<HONEA EXPRESS: Of Mice, Men and Murder as a Lullaby

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Of Mice, Men and Murder as a Lullaby

Driving through Salinas, CA is like driving through a memory - assuming your memories include the collected works of John Steinbeck, which mine do. It is a trip through prose and the scenery springs to life from so many paragraphs.

So it was that Tricia and I stopped at the Steinbeck museum and upon leaving I purchased the classic Of Mice and Men. Tricia had never read it. It became our narrative - an audio book without the tape and an aroma reminiscent of a French Dip sandwich and a couple of beers.

I read as she drove that lonely highway with the sun burning bright and the pages dancing all around.

I told her about the rabbits.

There is a murder in my yard. A murder of crows. Alfred Hitchcock is sitting on the bench under the mulberry tree and he is tossing them bread crumbs and forgotten lines.

They are loud and they have us surrounded. They talk and gargle and sing and yell and the sound of their wings echoes through our now empty home like the pending arrival of helicopters promising napalm in the morning. They are black birds and they sing in the dead of night.

Our house is bare but for the random can in the cupboard and assorted condiments in the icebox. We have two weeks left before we walk away forever and it will be spent on hardwood floors covered in quilts and children.

Our beds are gone. Our TV is packed. Our chairs are broken laundry baskets and forgotten boxes. Our clothes are on repeat.

We have been working hard. We get up early and stay up late. There is heavy lifting and dirt and sweat. We work until our backs cannot and then we lie upon a pallet of discarded blankets and the give of oak.

It is Salinas in a memory. It is broken wings and all my life.

It is only waiting for the moment to arise.

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