Killdeer

You better call John, it don't look like they're here to deliver..... the mail



The railroad goes through only a mile away from here. Usually I can just hear the trains going by, but a couple Mondays ago I heard one stop. With nothing better to do that day I took a hike to investigate. It was a really long train with every kind of car imaginable on it. I walked along it until I reached the front and saw what the hold up was about. A mudslide of course. There were a few men out there assessing the mess. After some thought I decided not to cue them in on my presence and hiked back home. I sat at home thinking about that train sitting there and wondering how long it would be there. The thoughts consumed me for hours until it became clear to me what needed to be done. I packed a bag, and after sunset, hiked back out to the train. Instead of walking to the front, I walked the other way inspecting all the cars, until I found a large boxcar. The doors were locked, but the hinge was so loose that when you pulled on the doors it created a huge gap. A gap big enough for a Jackie to climb through, and that's just what I did. The train stayed still not moving, but my heart was racing. I climbed up on the boxes of who knows what that filled that car and found a comfortable spot and curled up for the night. I had a better night's sleep than I've had in ages, and when I woke up I could feel that the train was moving. I just stared up at the top of the car and let my mind run. We moved all day, and then the next until the train finally stopped. I could still see daylight shining in the cracks of the door, so I stayed put. I waited until dark, and made my escape. First I pushed the doors out and peeked through to see if anyone was around. If there was, I didn't see them. It was too dark. I decided to go anyway and slid out through the gap and took a long fall to the ground. I hit gravel and fell to my hands. It hurt a lot. I could tell I broke some skin on my hands, but I just rubbed them together and hid behind some nearby bushes before I could be spotted by anyone. I stayed there for a while, but it was so quiet that I decided no one was around. I stepped out and did my best to look around. There were several rows of tracks, so this must have been a rail yard. Then I heard a car go by. At first that scared me and I hid, but then it hit me that if there was a car, then there must be a road, so I went over to where I heard the car. It looked like it was just up this hill on the side of the rail yard, but the hill was covered in a thorny thicket, so I walked along the thicket for a while until the hill started getting shorter and I finally found a decent spot to climb up. Once I was up there I looked each way on the road. I got out my compass and flashlight. To the north was and endless darkness, but to the south I could see a lot of lights. It looked like a city. I walked in that direction. Despite all the pain of falling out of that boxcar, it felt good to be walking and moving my muscles after a couple days of laying down. I did have to excuse myself in the bushes at some point on my walk. It actually amazed me that I didn't even feel the urge since I left my house until that moment.

I walked on until I reached the outskirts of the city. It wasn't a huge city, but much bigger than a town. I stayed on the main road and eventually got to a gas station with a shop that was still open for the evening. I tied my kerchief over my face and walked in. Funny, a year ago if a person jumped off of a train, walked into town, and then tied a kerchief over their face before entering a gas station, one might be alarmed, but this time no one knew where I'd come from, and covering your face was the new normal. I went into the restroom and was able to wash my hands and remove a few pieces of gravel that had embedded themselves under my skin. That really hurt. I had to pull out my tiny first aid kit and put on a few bandaids. Once that was dealt with I was able to fill myself up a big cup of glorious coffee. I went up to the counter to pay when I noticed the guy behind the counter talked a bit funny. Not too off, but not quite right. He told me the coffee was a dollar fifty. I pulled out some cash and the counter guy looked at me funny. "We don't take U.S. currency here." I must have gone a lot further north than I thought I did. I pulled out my card and paid a measly buck-fifty on plastic. At least I got my coffee. I sat there in the gas station parking lot drinking my coffee and contemplating my next move. I wasn't sure if I should be freaked out by being in the wrong country. I wasn't. It seemed like a good time to eat those mushrooms that Caleb gave me. I did remember to bring those along. They tasted like crap, but most dried fungus does. Then me and my coffee started heading south. It made perfect sense to me at that moment that the best thing to do would be go south to the border.

I read enough signs on the businesses along to road to figure out that I was in Abbotsford, British Columbia. After a while I noticed two things. I was feeling quite strange, and I realized I was not in the nicest part of town. I tried to keep my head and be vigilant. Some of the denizen started to eye me funny, so I eyed them back funnier. That seemed to keep them away from me. I was walking down a particularly dark part of the road when two guys jumped out of nowhere and demanded some money. I obediently handed them my cash when one of them said, "Oh man, we don't want that! You don't have any Canadian money?" The other guy just punched me, so I pulled out my knife and asked them if they really wanted to try me. "Sorry, sorry." They said and stepped back from me, and I bolted. Thankfully they didn't run after me, but I kept running for a while. At this point I was freaking out. I was in a foreign land surrounded by enemies. Polite enemies. I didn't want to ask for help. At this point I thought maybe I might be a bad guy.

