YET ANOTHER SHORT, STUBBY TALE
“I’m finding another manager when I get back to the States”, Lou said to himself as yet another gig on this tour of the Outback found him in front of yet another unsophisticated, loutish, and hard-drinking crowd of Australian farmers, station-hands, and railroad workers. Topical American jokes were wasted on them, satire was an alien concept. The only laughs he got, in fact, were his animal impressions which, in spite of their success , Lou hated doing, preferring to perform edgier material.
And he was doing just that, Lou was in the middle of a shtick about Spam being the canned remains of over-populated pounds, when the biggest, roughest, lout in the bar stood up and shouted…”‘nough o’ this balder, mate, let’s see a wallabee!”
“I don’t Wallaby, mate!” Lou answered sarcastically.
The roughneck was drunk enough to miss the tone of voice, but not the gist of the reply.
“Well, then, Kangaroo instead! Red, Grey, Eastern, whatever, just do it or,..”
“I don’t Kangaroo, either, I don’t Platypus, I don’t freaking Dingo!”, Lou was getting irked, but then he saw the guy pull his knife. He softened his tone and pleaded with the angry drunk.
“Look, fella, I’ve never done a kangaroo, I wouldn’t do it justice. Whaddya say I imitate a large wading bird for you good people? That is one my better impressions.” And Lou started to lift one leg and pop his head forward, but suddenly found a knife pressed to his throat.
The Aussie’s menacing grin filled Lou’s vision as he spoke words that chilled the impressionist’s heart.
“You’re going to ‘Roo this day, mate, or it’s a day that you won’t live to egret!.”
The other vendors and I were happy to have the old Mexican and his trained birds participate in this year’s event; he wasn’t competing for the public’s food dollar, nor with the stands that mainly sold Chinese-manufactured trinkets that announced themselves as authentic. In addition, the antics of his feathered employees drew potential customers our way.
However, I found it odd, the favoritism he seemed to show the cockatiel, who between shows sat on a perch under an umbrella, while the toucan sat on the old man’s shoulder, both unprotected from the hot midday sun. The cockatiel was fed sunflower seed and sprigs of millet , while Juan shared his bag of stale peanuts, with the less coddled bird.
I finally had to satisfy my curiousity; one afternoon when my liunchtime business had slacked off, I walked over after the trio had entertained a gaggle of schoolkids on a field trip.
“Sr. Montoya, I notice that you treat the one bird better than you treat yourself, but the other bird, who seems to be just as big a draw, eats the same poor fare as you. Why is that?”
“Cockatiel (he had never gotten around to naming them), has expensive tastes, likes to live well.”
“On other hand”, he continues, “Toucan live as cheaply as Juan.”
The target again approached the bushes where Ito crouched, his black garb blending into the shadows, and again Ito hesitated.
“What if he sees me me, and draws his sword before I strike? Better I should wait until he passes me by then slip up and stab him from behind, Yes! That is what I shall do.”
The figure walked by Ito, oblivious to his presence, and the assassin made to strike….
“What if he hears me?”, Ito thinks, “That is a sharp sword he has, he might be good with it, too… I know!”, Ito says as he digs into a pocket of his shozoku, “I will kill him with a well-thrown star before he re-enters the house, and I have lost my last chance to fulfill my duty.”
Again, he fidgets, adjusts his posture, starts to throw, then brings his arm down to his side, sighing disgustedly, as the one marked for death blithely enters his house and sanctuary.
“I probably would have missed. “Maybe I will get another chance tomorrow, if the weather isn’t bad.”
Such is the drive to prevail to carry out the warlord’s commands , yet only if conditions are just right. Such is the code of the Ninja Worrier
C’mon! Have fun, friend, go play in the sand,
Go make me smile, you most beautiful man
To the music you hear, go on now, dance
Dance with yourself, dance for your friends
In your candy-store world, bright pretty and sweet
You must peer in every jar, and sample each treat
Look in every single window on every single street
Fashion new friends out of everyone you meet
We all have our duties, yours isn’t to hurry
your’s isn’t to deal with it, get real, or worry
Others are obliged to take care of life’s business
Fight wars, wage crime, make deals, collect interest
Go on now, have fun, make the watching world’s day
Take what we think matters most and throw it all away
Dive the deepest water, we’ll watch you from the quay
We wish we were more like you, no matter what we say