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Today has been exciting. I’m worn out but I can’t rest until Jerry is in a nice raccoon-proof box and I have verified the fence-corpse or lack of it.

I can hear Carl yelling even from my office.

So, once it gets dark enough that Carl and Sandra can’t see us, my son will hold the flashlight, I will take point with the broom, and my daughter will hang back ready to cover our retreat.

Objective 1 is to locate Jerry. Objective 2 is to verify the fence-corpse or lack of it. Both objectives lie in the northwest corner of the yard and can ideally be reached in the same trip.

The dogs are both sacked out, exhausted. I need to go downstairs and get the Jerry box prepped.

What we’ll do if Jerry doesn’t want to stay in the box…Jesus. One problem at a time.

All right. We have found a Jerry box.

There was discussion of whether Jerry needed a studio or a condo.

We have decided on a Jerry condo (a largish Amazon box that came back from the coast bearing seedlings last weekend) because it needs room for: Towel, water source, food, and (hopefully) Jerry the Crow.

Right now the biggest concern is that Jerry might not want his new condo.

It fact, the planners have advanced the idea that Jerry might be a bit of an asshole about this whole deal.

If Jerry’s spend the entire evening in the corner of the yard near a fence-corpse, Jerry might in fact be a bit peeved. Or if Jerry was stuffed in the fence and only recently emerged, he can’t be in a very good mood.

Either way, whether he was the corpse or near it, Jerry might be in what we call a bit of a mood.

I should have bought hockey gear. But how in the hell could I have known THIS would happen?

Any eye protection I wear is going to cut down on my Jerry- and corpse-spotting ability, despite the torches both kids will be carrying.

This is a quandary, but I’m fully committed to this operation and have to accept the chance of casualties.

As long as the kids stay well back, and Jerry or the corpse doesn’t go for them, we might conceivably get through Jerry Watch Situation 2021 without any injuries. And in the morning I can approach the Question of Jerry.

It’s very quiet. The birds are roosting. It might be dark enough. I’m going to go check.

I slipped out the back door with no backup—JUST TO LOOK, I SWEAR!

…this is why heroes end up dead, naturally.

Anyway, Sandra is still on Jerry duty. She’s in the cedars. Sunset approaches. Sandra gave a few tired croaks, determined to do her duty.

I retreated because I am NOT a hero.

I am currently pondering the question of Jerry Gloves. Gardening gloves might be too thin to protect me, but the fence-mending gloves mean I won’t have the necessary delicate control and might end up hurting Jerry.

All this assumes I’ll be able to find Jerry the crow IN THE DARK, and then shove him into his well-supplied condo, and convince him to STAY THERE.

My daughter is unconvinced the condo is raccoon-proof

I have so much to worry about right now, I can’t even consider the raccoons.

Will Jerry be able to get to oyster crackers or sunflower seeds if we put them in a little dish? I don’t want to be rude but I’m not sure Jerry really knows how to handle crockery?

(I am still doubting my sanity on a minute to minute basis but what the hell, I work in publishing and have raised two kids, I might as well lean into this bullshit too.)

I am so worried about whether or not Jerry might be an asshole about his new condo I have almost forgotten the fence-corpse, but then the fence-corpse idea comes back and I get anxious.

Someone has kindly pointed out that crows are tool-using birds so as much of an asshole as Jerry is likely to be, he’ll probably handle a bowl with facility.

This is absurdly comforting. I’m off to find some condo crockery for an asshole crow.

ALL RIGHT. Operation Get Jerry Into His Asshole Condo And Verify The Fence-Corpse has undergone final planning.

It is dusk. True sundown was just a minute or so ago. My daughter snuck a small bowl of oyster crackers and a small dish of water out onto the deck, partly to have them handy and partly to gauge the Sandra situation.

Sandra sent poor worried Carl to bed and was in the cedars but was last seen flying northward, possibly to roost. It’s dead silent except for traffic.

I will be taking point. Behind me will be my son with a torch and an extra towel. Safety equipment has been decided on and will undergo final checks in a bit.

My daughter will peel off as we approach the northwest corner. She is to set up the Asshole Crow Condo and keep the food and water handy.

I will IF POSSIBLE verify the fence-corpse. My daughter says I am obsessed with the fence-corpse. I told her if there was a Schrodinger’s corpse in HER back fence she’d be a little unnerved too.

Once I have verified the fence-corpse (or lack of it) an attempt to locate Jerry the Asshole Crow will be made. We are fairly certain he’s in that corner, considering it safe.