I calmed myself down, and just kept walking south, trying my best to be cool. Then I saw the most wonderful thing. A twenty-four hour diner. I had to cover my face again to get seated, but it was nice to sit down and have some coffee. I wasn't sure if I wanted to eat or not, or if I could eat, but after staring at the menu for a while I ordered a burger. I took my time with drinking my coffee, and eating my food. I had all the time in the world. The waitress didn't seem to mind. Eventually she brought me the bill and I handed her my bank card. I was a bit nervous, but it seemed to work just fine at the gas station, and it did. It was nice to have a rest. I continued on my walk south. At this point most of the night has passed. It was getting really cold, as it does just before dawn. My journey had paid off though. I could see it up ahead. Customs. I didn't see a place for pedestrians to walk, so I just walked along the road. When I got to the gates, it looked like no one was there, but eventually I saw some officers walking towards me. They stopped me and questioned me as to why I was there. Luckily I looked up and saw the Welcome to Sumas sign, and fibbed that I was just wandering around Sumas and I wasn't sure how I got there. They told me to come with them. They took me into this lobby and asked me a lot of questions about who I was and why I was there. I made up some story about visiting some friends in Sumas and having a bit too much to drink, then going for a walk. They searched my person and my bag. I'm glad I didn't bother to keep any of my receipts. I had to sit in the lobby for a long time while they filled out a bunch of paperwork. In the end they kept my knife and the beer I had in my bag and sent me on my way giving me a stern lecture about drinking alcohol and being aware of where I'm at in a border town. At this point the sun was up. I was beat. After looking around a bit, and asking for directions I found the bus station and bought a ticket back to the town near where I live. I had to wait two more hours for the bus, but it was so nice to just sit and watch the road. The first thing I did when I got back to town was stop at the sports goods store and buy a new knife.

When I arrived at the compound I learned I wasn't the only one with a homecoming. Beelzebub was waiting for me. I opened him a can of tuna. It felt good to be home. I feel more like I'm in the right place.
Killdeer

Is the world laughing with me or at me?

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Something exciting happened today. My fig tree arrived. I forgot that I ordered it through a catalog. I spent some time surveying the Killdeer compound, looking in the mud for just the right spot the plant it. I hope this little tree likes the sea air. That's one thing about living by the water. The air can be fierce. I find it awe inspiring to sit back and just watch The Weather come in. It starts with a few wispy cotton balls, and before you know it, a mass of yellow clouds blanket the area and sink down on you until it's hard to tell where the fog ends and the sea begins. Fog is strange. Like in darkness, you find it hard to see, but you're enveloped in light.

Caleb came back yesterday. He brought me some dried up mushrooms he found in the woods this winter. He said I should eat a few because I needed a good laugh. He thinks I've been taking things too seriously. He might be right about that. I haven't eaten them yet. I wonder if I should trust that mad gardener. The green powder he gave me when I was sick didn't kill me. Now that I think of it, I can't remember the last time I laughed.

Ego Death



I'm in trouble. I haven't been being productive at all, instead I've let myself get stuck too far inside my own head, and now I'm not sure if there's anything left in my mind.

I am Jackie, and the winter is gone.
I am Jackie, and the winter is gone.
The winter is gone!

These things should be concrete, but I'm cold and I'm not sure who Jackie is. Caleb tried to save me the other day, or was it a week ago? I'm not sure how much time has passed. He found me in the mud. I was undressed and trying to pull myself into the hillside. I thought maybe the best way to finally be washed away into the sea was to be part of the eroding earth. He dragged me back into my house and plopped me into the bathtub. He had to fill it up twice to get me all clean. Then we sat by the wood stove and didn't talk. He just stared at me and I stared at him. Finally without a word he got up and left. After that I felt a deep loneliness. I couldn't stand him being here, but now that no one is here but me, I don't know what to do. I wonder where the cat went?
Killdeer

Don't Merge Left

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My rear view mirror is broken. I can only see distorted images of my past. I move forward looking only through the windshield. It's too dangerous to change lanes in this state. I can't see what's coming from behind me. I just have to keep going in the lane I'm in. I have no idea what I'll do when my lane ends. Maybe fall into the sea.

