Wet Feathers

"Sorry about the crow 
in your martini.
He got in here yesterday,
and we haven't
been able 
to get him out.
I know how
wet feathers can
foul a drink.
They get wet, they 
stink up the whole damn bar.

"Crows? No, not all year. 
Just during
Special Sessions -- the UN, you know. 
The worst time is when the 
President comes up 
from Washington. Heads of State
gatherings are worst; the worst!  We get
more strange birds in here then."

"Besides crows?
Swallows, painted buntings...and those yellow ones.... 'Fred, what are those
the yellow-bellied and speckled-wing ones called again...smaller than
Meadowlarks...western variety. We get
Audubon people, come here sometimes. You just don't
see your western variety on the East Coast."

"The square hole above the window? That's for the bats. We can't help it if
crows get during the day.... No, you can't do that to bats. No, you really
Hey, I'm sorry about that crow in your drink, but we
are across from the UN. Bats 
are our friends. The mosquitos would eat us alive.... This is an island we're
living on here.
You never heard about any of this.... What am I the New York Times...? You
never noticed all those square holes in buildings? You've been coming here
for years! Some bars like to make them look like windows, but basically
we've got square holes for the  bats."

"Listen, the manager sets the bat policy. I just tend bar. You want to talk to
him, talk to him. He 's over there in the corner. Yeah, yeah.... Way over in
those dark shadows. He's fond of bats, I gotta tell you. Spiders.... All that
stuff. He's 
all right.... He's dressed  in black, that's why you can't see him. Go on.... 
"Well, I'll say this, you don't like it here, go across the street.
But they got bats too.... Crows? Yes, they've got crows. I'm
trying to tell you, buddy. We all got bats. They're harmless. Do you see any
bats? Are they bothering you? Crows now 
that's a different story?  There is a crow problem this time year. They're in
special session over there! 
Hey, you did order a martini. What can I tell you. Crows like 'em. You don't
see anybody else drinking martinis in crow season. Take a look.
You see. Crows stay away from gimlets and tequila sunrises -- won't touch a
pink lady. Never seen 'em land in a cape cod or a sea breeze, something
about cranberry juice getting on their feathers."

"I didn't warn you? You ordered a martini!  I figured you knew. There is
always a chance a crow is going to land in one.
Hell, sometimes they don't, you just never know. 
We got one woman comes in, a regular, says 'I've been drinking martinis since
WW II. I won't give up cause of a few crows and ravens.' 
That's what she says. 
Ravens? That big one there is raven for sure. It's hard to tell them apart.
I think it was a raven got your martini. Hell they may all be ravens, I don't
know, we just call them crows...simpler.
"You thought it said something to you? I'm not surprised. Guys think Poe made
up that 'Nevermore' story. Unhuh. It's not imagination. Poets, they're like
cameras, just write down what they see.... People think they make it up. I
know, we got a lot of poets come in here -- work as commodities brokers,
diplomats, cops. 
Listen, four or five drinks -- and the poetry you hear! Slurred maybe, but...

"But anyway like I say sometimes she gets a crow in her martini, sometimes
she doesn't. There's hasn't been a single crow dipping in that second martini I
made you."

Damn. Sorry, Buddy.

Stephen Williamson