Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
Halloween is as good a day as any to reveal this: A dark and sinister conspiracy is gathering over San Diego. Crows—yes, those seemingly harmless, happy-go-lucky birds—are plotting to overwhelm our town as more and more of them flap into paradise to squawk, poop, and disrupt our lives. Their conspiracy is to drive us all bonkers, then take over America’s Finest City. It’s a scary thought, but it won’t work because I, for one, know exactly what’s going on. And when you finish this blog, you will too.
I live right smack dab in the middle of Mission Valley, with a bird’s-eye view of the parking lots where the crows congregate every morning. I take up my position at the window with binoculars and note pad and watch those filthy, boisterous, goose-stepping little buggers strut their stuff, marching around the J.C. Penny’s parking lot like they own the place, squawking orders and scratching out flight plans on the asphalt. Then they loft, like a handful of pepper thrown into the sky, and circle in a raucous frenzy. The babble is hair-raising, like a pep rally for witches, until the winged rats vector northwest to landfills and secret lairs, but first straight over my window. Then splat! They know that I know.
You think I’m a crackpot? A paranoid with too much time on his hands? Oh, dear citizens, I only wish this conspiracy were a figment of my imagination. But it’s not. The crows’ devious scheme goes something like this: 1) Sneak into town bird-by-bird under cover of night; 2) Squawk obnoxiously to frighten and wake people up; 3) Pilfer shiny objects from yards; 4) Dive bomb small dogs and cats; 5) Poop on windows and windshields; 6) Create chaos and mayhem. And it won’t stop there. When our nerves are frayed from lack of sleep and window washers are working 24/7, when all the shiny trinkets have been pilfered and our small pets are forced to remain indoors, the crows will go after our children. Boys and girls in sandboxes and inflatable swimming pools will be lifted to secret hiding places where they will be fed road kill and indoctrinated into crow-hood, taught to snitch things, fly, and squawk. Exasperated, we will surrender.
I know all this because I am blessed with suspicion and distrust. I have a sixth sense about conspiracies. I know what really goes on behind the scenes. Like the time my toaster was relaying my thoughts to the CIA. Or the global warming farce, concocted by air-conditioner manufacturers. Or the moon landing, staged at a secret studio in Hollywood. I admit that I fell for the Y2K Conspiracy, and still have a closet full of the hand-cranked shortwave radios I hoarded to sell for a nifty profit post Y2K. But this crow conspiracy is for real. And it might not be the crows after all; they may just be pawns in a bigger plot. Some covert but influential organization may be behind the invasion, like a faction of PETA, or some overzealous slingshot manufacturer, or a foreign government. Sometimes I think it’s Washington politicians, eyeing San Diego’s ideal weather for the next national capitol. Whatever, this is no time to get bogged down in thinking.
I also speak Crowese. I learned their harsh, abrupt, staccato language by listening carefully to them “communicate.” It goes something like this: Caw means “Kill!” Caw-caw means “Direct Hit!” Caw-caw-caw means “I just missed!” and always sounds angry. Caw-caw-caw-caw can mean “I see a kid” or “Small pet straight ahead” or “Bright, shiny object below.” Caw-caw-caw-caw-caw means either “The fools are still asleep” or “Drop now and head home.” And Caw-caw-caw-caw-caw-caw always means: “Today, San Diego; Tomorrow the world!” That’s it; the complete monosyllabic vocabulary and grammar of Crowese. Six harsh, vulgar syllables forming conspiratorial warnings.
My awareness of the crow conspiracy began months ago, when I worked at a meat-cutting plant specializing in chickens. Riding home on my scooter, I surprised a gang of crows pecking at a fast food container in the road. The cocky birds didn’t like the interruption, and moments later I felt a splat on my helmet and heard “caw-caw.” When I pulled over, I saw recognized the fecal splat as the outline of San Diego! Continuing home, I then began to pay attention to poop splats on windshields and walkways. Some splats resembled El Cajon. Some Clairemont. One even looked like La Jolla! The filthy bastards were leaving menacing warnings! And back at home there was a large, grey “warning” on my window in the shape of a skull and crossbones.
Shortly after I had window bars installed. I’m not allowed to own a gun, so I bought an oversized flyswatter. I quit my job to devote myself fulltime to research and study of the enemy. Crows are direct descendants of Pterodactylus and cousins to vultures, vampires, and probably the devil. This squawking, lice-infested bird feasts on road kill and discarded fast food containers. (Some, I’m sure, eat their young.) They are poor aviators and would prefer to wear boots and march in formation. And they seek a world without predators. If this happens, crows believe, they could replace humans!
But we still have time. I already set up a website—www.nomorecrows.usa—and a hotline at 877-KIL-CROW (877-545-2769). Please whisper when you call; crows on telephone wire listen in. Next, we stop thinking of crows as cute and clever, and consider them as the pet-nappers, kidnappers, and usurpers they want to be. Then we put lead booties on our pets to make them too heavy to lift. We arm kids with slingshots and BB guns. Then we procure effective scarecrows that will put the fear of the lord in the little feathered bastards. I suggest bald eagles. (We may have to smuggle eagles from a national refuge, but in this case the ends justifies the means.) Nobody messes with bald eagles, whose presence will keep the crows grounded. Then, in the dark, we shoot a net over a parking lot and capture some crows, fit them with little head cameras, release them, and let them show us to their lairs. Then we send in our kids, armed to the teeth with slingshots and BB guns.
When the crows are either on the endangered species list or forced to move to LA, we’ll rejoice and take back the streets, waving Old Glory and singing this Land Is Our Land. And we won’t let our guard down again. Because there will always be other conspiracies right in our back yard. I know this. And now you do too.