What if? What if all the other lanes end and mine is the only one left?

I'm not driving. I'm walking on a path. Alone on a ridge. The ground slopes down on both sides of me. The longer I go, the narrower the ridge gets until I'm only walking on a wall. It's made of bricks and built by masons. Between the bricks, spread in the mortar, are the secrets of the world. It's where they lay their plans. Each brick is carefully laid with a sense of purpose. They build their walls well. The buildings don't decay, instead the walls stand there watching society decay around them.

A man walks by and looks at the wall. He doesn't wonder why it is there. He has no idea who built it or what it meant to them. "Knock it down!" Replace it with steel. Build a tower full of cameras and robots. So efficient it doesn't even need people in it. What good are people? They're all getting sick. I am sick.

You Can Never Go Back



I almost thought it wouldn't come this year, but the cold has come. I had a night where I couldn't get warm. I put more wood on the fire, and kept layering up my clothes, and stacking blankets on me. The chill wouldn't leave me. I couldn't sleep and I found myself getting angrier and angrier at the cold until I couldn't take it. I threw my blankets on the floor, ripped the layers off and ran outside in my underclothes. I ran around looking for the cold. I wanted to see its face. I yelled and cursed until I was trembling, not from cold, but pure rage. I don't know why the cold made me so angry, but it did. I wore myself out until I was sweating and huffing. I was so mad that it took me a while to realize that I wasn't cold anymore. I think maybe my idle mind was freezing me up. After that I was able to go back inside and get some sleep. I woke up the next morning feeling like I needed to do something besides nothing. I opted to go on a hike up along the coast. Do some investigating. I wanted to see if those tuna thieves were still around. I packed a backpack, and brought Grandpa's crowbar and a pocket knife. Hopefully I wouldn't need those things, but those dudes were sketchy, I didn't want to be defenseless.

I hiked for quite some time until I saw the spot in the cliffs I recognized. The spot where I hid before. Then I turned northeast towards where I think I remember their campsite being. I found the clearing and could see the remnants of the campfire. It was a bit nerve-wracking when I approached the spot. I stayed behind trees and worked my way closer trying my best to keep quiet. When I got to the spot I could tell no one had been there for a while. The area seemed abandoned. There was already moss growing on the charred bits of wood. An old shirt was mashed into the mud. The only other sign that someone was there was map of the area pinned to a tree. It was muddy and ripped in places. A spot fifty miles north was circled in pencil. That was an adventure I was not up for. I took the map home anyway to show Caleb next time I saw him (not that I was in any hurry). Maybe it would interest him. At least I got some piece of mind. Those dudes were gone and headed somewhere else. I probably don't have to worry about them anymore.

The realization I've come to lately is that I need to keep busy. Doing nothing is liable to drive me crazy. Maybe I will clean up the mess from that mudslide. The thought of it seems kind of futile. Like Sisyphus trying to roll the boulder up the hill, why should I keep trying to keep house on this muddy cliff? I guess for my sanity. What will make me crazier, doing nothing, or doing something futile?
Killdeer

Rain On Me

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This season the rain decided to be my enemy rather than my friend. It fell for weeks and saturated the earth. Every time I walked outside, my feet sunk into the wet mud. I spent much of my time holding my breath hoping the ground would stay still, but it didn't. Maybe because I was anticipating it so much. It was just a little earthquake, but that was all this cliff-side needed. I sat in my house listening to the loud rumble of earth moving outside wondering what my fate would be. Amazingly my house stayed put. I sat for quite some time just listening to the silence afterwards, but eventually put my boots on and went outside to assess the damage. The slide was close. The garden shed and the chicken coop got wiped out. Lucky I didn't have any chickens. The mess looked overwhelming. I just stood there looking at it for a while and then decided to go back inside. It's just me here now. Do I really need a garden shed and a chicken coop with no chickens? I don't know. I don't even want to think about dealing with it right now. Caleb came by later that day to check in on me. He felt the quake too. Unlike me, he's a man of action. He had all these ideas of what should be done first, then next, and so on. He was trying to get me all hyped up to get to work and I just wasn't having it. He suggested I start a pot of coffee, and I went into the kitchen and opened a bottle of whiskey instead. We got drunk instead.

