My soul feeling squeezed and lifeless, I quit my job.
That’s when Houdini decided to appear.
Who looks up when they walk down the street? I do. It was on my daily walk home during those last weeks at work when I’d see a hawk who I affectionately gave the name, Houdini. Houdini would appear and disappear like the great magician in the sky he was. But most days I’d find him perched on the same stone steeple of a towering church on Sixth Street. I thought him to be my spirit animal. In Ancient Egypt the hawk was also the animal of choice for the god Horus, god of the sky. I have the Eye of Horus tattooed on the back of my neck. Coincidence? Maybe, but I like to think not.
So it goes one Summer day..
My husband pointed at the ground and I gasped with shock. As I knelt closer, what seemed to be a perfectly intact Cooper’s Hawk was indeed dead. My heart sunk that it might be Houdini given we were standing on the same block as the church. In fact I had the strong feeling it was Houdini. The realization of his death was strangely beautiful. He was lying belly up with his yellow banded eyes wide open as tiny brown ants crawled over their glassiness. The ants were ravenously at work just like my mind was for what was next. I had just two days left at my job.
I wasted no time in the summer heat and began to think of a way to carry him home with us. We were only blocks away from my apartment. My husband told me NOT to touch him with my bare hands and to come back for it with a box or something. I was convinced I had to take him with us then and there or something would happen to him. My husband is the logical one and I the impulsive one in the relationship.
I stood there frustrated for a long minute on what to do. Ah ha! I glanced across the street at a fast food restaurant, Carl’s Junior. I ran inside and cut the line like ahangry woman desperate for a value meal. Yes. I was that rude, impatient person waiting for eye contact from one of the workers so I could shout my needs at them. With an urgent look on my face I asked for a pair of gloves and plastic bag. Now you’d think that wouldn’t be a problem but I live in a town where bags cost ten cents now and asking for gloves isn’t the same as a packet of Carl’s sauce. I didn’t have a penny on me since we’d walked home from hiking so I hoped for the best.
With hesitation the worker tells me she can’t hand them out. So while some family is ordering their value meal with the cashier I shout my reasons why I need the bag and gloves over the counter at the woman. It’s hard to turn heads in Los Angeles but let me tell you the looks I got from the family ordering and the customers in line. Yeah, I’m that crazy creep you shouldn’t talk to or look at for too long.
Enjoy your juicy burger and fries, I got my plastic bag and pair of gloves so I could pick up a dead bird.
So, I scooped up Houdini.