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Misty has been a bad dog. This past week, her old grass eating habits have reemerged and her barking has been almost unmanageable. In an unprecedented act of rudeness, she left a huge round wet spot in front of the bedroom door.

Usually, doggie transgressions stem from doggie angst. Why would her nerves be a wreck? Is the neighbor’s bloated tabby tomcat taunting her? Are the adolescent boys who peep at me throwing rocks again? Did the blue moon call forth an ancient and eldritch beast that exclusively menaces mongrel Border Collies?

Actually, the truth rather surprised me. Mid-afternoon, I tramped out back to reposition the sprinkler in our overgrown grassy area. A loud electric crackling startled me. It was the kind of loud, threatening noise you would encounter in a digitally re-mastered Frankenstein movie.

It repeated twice before I could pinpoint the source. A trio of roadrunners stalked the south wall. These were not the amiable cheeky sort of roadrunner that would permit an inept coyote to chase them for sport. These were the fierce avian successors of velociraptors, bold and territorial. The dominant male flared his crest and darted towards me audaciously, sizzling like a high voltage wire. Stupefied, I stepped back several paces.

The two smaller birds joined him expectantly, as if a major chase was about to commence. My heart skipped a beat. It was similar to the momentary terror you experience the instant a squirrel unexpectedly snatches a sandwich remnant off your plate at the park. When I recovered, I thought, “Damn! Where’s my camera?”

Of course, by the time I lugged it out, the show was over. The pursuer became the pursued. I captured a fleeting shot of the two smaller birds fleeing across the yard and a multitude of blurry photographs of the roadrunners treed in a mesquite bush. From the relative safety of the mesquite, the dominant male still flared his crest ominously and continued to sputter hostilely. No wonder Misty was freaked out.

Mmmbeeep-beep!

Camera shy.
 A Closer Shot
I swear he was more sinister in person! You can see a second R.R. blurred in the background.

 

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