Picture This

I was walking in a dreamlike version of our neighborhood. We looked over a low wall into a classic southwestern yard – gravel, brush, weeds – and saw two roadrunners. Then, I noticed two smaller, younger roadrunners, though too big to call chicks. I asked Mer, “Did you see the babies?” I looked again and, now, the two smaller birds were on the back of yet another, medium sized juvenal roadrunner (fifth bird not previously seen). The two smaller birds were stacked 1-2-3 on the back of the third bird (er, fifth bird). All five birds were moving constantly around the yard. As our group moved on down the street, Dr Dave Mehlman, ornithologist, asked me, “Did you get a picture?” From down the block, Mer responded, “I have a camera!” “You have my camera,” I said. She handed it over and I moved quickly back to the roardunner yard. I turned the camera on without first removing the lens cap, which caused the cap to pop off on its own. I looked down at the unnaturally large camera to see a setting I’ve never seen before, like 2 battery terminals lit up. The camera made strange noises and the moment it clicked, I tossed it, sure it was going to blow up in my hands. Instead, the camera bounced slightly as it hit the ground. When I picked the camera up, the arms connecting the absurdly large LCD screen to the camera (on top, instead of at the back) were bent. I straightened the connection out as best I could and returned to the yard.

As I framed a shot of the five roadrunners, they were about to dash around a corner and out of sight. Suddenly, Mer rushed forward with several people. “I brought more people to see,” she said.

At the this point, the roadrunners were gone, replaced by five small mountain lions. One of the three young was aggressively pouncing on the other, smaller cats. I said, “We’ve got to get away. If those lions come over the wall, we’re in trouble.” I was running up some stairs, looking for the best place to hide when I woke up.

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