a chilling tale of home invasion
I guess I’ll start with a quickie update
It’s been nearly six months since Burn It All Down came out, and the experience (despite its pandemicky nature) has been such a gift. I’ve gotten to talk about my work on the radio and in podcasts and at various Zoom events (you can catch the recordings here), I made an in-person appearance at my undergrad alma mater (which you can read about here), and generally it’s been so validating to finally see my name on bookstore shelves around the country. These are milestones that so many of us writers dream of, and I don’t take them for granted!
Here’s a picture of me signing books during a Barnes & Noble pit stop whilst en route to the golf course (hence the getup) a few months ago!
It’s all because of readers and subscribers like you that the book continues to find its audience, so thank you! I’m eternally grateful for every purchase, library check-out, and online review.
In addition to promoting Burn, I spent most of my summer deep in the writing cave, and I’m SO excited about the book that resulted from it. I hope to be able to share more on that (and other things!) soon, but in the meantime:
let me tell you about this fucking bird
The real reason I had to send out a newsletter today is because I’m still recovering from a harrowing experience that occurred last weekend, and I don’t think I’ll be able to move on until I exorcise the demon in writing.
So! It was a quiet Saturday evening, just after dark. I was watching trashy TV in the living room while my love (Graig) watched college football in the basement. I needed a lil’ snacky-poo, so I threw some leftover chili in the microwave.
Right after I hit the start button, Graig came running up the stairs from the basement and made a beeline to the front door.
I was like, “What’s going on?” and he was like, “Amazon says my package was delivered,” and I was going to be like, “Oh… I already retrieved that package earlier. It’s right here on the bench!”
But before I could get a word in, Graig swung the front door wide open —
and a WINGED fucking CREATURE immediately flew its flappy ass DIRECTLY into our FOYER.
Obviously, I shrieked.
And then the fucker flew some more! But not back out the front door! Instead it flew deeper into our home. Straight through the hallway, toward the open-concept dining/kitchen/living area. Flap-flap-FLAPPING its diseased DNA all over the place. I will never forget the sound of those wings flapping around inside!!! So loud and unnatural. Pure avian terrorism.
And the bitch was fast. We couldn’t even get a good look to see if we were dealing with a bird or a bat at first. As the survivor of a home bat invasion when I was a small child, I was doubly triggered. (Although that experience was traumatic less because of the bat itself and more because a cop randomly showed up to help and FOR SOME GODDAMN REASON I decided to sneak up on him mid-bat-search and flash him… and then he immediately scurried away, mortified… thereby giving me a lifelong complex… but that’s a story for another newsletter!)
Graig and I were paralyzed in the hallway for several minutes, terrified of turning the corner into the main living space, lest we get viciously attacked.
My shrieking intensified with every wing-flap.
Graig can typically be counted on to provide a sense of calm and strength in the face of distress… but not this time! Instead he was just as rattled as me and tried to finagle his way back to the basement so the bird would be all my problem. He also kept making highly counterproductive references to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film The Birds.
Eventually the flapping stopped and it got eerily quiet. Then the microwave beeped and Graig was like, “Your chili’s ready,” which was also highly counterproductive.
After a few more moments of silence, I decided to run out through the garage, around the house, to the the back sliding doors. I figured if I opened them from the outside, perhaps the bird-or-bat would have the decency to leave on its own.
It was from this vantage point that I finally caught a glimpse of it — a confirmed bird — a little bitch ass finch — just trembling on the floor under our dining room table. It was clearly frightened. So heartbreaking! For me, I mean. Everyone knows that scared birds are massive shit-takers, and I had literally just cleaned the house earlier that day.
The ensuing half-hour was pure chaos. Graig tried to wield a Swiffer Extender duster to guide the bird toward the back doors, but that just made it fly around in every OTHER direction. Flap-flap-flapping and shit-shit-shitting all over our pristine kitchen. Grotesque!
It spent quite a bit of time perched atop our cabinets, close to the ceiling. Then it became obsessed with this one recessed light that it must have decided was an exit. Literally flew into the thing like six times. Then it fluttered down and landed on a countertop, right next to a three-wick Bath & Body Works candle (Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, natch). And of course all three wicks were lit! So then I had to worry about the bird flying into THAT and then onto some piece of furniture — WINGS AFLAME — and burning the entire house down.
When I tell you I couldn’t breathe.
Eventually I called my dad to see if he’d ever dealt with a bird in the house, and he was like, “Nope, I wasn’t even home when the bat got in that one time,” and I was like, “YES, I REMEMBER THAT NIGHT VIVIDLY.”
But thankfully he did come up with the genius idea to use a towel as a net-like device. So then Graig fearlessly grabbed a towel, swatted at the bird until it flew down and landed on the floor, threw the towel directly over it, and BOOM! It was trapped.
The only problem was that a lamp power cord had somehow also gotten caught up in the towel amid all the chaos, so Graig had to literally unplug the lamp and carry it outside with the wrapped-up bird.
But it worked! He unfurled the bird-lamp-towel bundle several feet away from the house, and the f(b)inch quickly flapped away into the night.
I spent the next hour meticulously scrubbing every bird-exposed inch of our living space. (There was indeed shit everywhere! A crime scene.) I even got out a ladder and cleaned the tops of our cabinets, and you know what? They needed a good wiping anyway. Those Swiffer Extender dusters can only do so much.
Then I poured myself a craft beer and yelled at Graig for opening the front door in the first place, BECAUSE I HAD ALREADY RETRIEVED THE PACKAGE EARLIER. IT WAS RIGHT THERE ON THE FUCKING BENCH!!!
thank you for reading
If you enjoyed this, please feel free to recommend it to a friend. If you hated it, then I’m sorry but are you a bird?