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It’s good to be back home again, traveling from one state to the other, living a life somewhat similar to road peddler, except, the work I did was much harder, and the pay was next to nothing, but, the rewards, and the experiences are by far, priceless.

It seemed to be long ago when I was asked by a dear friend who’s been in the press service as long as I have, or maybe a little longer, to volunteer my time to serve as a field organizer, in the presidential primaries, on the democratic side of course…and for Hillary Clinton …of course again… But now that the primaries are over with, and until the convention, I came home to catch up with life’s realities, the never ending grind of daily life, most of all, to eat real home cooked meals, and to sleep in my bed, for as long as I damn well please, Sally is a great cook, and she knows that I am a good eater, perhaps, this was one of the many reasons we stood by, and supported each other for the past 45 years.

Sat on the lush spring green grass this warm June day, facing the midday Sun and began empting a sack full of hand written notes, some were written on restaurant napkins, others on a full size paper plate during an outdoors cookout, others on scraps of paper, and gas station receipts, names of new friends I’ve met along the way, who’ve shared the same interests and passions, cell phones, email addresses, and the promises to keep open our line of communications.

As I was reading, or attempting to read what I had scribbled on one of the notes, something distracted my attention, observing the slow movement of a small paper on the grass, fueled my curiosity, I waited and watched it actually being lifted up and moved in a pains taking slow motion….What is it I thought, it had to be some small but tough critter, and so, I gently lifted the note… wow it’s a thing of spring beauty… a Wooly Worm is out for spring walk, pushing away those thick blades of grass like a giant cutting his path thru the forest, where did he come from, and where is he going to, I wondered , perhaps is on a mission , it didn’t take me but a flash of a second to grab my notes off the grass, to give the worm the right of way.
After all, even the small things amongst us in this life, are entitled to some respect…

The plump worm was very surprised to see the day light again, after that huge blanket was lifted off his face, and looked to be pleased and thankful, one might say, one can immediately notice when one exhibits a sincere smile, or a pleasant wiggle, for a moment I thought he may have utters some words, only Dr. Doolittle would understand, nevertheless, he seemed to be thankful for the removal of that colossus weight off of his very tender body, he is on an urgent mission, looking for a safe branch to climb so he can begin the awesome process of wrapping himself with the finest natural silks, for the transformational nap, later in summer he will revisit with us in disguised, as a beautiful moth of breath taking colors. Will he remember me..?

I watched the worm wiggle its way foreword in between those tall blades of grass, thankfully, I don’t use any weed killers or other chemicals on my grounds, I keep the dandelions with their brilliant yellow flowers and the crabgrass, so that the subterranean dwellers can hide and feed as well. I kept my eyes focused on the worm, watching him advance in a determined pace, for what he may have perceived to be a long mile, when in fact, it was only a foot or so, it’s a matter of perception, don’t you see!…then quickly, I decided to get up and walk a few steps away from the grass, fearing that I may have inadvertently reduced some other worms into natural fertilizer with my “ not so light” lower half, that is when I heard a familiar high pitch screeching sound of the Jaybird perched on a new tree branch, surrounded by the new foliage, he was looking very supercilious straight into my face, his nonsensical chatter became ever so loud, as though he was demanding of me to vacate the grounds at once, so, I took few steps toward the front canopy of my house, out of sight, out of mind, so to speak, protected by the shrubs, to give the bird some sense of security and to assure him that I was not about to invade his high-rise condo.

