Sunday, October 16, 2011

He Really Likes Trees

For a hardboiled character (which he definitely is) the narrator of THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH does love trees, saying of another man's yard, "One of Roger Craig's forebears had had an eye for trees. There was something for everyone. In the northwest corner he had the biggest magnolia I'd ever seen... chinquapin, sassafras, sweet gum, birch, and mimosa... cottonwood and aspen. He even had a chinaberry tree." But that's not what I wanted to quote to you. Here: "Doc Essegian was my cellmate. Everyone called him The Doctor. Maybe because he was such a wise old owl." So, according to our ever-slackening standards, THE NAME OF THE GAME IS DEATH becomes our latest book with an owl in it. Speaking of owls, I saw something about an owl on twitter yesterday, via Neko Case's account. It's all about a generous owl who catches a rat and tries to give it to his friend, a cat. So don't "click" here if you don't want to see a photograph of an owl trying to feed a freshly caught rat to a cat, okay? The guy who "posted" it had been taking care of an injured owl on his farm, and when the owl got better, it still enjoyed hanging around. The "link" also purports to show the owl - a small bat clutched in its beak - landing on the guy's sleeping wife. I only say "purports" because it is very hard for me to imagine staying asleep while an owl with a bat in its beak lands on me, or, for that matter, any loved one sitting silently beside the bed with a camera, waiting to capture the moment that an owl with a bat in its beak lands on me. But apparently it happened! Apparently! If I ever get a pet owl, I am going to strongly encourage it not to land on any sleeping person, especially me, with a small bat clutched in its beak. (Pictured, the superhero "The Owl," lifted from a "web" site from which I have stolen before. There was another panel showing "The Owl" sitting in a tree, which would have more appropriately tied together our various threads, maybe, but I'm tired.)