[MauiTime, — July 14, 2011 — Volume 15; Issue 04]
by Anu Yagi (@anuheayagi on Twitter)
So I’m in Africa. Though I’m just an obscure third party to a band of so-called explorers, I’m still a little sour about being abandoned — but only for principle’s sake. Frankly, The Natives I’ve been left with are uber nice and make a mean chikwanga (kind of like laulau), never mind the fact that The Asshole heading our expedition was really starting to get on my nerves.
The Natives — who strike me as being even more patient than they are practical — were at their wits end with The Asshole’s annoying sidekicks, Flotsam & Jestam (that’s a Little Mermaid minion reference, just in case you weren’t a four-year-old girl in 1989); so the pair’s quartered carcasses are hanging from a clothesline and freshly scrubbed buckets are positioned underneath to catch the waterfall of blood.
In his rubbery accent, The Chief had just embarked on an enthusiastic explanation of what we’re going to do with Flotsam & Jetsam’s buckets o’ blood — when The Asshole returns.
“Shit,” I say aloud as I watch him saunter down the dry ravine into the village’s outskirts.
“Things were just starting to go good.” But he’s not an Alpha Asshole for nothing, and has a scintillating swagger visible from space. “I hate him,” I have to remind myself aloud.
“I’ve come for my m — wait. What the?!” he bellows, seeing that there’s little left to claim but Flotsam’s dripping fingers and Jetsam’s gut flesh, catching the breeze like socks and a pillowcase in the sun. “Where the [expletive] are their heads?!”
The Chief, looking confused for good reasons, points. From the patches of caked dust, it looks as if the heads rolled a meter or so after being lopped, and their tongues loll like a cliche. They’re blocking an annoyed old woman’s fire pit and she kicks them away with a grunt. Ashes to ashes…
After many minutes of fighting in a foreign tongue, the first English I hear is The Asshole saying, “C’mon, Anu. Let’s go.”
Now it’s my turn to fight. I don’t want to leave The Natives—not with The Asshole, anyway. Besides, the old lady’s almost done with a fresh batch of chikwanga. “Wake up, princess,” The Asshole sneers. (Ugh, he’s such a jerk but somehow still good looking!) “How else are y’ gonna git out of Africa, but with me?”
“Wake up, Anu.”
Bill Murray is gently harassing my shoulder. I’ve fallen asleep face-first on the floor of his Kahului office during my visitation with our dachshund Little Bit (who he’s had full custody of since the divorce).
“Nuh-uh. I’m in Africa.”
“Right, well, it’s time to go now, hon.”
“Five more minutes.”
Bill Murray laughs because five minutes in Anu Land could mean upwards of an hour—or five. Little Bit licks her butt, then my eyeball; surely infecting me with some sort of caneyene disease. I’m awake now.
It’s time for my morning walk in ‘Iao. In the wake of Independence Day, there are still piles of burned-out fireworks littering the stream banks. I usually only pluck a quarter bag of rubbish (and a wet sock full of Job’s Tears, just to balance it all with something beautiful), but today’s pushing the drawstring’s capacity. I’m still not done cleaning and have sadly settled on the fact I might never be.
I slide down the cement levee (my walking partner’s smartly suggested bowling shoes for such ventures) toward what looks like a mess of lady fingers. I find it’s actually splayed remains — bleached bird bones in the shape of a crash landing — and I’m tickled pink. It’s probably only a rooster, but I’m pretending it’s a frickin’ hawk or something. Its skull’s rolled off and away, but I find it and it’s perfect.
Pinching the bird’s brain box between my gloved fingers, I amble home with my trophy. Mentally mixing cleaning solution and wondering where I left the soft scrub brush, I think how great this is going to look great on my shelf — once I decide whether to name it Flotsam or Jetsam. ■
If you’re so inclined, feel free to send Anu a tweet @anuheayagi. Here’s a recent (sort of related) 140-character blip: “Morning walk. Baby chicken stumbling, more scab than face. I wanted to hug the poor thing & drown it in the river. But I, too, am a chicken.”
GOODY BAG [extra, online only stuff]
BY SOME STRANGE MIRACLE, NOTHING HIT THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR THIS WEEK. BUT I DID PECK-OUT A RAMBLING FOLLOW-UP (IF YOU’D LIKE, SEE BELOW)…
(picture: chicken skull laying out to dry on a paper towel; incense smoke)
FOLLOW THROUGH (skull cleaning time!)
STREAM STREET’S BUG BIRD
I tried to be all reverent about the affair: midnight; a somber cigarette; a glass of red wine; a stick of Japanese funeral incense from a little cardboard box with a picture of a demon on it (a gift from a samurai friend who gets my style).
There’s a pair of rat poops in one of the eye sockets. I thought (I wish!) that was the worst of it.
There’s a black, stringy thing hanging from an ear hole. Retrieving my medi forceps (a hoarded hospital throwaway from my time spent in Cancer Land), I puke a little as I pull at it. It doesn’t go easy.
I’d had some hopeful delusion it was a lingering, hardy brain vein.
It’s once of those pincer-bug silverfish things, and I realized the skull’s full of them. Like a lobster trap, the spindly things crawled in and fattened-up on brains until they were too big to escape.
I finally figure out how to angle the sink’s sprayer to shoot most of them out of the spinal cord hole. A dozen dead little ones wiggle out, and I figure they were either trapped in by the big ones — or were born and died there. Gag reflex.
The more I spray this fucker with bleach solution, the browner it gets. Bum deal. The once-full spray bottle sputters, and I’ve hardly begun.
You know, Forensics Folks are sickos. At least archaeologists deal with shit that’s a thousand years dead.
To be fair, I guess the Forensics Folk ain’t tryin’ to cleanup isle five. So maybe I’m what’s worst.
Oh and by the way, this thing’s definitely not a frickin’ hawk or something.
In fact, it’s far less impressive than I remembered.
I light another stick of funeral incense to repent for thinking that about dear ol’ chicken skull.
Whatever I think, what has not changed from what I remember is that when I proudly picked this thing up — and like a big kid knew it was but a feral fowl — I was earnest in asking it to let me be its steward, and that I’d treat it with delicate postmortem dignity.
For all chickens.
Sorry I fucked-up on the follow through.
(picture: soon to be a wet sock full of Job’s Tears; mahalo streamside)