With a swift flutter of his blue grey wings, Jaybird made a perfectly graceful touch down on the edge of the grass and the asphalt of my driveway, very daringly turning his neck ninety degrees left, then right making sure the ugly humanoid, or any other would be invader is out of sight, then, a hop and a quick flutter brought him with in striking distance of the worm, wow I said,…what a sharp vision you have Jaybird… this bird was after the worm for quite some time now, had I not been sitting under the apple tree, the worm would have been a goner by now, Jay took a second look towers me and uttered yet another screeching chirping threat, warning me to stay put… to freeze in my place.
And then, at that precise moment in time, Jay made the final reach with his extended neck snatching the worm with his mandibles, the poor helpless worm was stricken with fright as he was dangling up in mid air, so taken by the sudden un provoked attack, he was rendered speechless, one might say…Jaybird was about to open his upper beak and gulp the worm , while he was turning his head towards me, somehow the worm slipped out of the bird’s mouth and landed back down on the grass.
Wooly worm was not pleased at all, somewhat bewildered, even frightened, and the fall from high up, did not help either, yet, he did not make any attempts to reach for safer hiding place, it’s not the fall… it’s the sudden impact that hurts. Worm was in full control of his composure, he felt the need to make a stand, to confront the attacker, to stop the bully, worm looked up at the bird appeared to him as a huge bird of ancient times, worm, was able to gather up all the forces that a worm can get to fend off any more of this nonsense, as he put it.... by now that velvety body has transformed into a razor sharp, poison laced spears mounted all over his back, ready for “the mother of all battles “ this ardent soul that entered on this world with heroic purpose, unlike the vociferous, violent Jaybird, Wooly worm elected to take the higher ground in order to avoid certain demise, so that he can continue his mission on this earth.
Have you lost your senses…?, have you lost your moral compass…? Are you really aware of what you are about to subject your graceful body to, by eating me..? Admit to it… you were about to have me for a snack…said the worm…
Why yes, said Jaybird with no sense of shame or repentance, I enjoy the good things in life, I love high proteins, you see worm… For us the special species of birds, the decedents of the old world family of the Hoopoe, our historical forefathers traveled the globe staking our claims across this land and beyond, my cousin the Hudhud, is well regarded all across the Arab Lands and the Wood Pecker, is the dominant in north America, not to mention my extended family in the rain forests of South America and throughout Asia. Can’t you see my erectile crest, the symbol of historical power and greatness…are you blind, or what. I am entitled to life’s bounty, never mind, your wants, and needs, for you are as insignificant as the smallest creature.
Wooly Worm began to lose his grip on the situation, but, while Jaybird was singing his own self induced praises, worm, made a very calculated, very shrewd move, or squirmy diplomatic course correction. For the sake of your health and wellness, and for the sake of preserving your historical longevity for future generation to come, I ask you not to eat me, however, if you should insist on committing this heinous act in clear daylight under God, then, be it,
I am ready and willing to sacrifice my life for the benefit of others, I believe in the new “world order,” I also believe in your cruel interpretation of “assimilation,” by depriving others of their right to live, so that you can live, this is called “nihilistic” mentality. However, you have to be cognizant of the historical fact that many of your ancestral fathers have met their demise at the hands of my kind of worms, by the sheer fact that you are now standing over me, salivating and can’t wait to devour me, and yet, the sides of your mouth are becoming so discolored, a shade or two of grey, soon it will change into yellowish ,then red, in short, what you have neglected to the starkly vivid reality, that this velvet protein filled body, is well armed with these sharp and poison filled tips, your bird brain will soon, if not already is becoming very stiff inside your skull, then you will collapse flat on the grass motionless, and, a band of not so very kind worms will begin to feast over your corps. But, as a peace loving member of this earth, I can help you in your healing process, with one condition, that is, to let me complete my journey in life as I know it, otherwise, a very tiny atoms will soon develop into viruses inside your intestine, you will soon become disoriented, helpless, and your little ones up that nest will end up sunny side down inside slithery the snake who’s about to climb up the tree, and as you know, Mrs. Jay will not be pleased when she finds her nest is empty, make it easy on yourself and preserve those beautiful blue feathers, moreover, don’t deprive your little ones of your love. This is a win win offer you win, and I win.

Well done, I was literally frozen still in my place, but, was delighted to stand in witness of an encounter of a life time, for the moment at least, it appeared to me that the worm is winning this confrontation,…a stand of courage and keen perception, but the insignificant worm knew deep down, that there is a time for everything, and so, he was buying time until the next move, but, he had no contingency plan up his sleeves, no plan B, if and when, plan A becomes unsuccessful.

Being flat down to the ground, gave the worm a strategic advantage over the bird, he began to see some unusual movement of the grass behind the bird, yet the bird, was chanting a song of love and joy to all, for he is about to have a birds delicacy, or what is comparable to caviar to humans, little did he know that Fatso, the Cat was about to make his moves, what an exquisite corps, Fat Cat declared, will you look at those legs, this will sure be my midday gourmet, to tide me over…until something else comes along. Fat Cat, was never that fat at all, in fact, he was very thin, very scrawny, he always was a follower, not a leader, always doing the dirty work for the real Fat Cats of our city, and cities and towns east of us, then when all the fat cats fill their bellies, he will have his feast on what’s left, the crumbs, and fragments of bones, such is the life of the scavengers…
His father was a scavenger long before he was born, but, like his father before him, he knew the ins and outs of the whole operations of all the fat cats, and he became dedicated subscriber to “trickle down economics” he graduated from the citadels of higher learning, sidewalk college of the humanities, and the institute of waste management, and so he earned his PhD, “Corner” University, don’t you know…! Cornell University was not good enough for him.
You have to hand it to the fat cat, he was always down to earth, an avid hunter, this is why he struck out on his own in search of a better life, he even attended self improvement, lectures and workshops. Just like his masters.
Gradually the fat cat moved ever slow …closer and closer to the Jaybird, who is still going at it, praising God with his song, for the food he is about to devour, never mind the fact that he was amongst the nonbelievers a day or so ago,. Fat cat pounced just as the bird reached down to pick the worm with his beaks, bird had extended his larynx in a melodious burst of thanks, and so he end up making his ” finale” inside the fat cat’s belly and no standing ovation, no one clapped for an encore.

As always, and as it was the nature of all fat cats, a lick of the whiskers, several cleansing licks of the paws, a burp or two, and the usual bursts of air fragrance, all in appreciation for the good food, you can tell, that fat cat had picked up few signs of good manners. He too began to purr grateful praises and complementing himself on his selection of today’s menu, what a beautiful, bountiful world in which we live, what a glorious day this is, I am happy...happy as can be, you plow the land … and the harvest for me …me me me .
For the fat cats, standing supreme in every back alley, amongst the mountains of trash on every corner of the city, and in the dark places with their imperial attitudes believing that everything is for them to devour, until they discover the inevitable realities of life, sing your faith in what you get to eat right up to the moment you are eaten, for you are going to be eaten one day soon.. Slithery, the snake, in an apparent change of heart, so swiftly coiled his body all over the fat cat… he too began to sing, welcome to my arm fatso … feel no pain…fear no harm…it is the survival of the fittest don’t you see.

Abdlhaimd Ben Hameda

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