10- An Umbrella On A Sunny Day

Said it was gonna rain today they did. Weather app on me phone said we were to expect 100%, full unadulterated downpour of rain, last all day you know. Now, me, lived right out on the Washington-Oregon border, and when you get proper rain over there it lasts for days at a time, right? Really makes you feel like you’re gonna drown, especially when it’s pouring through the roof of your house.

Then, I came here and I experienced New York rain. Fastest, Hardest, quickest rain I’ve ever experienced. Clouds pop, erupt, burst, boom! and just slam down as hard as you can imagine, completely bowls you over, I was flat. So, when the weather service announces 100% RAIN, I take it the most serious. I brought me blue-hued broadsword, the one what guides me in the darkness when the rain touches the metal and me favorite yellow umbrella.

No Rain. The dark clouds were above us, all floating, ready to wipe the streets clean. But the sun was shining straight on through them making everything glitter and glow. So there I was, looking all an idiot, wandering across all of Central Park with me best rainy day blade and a useless umbrella out in the sun on a dark afternoon. So of course, only natural that I’d finally fall right into the lunatic’s maw. I always got the same little carved stone tablets in the little envelope that everyone gets on Tuesday evenings warning me about this week’s oncoming prophecy. This week was a warning about not coming outside improperly prepared, which of course I was. I’m right by the playground around 85th-ish Street, on the west side of the Park. That’s when I spot ‘im standing on top of the children’s slide. Ol’ Bird Skull. With that rhinoceros hornbill skull masked over his head like a bad beanie.

I’m starin’ at ‘im from outside the gate of the playground. He’s waving his black coat all about. Slides down the slide. Comes right on up to me. I’m fairly certain his first impression of me was a bit jokey, I know I said something quite clever. Pretended not to be amused though. Looked me all settled in the eyes and said:

“You must ascend the manmade mountain. Strike hard the wounded thunderbird.”

Now, I brought up that it didn’t seem particularly respectful to go hunting a thunderbird. Important for spiritual journeys and such in some cultures, I’ve been led to believe. But he just repeated it.

“You must ascend the manmade mountain. Strike hard the wounded thunderbird.”

Now, I didn’t plan on going after any manmade mountains or any thunderbird. Bird Skull was not leaving me alone on this fine sunny afternoon, though. I started leaving and he followed right up behind me, muttering, whispering the lines again. Manmade mountains. Wounded Thunderbirds.

I made it all the way up 84th Street towards that AMC theater with him breathing down me back. So I walked a little bit further towards that collapsed Barnes and Noble. But there was big horned idiot, making a scene. I drew me blade and pressed it to his throat. Said it again:

“You must ascend the manmade mountain. Strike hard the wounded thunderbird.”

I was drawing blood on him, but he just kept looking at me with those narrowed eyes behind the skull sockets.

Of course I agreed. Just to get rid of him.

A flash of lightning and he was gone. No smoke, no mirrors, just gone. Just me hefting me sword out in the middle of Manhattan. The rain started.

-R.

11- A Tea Bag In The Bird's Mouth

9- Too Many Windows On The Spire