Raven

I am getting tired of traveling. It could be that I am traveling with my boss and it could be the weather. My boss is a passive aggressive screaming immature crisis-creating Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarian asshole. We spent last Friday in Kodiak together. I got to listen to him misrepresent the capabilities of technology, misrepresent the scope of the project and then sit in his rental car as he drives through the island like a NYC cabby. All starting and stopping — break, gas — break gas. At the top of a mountain, on a razor ridge driving on gravel with an extremely steep four thousand foot drop to the ocean he is talking to me, looking out the side window and driving forward. As I look over the hood of the car, all I see is ocean. It is all so steep, I don’t see any mountain on his side of the car, then I don’t see any mountain in front of the car. I chirped, squeaked then squealed. I hate being scared. And being scared from his recklessness is another thing altogether. To scare oneself, to push to the limit to work together to face a fear, ok. I don’t like it much, but I do it. Looking out two-sides of the car and seeing nothing but a tumultuous ocean four thousand feet below while the car still zooms along ain’t for me. Did I add that the wind was screaming at a gale? The little Ford POS rental is quaking. My seat belt was off and my hand was on the door. I was not going over the side.

That was Kodiak. Lies, racism and fear while getting a neck-jerk tour of the crooked streets as he tells me about the Seventh day Adventist missionary corps that built the church there and their attempts at saving the native Aleuts.

Juneau with my boss – Better? Well the wind was blowing forty again — but we were two hours away by airplane, so a different place altogether. The rain drove down from the sky in buckets. It was so loud in my little car that when I was on the phone, people told me about the lousy static problem. With five-by-five reception on my mobile, I explained they were listening to the rain pelt my Chevy Rental. I call it a “blue airbag” — airbag being the only word printed on the dash anywhere. I certainly wasn’t going to spend any time outside of the car looking for its cheap name. “Blue airbag” fit so that’s what I called it.

Wow! I saw parts of mountains slide down to the road below. During one pass of the road, I saw a tongue of mud sticking out through the trees across a pond. During the next pass, I saw that the mud now included trees and the tongue jutted between two houses. The road it crossed then had a big yellow machine and a cop car. During the third pass, there were many trees taken by the slide, the pond was brown with mud and mess and a car sat on top of the mud pile that now defined the bottom of the slide. It had come down the mountain from its parking space three-hundred feet above where it previously rested at its owner’s house. Come winter this fella will have a nice new smooth ski area from his living room to the ice skating pond below, but for now, he will be yelling at All State telling them that he wants a new white car and a fine new place to park it. The local agent will tell him about the local Juneau deities and the special limitations in their policy protecting them from paying in the event of natural acts. The Agent will say: “If Raven chooses to give your car as a gift to the fish school in the pond, then you must find another way to park your car so Raven isn’t so tempted. “He likes shiny things” he’ll say. “Get something older and rustier and don’t park it out so close to where Raven soars around all day, that will be better.”

Regrettably, the claims adjuster in Ohio won’t understand the report the local insurance agent writes. He’ll have to take his big green stamp out from his left desk drawer hit the forms once with “ACT OF GOD” then he’ll take the bigger red one out and stamp “DENIED”. What do Ohio Christians know of steep mountains and rain so loud you hear it on the phone? And cars so plain that all it is blue and says Airbag like mine.

Maybe the family that tempted Raven will learn and repent. Then Raven can then turn into the insurance guy. Maybe then as the insurance agent, he will remember a special rider that the fella paid extra money for that protected them from the land sliding away and really big rain. Then Raven will be able to tell the family the good news and maybe even hand them the keys to a newer car that has more chrome and silver and white. A car fresh from California or Japan. Wouldn’t that make him happy?

That way Raven is the good guy for everyone, except he makes the soil and mountain look weak. So he’ll have to spend more and more time finding good wind to ride, ‘cause those mountains won’t want that old Raven sitting on his shoulder for a while. They’ll fuss and feud at each other but soon Raven will find new things to get into and be off to tease someone else.

Too bad Raven can’t touch my boss. My boss has Jesus and that’s kind of like having a shield. Oh, Raven can still make little messes and tease my boss but unless Boss understands Raven, he wouldn’t get the message. He misses so much by trying to listen to just one god. All the others scream at him. He does not hear them. Maybe he does feel their furry. Maybe that furry is what comes when I hear him yell at others like me and the rental car. When he is quiet, he reads about the “Four Faces of Jesus as told in the Scripture”. At least that is what he was reading while I left him in the parking lot of WalMart on Tuesday.

Raven sat on the shopping car and watched Boss read. Raven leaned in to see the book and the chrome or maybe he wanted some of Boss’ poofy fake-red hair. Me, I knew. I listen to Raven. I see his tricks some times. So I tip toe, quietly, stealthily. I control my breath. I move just by thinking about the next step. That new Walmart bag even stayed quiet for me. Then just as I am behind old Raven, I let out a Caw that shakes his tail feathers. “Caw!!!!”
Raven doesn’t know what to do, he turns his head towards me and starts to fly at the same time. That was bad for him, it was like he tripped right there in the middle of the air. He’s all turned one way and flying the other. Me, I just roll back into laughter. I am laughing and laughing for catching old Raven himself. Raven reading the back of a Jesus book. I got him. I got him good.

Lucky I leave tomorrow. Otherwise, I might be in for some trouble myself. It is all in fun. He knows I got him. He respects me better for trying. Maybe if Boss wasn’t reading about the Faces of Jesus, he could have told me about the thoughts old Raven was having before I scared him white.

As it was, he missed the whole thing — looking up as the great black bird recovered flight. How do I tell him why I am laughing. I can’t. I don’t. Jesus was born in the desert on the other side of the world.

#Dated: December 1998#