones away I was greeted by the thudding of the rain, which now became my auditory blocker. Not only could I hear nothing but the rain, but my field of vision was reduced to only a couple of feet in all directions. Fortunately I knew, generally, where to find the house. Grabbing my gear in hand I began to rise…and froze when I saw them emerge from the weeds.
Five mongeese. And they all looked pissed.
I’m not sure how many of you have had close encounters with these creatures, but they are nasty. They look almost cuddly, until riled up. In bursts their lips are drawn back and their mouths full of sharp teeth are bared while simultaneously barking out this shrill, loud and very menacing noise.
That is what greeted me. And yes, despite the fact that I outsized, outweighed, out-smarted (on my good days) and have a more diverse diet which renders me more adaptable than them, I did become a little scared. Well, not scared to the point of wailing and crying and carrying on, but my stomach found a pit to wallow in and I began sweating despite the cooling rain.
Slowly, laboriously, they crept towards me. I studied my options: stand my ground and beat them about the head with freshly shorn weeds; make a run for it and hope my feet would find traction and my face not find a tree; move slowly backwards and try to find some sort of weapon to fight them off; or sit down and whimper and cry and beg for mercy. I chose the third option. (At least as far as you know that’s what I did. Even if I tried out option 4 first, you’d never know!). Ever so slowly I began to move away. Unfortunately, the ground here is steep and very rocky, loose rock, which becomes quite slick when wet. Two steps into my retreat my foot landed on a loose rock and shot rear-ward, knocking me off balance. As I began to fall I whipped around intending to make a run for it. Instead I caught sight of an avocado tree a couple feet away and miraculously finding a place to plant my foot I leapt up and grabbed a hold of the branch, swinging my legs up as the mongeese made their move. They missed, and I found myself singing a Jerry Reed song; the Preacher and the Bear. (I’ll bet almost no one knows that song, so I’ll describe: a preacher is in the woods and jumps into a tree to escape a bear. Great song, quite funny, and all too appropriate for my situation).
There I am, hanging from a tree and laughing at an old country song, in the pouring rain, trying to avoid getting bit up by a pack of pissed off weasels. They took to running up the tree and I plotted my avenue of escape-a difficult feat made even more difficult by the rainfall which now decided to come down in greater quantity, threatening me with drowning on top of my 5 other problems. As the vengeful mongeese neared I caught sight of the stubby-tailed one leading the way. He aimed for my face and let fly; I dropped to the ground and he overshot, thudding hard onto the rocks behind me. As soon as my feet hit the ground I moved quicker than I think I’ve ever moved in my life. Fortunately I was yanking weeds close to the house and had maybe 100 yards to dash (as well as 500 vertical feet); I crashed inside unharmed, but severely out of breath.
I glanced out the window and saw only two pursuers standing in the drive. They hissed 3 last times, then slunk out of sight.
When the rain ceased and the sun shone once more, I ventured outside. Grabbing a machete and club from the garage I ventured back to the scene of the attack. On the ground, his little body twisted on the rocks lay the stub-tailed mongoose. His leap from the tree must have been forceful enough to break his back on the rocks.
Squelching the urge to take a dumper on his corpse (mosquitoes, ya know?), I saluted the bastard and returned to the house to eat dinner.