Monday, June 23, 2008

Los Pájaros

It all began in a pet shop in San Francisco with a mynah bird, a couple of lovebirds, a lawyer, and a socialite. Forty-five years later - unlikely though this may seem - it has come to its diabolical climax here in La Línea de la Concepción sans the mynah bird, a couple of lovebirds, a lawyer, and a socialite. But birds there are.

It is "Los Pájaros (2008)".

For the past week or so, La Línea has borne witness to unsettling patterns in natural phenomena, marked by changes in the behaviour of its seagulls. But let me digress for a moment and say that the gulls who call La Línea home are no ordinary birds. They are masters of mimicry - if indeed mimicry is what it is - and can parrot all sorts of creatures: cats, crying infants, screaming children and donkeys. Donkeys.

And although I have lived on my fair share of coastlines, I confess that I've never before encountered seagulls like these, let alone knew that they could do impersonations. I don't know if I should be booking them into gigs at local hotels or be spooked. (The latter! The latter!) In fact, there's something about these particular birds that's a bit disquieting. I'm pretty sure that the ones who roost on our rooftop - which I might add is 97% of the birds in question - have learned to "do" Señor Gato Gringo, albeit with a lisp-y Andalucían accent. I was tipped off when I heard "him" calling out for a thpoon for his cereal the other morning. I foresee weeks of either hilarity or marital strife.

Now it's all coming to a seething head. As if flaunting their complex methods of communication, for the past few days the birds have responded to some sort of universal gull call and have convened in La Línea in huge avian mobs. They are spending hours - most of which are pretty ungodly as our visiting friend and fellow gin & tonic poker-aficionado Mr. N. can attest - screaming and screeching and squawking and barking from their catalogue of voices, careening about rooftops, and generally being humungous pains in the ass. Well not so much humungous but creepy pains in the ass.

I fear they are enlisting the swallows.

Señor G.G. saw one perched level with our bedroom window at 4:00 this morning, trying to decide if it wanted to come in. I suspect that it did want in.

Why are they here? Where is this all going? When will it end? How will it end? Are they here principally to elect the new Gull King? Was La Línea chosen to host the 2008 Convention of Laridae Charadriiformes? Long noted to be avid football fans, are they here to cheer on Spain in Euro 2008? - they were eerily euphoric last night when Spain ended their 88-year "Italian" curse by finally eliminating Italy and moving on to the semifinals. Or are they receiving instructions? Orders? Should I be searching the skies for a mothership? Is something nefarious - something truly dark and deadly - afoot?? (The latter! The latter!) Will we all be found dead one morning, with our eyes pecked out and a clutch of rotting sardines at the foot of our beds?

O the horror!

Addendum: there' s talk of remaking the Hitchcock classic with Naomi Watts in the role of Melanie Daniels made famous by Tippi Hedren. I can only hope it's as good as the remake of Psycho.

O the horror!


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