"Stay Away From the Mojitos!!!"
A sad tale of our times: A dead crow/raven-ish type of bird, a governmental agency and West Nile Virus
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer
It was a dark and stormy night...nah--it was not. Actually, it was a wonderful, balmy evening, the sun was setting over the hills. (Yeah, the ones our nephew once asked about. "When did they bring in the mountains?" My husband patiently explained that the mountains had been there the whole time we had been here. But our nephew is a film editor, so sets come and go with the flick of a finger...Can you imagine, he thought we had falsies for hills? Too Westside, mi hijo. Too Westside.)
Published on LatinoLA: August 24, 2012
Anyway, our doggies, Pancho and Lolita were barking up a storm near the lemon tree, so I went to go take a peek. Hijole! It looked like a really sleek, black cat. Super long. Still. Broken neck. (Hey, I watch "The Closer"!)
There was a bit of blood on it, but no blood on the dogs. The big thing, though, appeared to have careened into a solid something that caused it's neck to be broken, kind of like it died with a question it needed to ask. Quizzical, I would say.
So, I did what any hardened Latina who fought her way through law school would do, I called for mi querido. Who had to be pried away from the Golf Channel, where someone was whispering into a microphone about what someone else was about to do, and the ball's "lie"--the way it was positioned, not it's reputation for truth telling--and on and on and...
Ay viene la persona quien es mas macho...mi querido. He takes a look at the thing, which we determined to be of the crow/raven-ish type of bird. Hmmmm. So my husband did what he does whenever something troublesome comes along. He got a shovel, while I got the perritos into the house. He looked at the bird for the approach, then he decisively picked it up with the shovel and tossed it over the wall, into a culvert that is supposed to bring the water down from the for-real hills, not a culvert/cemetery for dead or dying animals.
Flush with satisfaction at his manly toss, he began to make his way back to the house and all the whispering. "HeyWaitAMinute!!" I yelled out. Pointing out the bad hygiene aspects of his actions, as well as the necessity for the county to be notified, my husband gave me a not so querido-ish look and continued inside. His job was done.
So, I tracked down the appropriate governmental agency. And then I lied.
Me: "There is a huge bird near my back yard."
Them: "Is it alive, or dead?"
Me: "Which do you handle?"
Them: "Live animals."
Me: "It's alive."
Them: "We'll get someone out there."
And they actually did. A lady whose name I think was Helga showed up, ready to urge the little birdie into a cage. After some preliminary investigation, she said, "Hmmppphhhh. It is dead." So then Helga became the birdie coroner. Off went the cage, back came the birdie body bag. Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. But at least Helga did not have to do a chalk outline of the birdie corpse. That would have been too much, even for me.
Helga left after causing all the neighbors to come out, thinking there had been a big tragedia in our house. Not so fast, mirones!! I was given a card and was told the county doctor who performed the "necropsy", an animal autopsy, would call. I threw the card on the stack of junk paper I had and forgot about it.
Until THE CALL. The caller identified himself as the county doctor and made certain he was talking to the right person. Yesssssss????????? Well, he started out, preliminary investigation indicated that the raven was fine. "Ay, gracias, Diosito", I thought. BUT. Further investigation indicated that the raven quoth only "West Nile Virus". WHAAAAAAAAAAT???????
And I had so been hoping for "West Side Story Virus." Duh. "So, what do I do?" I asked the good doctor. He mumbled something. "WHAAAAAAATTTTTT??????? Stay away from mojitos??????? No, not that!!!!!" He corrected me: "I said mosquitoes." Oh. Uh huh. And do I hang that pest repellant thingamajigee from my husband, myself and my dogs?
"No, just be careful and warn your neighbors." I warned almost everyone, except anyone who had ever been mean to me.
So, tonight I wrote a letter to a doctor friend who saved my life many years ago, an Infectious Disease Specialist and asked what I should do. I think, or perhaps hope, he will instruct me to go have a couple of mojitos and call him in the morning.
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer (c) 2012
Guadalupe Gonzalez, Contributing Writer:
Writer and Los Angeles Attorney