Maybe I'm nut cut out for this kind of living. The only reason I'm the last Killdeer left here is due to my inability to decide to go. If nothing else, at least if the next mudslide wipes me out Caleb will notice. Otherwise I might disappear and the rest of the world would be oblivious. If something happened to him, it might be months before I'd notice.
Killdeer

I wonder what if my name had changed Into something more productive like Roscoe been born in 1891



Most of the time being isolated comforts me. It separates me from all the bad things in the world. I feel safe wrapped in the big dark canopy of trees and sky. Sometimes the vastness of the wilderness terrifies me. It feels so unknown and unpredictable. Who knows what madness lies in those trees? They can drive me mad.

When I get into one of those moods I calm myself down by talking to Grandpa Killdeer or uncle Roscoe. Sometimes I listen to them talk to me. They're dead I know, but it's hard to believe that they're not here. Uncle Roscoe is... was nowhere as deep as Grandpa. He preferred more tangible subjects. Especially baseball. I can't think of Rosco without thinking of the buzz of the A.M. radio with the voice of baseball announcers in the background. He's talk to them like I talk to him now. I didn't matter that the other side could hear. He was there and his opinions matter just as much.

It's been wet out there. I feel the water closing in on me. My gutters are clogged and the water's been splashing on my deck all day. I want to wait for a lull in the rain to go out there and clear the clog, but there is not lull. Probably not until April.
Killdeer

Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad.



Often times I don't even bother going to bed. I sit by the wood stove doing my evening ritual and end up falling asleep on the pile of blankets I have on the floor. Last night after a hard day of digging under the house and bringing up some boards and nails to add some security features to my doors and windows, I decided to reward myself by opening a new bottle of bourbon and having a few drinks while sitting by the fire. I don't remember falling asleep, but I clearly remember waking up. The cat was standing over my face looking down at me. It was dark out, and the night was still underway. Beelzebub and I stared at each other for what felt like a long time. I was frozen in a trance. That's when I heard him speak. Then I had to figure out if I was still asleep, or just really drunk. Maybe neither. Funny you let me in. Most people chase me away. I wonder why you trust me. Turn your back on me at the wrong moment, and I'll sneak up and snatch your soul away. Then the cat did something I've never even imagined a cat doing. He laughed. Just imagine a cat laughing. Of course for sinister reasons.

I don't remember falling back asleep. If I were to trust my memory, I stayed awake after that and the whole thing was real. Personally I don't trust my memory. I spent the rest of the night looking up at the ceiling wondering what it'd be like to have my soul stolen and what that even meant. What would Beelzebub do with it? What is it anyway? I remember when I was a kid and I'd go on long walks in the woods with Grandpa Killdeer. He had a lot to say about the soul. He would go on for hours. To be honest I didn't listen to what he said much. Most of it went over my head. I mostly just liked listening to him talk. The sound of his voice, and the serious deepness in what he was saying really grabbed me. The soul gilds the walls of your inner cathedral. It shines in the light that comes in through your eyes. I imagined Beelzebub playing with my soul. Batting at it and tossing it in the air, then grabbing it with his claws and finally putting it out of its misery by biting its head off. Does my soul have a head?

I think the cat is upset with me since I've been giving it baths with that special shampoo that supposed to help clear up whatever is making his fur fall out. He probably doesn't like the pills either, or the ointment. You see something sick, and try to make it better, and it hates you for it.
Killdeer

(no subject)



It finally happened. Caleb showed up at my place the other day. He was a bit apprehensive. He's been listening to the radio and was feeling uneasy about the state of the world. He paced around in my side yard talking about how things in the world were getting out of control. "It's time." he said, "Time to take care of business."

I'd been putting it off, but not for any good reason other than my own anxiety about dealing with things. He was right though, the days are short, and the weather is cold. May as well get it over with. We jumped into his truck and headed to town. When I finally agree to go with him, he seemed to calm down until I told him about the tuna thieves. He didn't say much about it, but he got quiet and I could tell he was thinking about it.

Shopping was a chore. I figured since I had a ride, I'd better stock up. He figured since he had me to be the middleman, he's better stock up too. I had to make two trips into the store, and we filled up the back of his truck damn full. It did feel satisfying when it was all done. Afterwards Caleb was nice enough to stop at the animal feed store and I got a treatment kit for Beelzebub. If that animal was going to be staying with me, I figured I'd at least try to make him look a bit less creepy, and maybe more comfortable. I got some shampoos, ointments, and pills. Medical exorcism for that cursed creature. Also some real cat food.

On our ride home Caleb asked me in great detail about the locations of my late night chase. I was honest about how vague my recollection was, but was able to give some general locations. He decided he wanted to check out the area and see if he could figure out anything about these people.