YES, I WILL BE ATTEMPTING TO CATCH A CROW IN THE DARK. AFTER POSSIBLY HALLUCINATORY MUSIC AND A SQUIRREL NAMED TOM HIDDLESTON. HOW IS THIS MY LIFE. HOW.

(I am told nerves are usual before any recon mission.)

Once Jerry has been nabbed—possibly in the towel my son is carrying—it will be a matter of swiftly shoving him into the Asshole Crow Condo, then holding the towel before the entrance until he calms the fuck down.

I have told the kids I am notifying you all in case we don’t return. I have a St Jude medallion I will be putting on before donning protective gear.

JERRY, IF YOU’RE LISTENING, YOU’D BETTER APPRECIATE THIS BULLSHIT, AND TELL CARL TO LAY OFF.

All right. We’re about to suit up and creep out into the night.

Wish us luck. Chat among yourselves until (hopefully) our return.

A little after 9pm (2100hrs, let’s be precise) we did our final equipment checks and went over the plan. I took point with the broom. My son (PRINCE) was behind me with two torches and a towel (JERRY-CATCHING DEVICE)

My daughter (PRINCESS) brought up the rear with the Asshole Crow Condo and a dish of water. We went over the plan.

The plan included approach, objectives, condo setup, capture protocol, and retreat order. Also covered: IF MUM SCREAMS RETREAT, HAUL ASS FOR HOUSE, IF YOU GET WOUNDED KEEP GOING, IF YOU GET KILLED…WALK IT OFF.

Follow

Initially all went according to plan. We exited the safe zone, with some difficulty extracting the Asshole Crow Condo through the French door without deploying the K9 units.

We the proceeded down the stairs in proper order, then spread out and moved towards initial objective (NORTHEAST CORNER, DOGWOOD).

The table was reached and the Asshole Crow Condo deployed, ready to accept Jerry.

At this point, the mission leader (MOTHER) decided that Objective 1 (FENCE-CORPSE VERIFICATION) could be attempted. We approached in good order and with extreme caution.

I am pleased to report we have solved one mystery. The fence-corpse was indeed Objective 2 (JERRY).

Apparently Boxnoggin (K9 UNIT 2) had chased Jerry into the crack between two fences. We suspect Jerry was already wounded at that time.

HOWEVER, there was no corpse in the fence. I REPEAT, THERE WAS NO CORPSE IN THE FENCE. Jerry had been spotted both before and after the suspected corpse was seen.

Attached please find Jerry’s proof of life, taken before dusk but after the CORPSE-FENCE INCIDENT. (Jerry could reach the top of the table but was unable to properly fly.)

I do not deny deriving a great deal of comfort from this development.

That objective obtained, we spread out in search of Jerry. Assuming Jerry was wounded and roosting somewhere close by, we used the Jerry-Finding Also-Weapon Device (BROOM). Pleased to report it performed excellently all through the mission.

Now, I know you’re all waiting, so I will be explain.

No. There is too much. I will sum up.

Friends, neighbors, gentlehobbits, my children and I scoured the dusk-drenched yard. We lifted branches. We carefully lifted ferns. We looked under the redbud. We looked in the hydrangea. We looked in the honeysuckle.

We jumped every time a stick broke, and Mission Leader (MOTHER) whispered “JESUS CHRIST” multiple times.

WE WERE DRESSED UP IN WHAT LOOKED LIKE SNOWSUITS CREEPING AROUND OUR YARD LIKE WEIRDOS AND JERRY HAD FUCKED OFF.

“I feel like Jerry would let us know if he was in the lemon balm.”

“Jerry? Are you there?”

“You’ll scare him.”

“More than he’ll scare us?”

WE SEARCHED THE ENTIRE FUCKING YARD WITH TWO TORCHES AND A BROOM

MY SON WAS WEARING HIS NINJA FACEMASK

AND JERRY HAD FUCKED OFF

WE SPENT HALF AN HOUR SEARCHING FOR THAT FUCKING CROW AFTER CARL AND SANDRA KEPT US TRAPPED IN THE HOUSE AND WORRIED ALL EVENING

AND JERRY HAD FUCKED OFF

I HIT MY HEAD UNDER THE DECK BECAUSE I CREPT UNDER IT IN SEARCH OF JERRY

JERRY, YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE

I’M TELLING CARL

You want to know what we did next? You want to know how desperate we were to find this fucking wounded crow who had probably fucked off into the neighbor’s yard when we weren’t looking?

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@lilithsaintcrow I think this entire thread would make an excellent timeline-organised short story ...

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