I stumbled out of the sleeping porch, rubbing my eyes. Granny spoke before I could even say anything. “It’s them damned coyotes,” she said crankily. “Drinking the moonshine–the thieves!–and from the sounds of it, they got themselves some of the funny weed, too.”
She knew I already knew that. She knew I could see right into their skulls and out through their spirit eyes ever since I was a baby. And since there was no denying the racket of the coyotes, and because she hated my “it don’t come from Jesus!” talent, she pretended that I needed to be told. And I pretended along with her, because I knew it made her feel better.
I walked to the dark window and stood grinning with my back to her, watching the little transparent figures. They were cavorting, which was a new word I learned in school last week, and yipping. Through their eyes I could see explosive rainbows, shimmering cartoony-dogs chasing their own tails and rolling around on the ground, melting into each other. To them the dirt was a great big carpet of scents, like the prairie on overdrive with enormous rabbits and stupid, fat cows lying lazy and unprotected on the grass. Poor cows.
I stifled a giggle while I listened to the tinkling of Granny doing the dishes underneath the flickering bulb light. She humphed. Oops. I didn’t stifle enough. I quietly slipped the latch and walked into the backyard.
One of them noticed me and licked my nose with a flowering tongue, bright purple ears impossibly long. “I LIKE FOOD!” it said in sing-song, ears twisting around my shoulders. The others whooped in joy and echoed him, building a weirdly harmonious symphony of “I LIKE FOOD!” Their paws pounded out the same fast drumbeat, and their noses pointed into the wavering sky. “Food food food FOOD!”
I don’t know why but their silly songs and nonsense yelps made me think of Barney, the big purple dinosaur on kids’ TV. And of course because I thought of him, there he appeared in their midst. The coyotes froze for a second, and then resumed their dancing, and Barney jigged in time to their coyote symphony. Barney liked food, too, or so he claimed. The more they sang about food, the more food piled up around them. Kinda gross, really, since a lot of what coyotes eat is roadkill and dead things, and dinosaurs eat really big, funny-looking roadkill. But through their spirit eyes, it looked like the most delicious morsels, better than ice cream or fried chicken.
(What they think of my fried chicken is a story for another day)
“You stop that laughing!” said Granny shouted sternly through the screen door. “It ain’t funny!” But she stalked off into the living room. Of course it was funny. It was freakin’ hilarious. And I laughed so hard that the coyotes started laughing at my red, wet face and wide eyes and gasping guffaws.
I suppose I shouldn’t have encouraged them while they were “partaking in illegal substances,” as my teachers often said, but honestly, the Pope himself would have laughed himself straight to Hell if he saw this. And he wouldn’t care, probably. Nothing’s illegal to a coyote.
This is otherworldly music of the humorous sort. I love Animal Collective and especially the song that inspired it, “We Tigers.” They’ll be making other appearances on this site, I’m sure. This little Animal Collective \”We Tigers\” fan video amused me greatly.