I don't care, just as long as they stay away from the compound. I hope I scared them off pretty good.
Killdeer

Intruders!



Someone was lurking on my busted up porch last night. I could hear them moving around. Beelzebub was in his usual corner staring at me, and whatever it was out there sounded a lot heavier than a cat. I thought I saw a pair of eyes looking in at me from the dark, but when I jumped up they moved away. I grabbed grandpa's old crowbar, ran out the back door, and circled around the house just in time to see a shadow jumping over my chicken wire fence and off into the woods. The pursuit was on. I wasn't about to go back inside. Who shows up here in the middle of the night? I jumped over the fence and ran off in the same direction. I couldn't spot him, but I could hear someone running ahead of me. He fell. I could hear him hit the ground and yell out, but he got up fast and was still running ahead. I was clutching the crowbar, but as I was running I wondered what I would do with it. I'd never harmed another person before. Should I just start hitting him when I caught up, or should I brandish it and demand answers? Not acting swiftly could be dangerous, but then again, I had the upper hand. He feared me. He was running. Before I could decide, I fell. Fell right on the crowbar. It hit me in the stomach so hard it winded me. By the time my senses were keen again, I could hear the footsteps going farther and farther away. I lost him. Worst yet, I was lost. All I remember was that I was headed north when I left my place, but I think we ended up going a bit more northeast, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't paying enough attention. It was frickin' dark. I wasn't exactly sober either.

I got up, grabbed the crowbar, and started pacing around. I was all hopped up on adrenaline and couldn't even focus on what to do next. Eventually I calmed down and just started walking. I didn't want to get cold. I tried to head in the same direction I heard the intruder go. I didn't really think I'd catch him at this point, but I couldn't think of a better plan. I was walking for at least an hour when I heard someone yelling. I listened hard, and walked towards the sound. It sounded like two voices, and they were yelling at each other. Quarreling. As I got closer, it stuck me that they weren't yelling in English. I couldn't quite place the language. It didn't sound like anything I'd ever heard before. Eventually I started to see the light of a campfire. I quieted my steps and held the crowbar in front of me. I got close enough to the campsite to see the two men yelling at each other, but stayed hidden behind the trees. The one man was yelling and pushed the other man to the ground. Then he held up an open can of tuna and threw it at the ground next to him. Not just any tuna, Beelzebub's tuna. I hate the smell of that stuff and leave it on the porch when I feed it to the cat. This fool came all the way to my house and all he stole from me was a half eaten can of expired tuna. And now he's getting scolded. Bummer to be him. It would have been a real bummer for him if I'd caught up with him during the chase.

After watching them for a while I decided I didn't want to confront them. At that point I just wanted to get back home safely and think about how to reinforce my castle from these tuna thieves. At least from that point I could see the moon reflecting on the water through the trees. I was a bit far from the coastline, but that was something. I did my best to carefully leave the campsite without being heard and walk towards the water. I moved south too. I didn't want them to see my shadow against the water. I got pretty close before I could see that I was at the top of some cliffs, then I headed south. All the while I could still hear the yelling voices far off. Then they stopped. I hadn't got far away enough to not hear them. They had shut up. After a while I could hear some running in the woods, and it was getting closer to me. Now I was the prey. I could hear them quietly talking to each other in their language. Probably discussing where they thought I was. I saw a low part in the cliffs and climbed down them a bit and hid behind a few large ferns and bushes. I could hear them reach the edge of the cliff. One guy went north, and the other south. The guy walking south went right past where I was hiding. It was not cool. I was sitting in some mud, and the ground was far from flat. I was so scared the ground I was on would give way, and I would fall. They paced around for a while, and then met up and started talking again. After a while they started walking away.

I waited probably another half hour after I heard them leave before I carefully climbed the rest of the way down the cliff onto the shore. I was able to walk along the water for a few miles, but then the tide got too close and I had to climb back up the cliffs. For once I was glad I lived close to the shore. If I stayed close to the water, I'd eventually find my way home. It took a while. I was relieved when I started to get to familiar territory. Everything at home was exactly the way I left it. Beelzebub hadn't even moved from his spot. I locked my doors, and double checked to make sure they were locked.

I'm still awake. I know this is planet Earth. I'm not alone here, but I don't like visitors. I really hope those campers move along. People don't come out here to be closer to nature, they come here to hide. Maybe I scared them enough to make them feel uneasy about being here. I'll have to talk to Caleb about our new "neighbors" next time I see him. Maybe he knows more about them than I do.