Thursday, May 31, 2007

stunt pilot buck jones, part deux

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones flies around camp in awkward, stilted loops. Ducking. Dodging. Flapping. Fighting with his loose, membranous wings to stay afloat.

Hey Mr. Buck Jones, where is it that you go?

He lands on the trunk of a young Tulip Poplar, sucked to it like magnetism. Clinging to the rough bark with tiny claws so high, his head hangs down towards the ground. I see his pig nose expand and contract, gulping air, recovering from aerobatics.

“I have rabies you fat fuck. Why the hell else would I be flying around in the middle of the goddamn day? Bats are nocturnal, dumbshit.”

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones still seems to have his wits about him despite the daylight flight.

“I’m sorry sir. I know bats are nocturnal. I suspected you might have rabies. I’m very sorry.”

“You can stuff your sorrys in a sack mister. Who the hell are you anyway? Coming into my woods, my mountains, gawking at my poor infected soul like I’m some sort of fucking circus freak. Well I’m not. I’m a little brown bat that’s had a rough go of it lately. So what. You win some, you lose some. That’s what my mother always used to say at any rate. Cold comfort at a time like this.”

He comes unstuck from the tree and flappity-flaps his way through three big rings around the grove of trees and then fwhip, right back to his perch.

“I know I shouldn’t be flying around,” he says, gasping for air, his tiny pig nose pulsing purposefully, “but I can’t help it. It’s amazing how powerful the desire is to just fly around in circles. I know it’s the little virus in there like a commando in my brain, making me do things I shouldn’t. I know that. I’m not stupid. But it feels just like any old desire I might have. Eat. Sleep. Fuck. Fly around in circles in the middle of the goddamn day. Whatever. I’m a slave to my neurons, you know?”

“So you feel completely normal?”

“100% Buck Jones.”

“That is fascinating.”

“Maybe for you. I’m a little worried myself. But enough of this. You sound big. What are you, 298? Three bills?”

“Well, more like 330 these days, not like I keep track.”

“That’s not good man. A guy like you. You’re young, right? Your vocal cords sound fairly young.”

“I’m impressed. I thought the radar was just for catching bugs and what not. Finding your cave.”

“I wish I could find my cave. Got a bit turned around here. Well, it’s like Gould and Lewontin said, or was it Gould and Vrba? Aptations my man, aptations are where all the money’s at these days. Evolve it for one thing, use it for another. Done alright by me so far.”

“Sure, sure, I see that. But the fact that Gould and Vrba got credit for an idea that’s been around since, well, at least since Darwin, bothers me sometimes. I mean, sure, Gould had a way with words, and Vrba, that’s a catchy name, right? But back to my weight. This is interesting. It’s kind of like your rabies, my weight. I know I shouldn’t eat as much as I do, but I can’t help it. The commandos in my brain tell me what to do and I pretty much don’t have a choice but to listen.”

“Ah, I see. So you don’t believe in free will?”

“Well, yes. You’re right. I don’t really believe in free will. But that’s no excuse you know. And I don’t think that’s really what’s at issue here either. I’m really just trying to sympathize with your case of hydrophobia by recounting a similar problem in my life. Seems to help people. Get them to sympathize with you for a minute. Makes their problem seem a little less pressing. Maybe. I don’t know.”


“Yeah. Hydrophobia. I heard somewhere that when you have rabies you’re scared of water.”

“Huh. Come to think of it, I am mighty parched. All this flying around and what not. Maybe I’ll get a drink.”

“Yeah, let’s go down to the creek there and have a look.”

Stunt Pilot Buck Jones releases his grip on the tree and glides very close to the ground before clapping his skin flaps and heading, more or less, towards the stream. He alights on a small Witch Hazel trunk, about three feet high, just above the edge of the water. I sit next to him on a large, flat, gray rock. He is at eye level.

“Yeeeeaaaah, soooo, I’m not thirsty now.”

“You just said you were ‘mighty parched’ a minute ago. All that flying around…”

“Well, that was a minute ago. I ate a big juicy bug on the way over here. I’m fine.”

“Ok, but I think it’s the hydropho…ack! Goddammit Buck Jones! What the hell…get off of me…OOOWWW! GODDAMMIT YOU BIT ME! ON MY FACE! SHIT!”

“Sorry dude. The commando. I guess you’ve got him now too. Oh well. Gotta go. Give my love to the kids!”

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