— Michael Yazel
Artist & blogger
North Central Indiana
On this cold, dark autumn morning as a distant rooster shook the sleep from his bloodshot eyes only seconds before trumpeting the dawn’s first “cock-a-doodle-do,” I confirmed on those carport steps that community rumor about me is sheer myth.
I am not a heartless demon after all. I am not even mean-spirited. Admittedly, my lean slants to the ways of an aging curmudgeon, but I am not dastardly. I am, in fact, one of the good guys ... because I have had the pink flamingoes in my front yard to prove it.
Yes, I have been flocked. Flamingo Flocked. And Deep Flock had cautioned me earlier “... even good people get flocked.” She called us “collateral damage.”
So I guess my flocking makes me “good people.”
I have written about this seasonal Volley for a Cure craze for the past two weeks, perhaps to the point of pinking out some readers. But borrowing upon the wisdom of Granddaddy Norton back on the farm, “Boy, if the cow’s got milk, milk it. And if there’s too much, just get a bigger bucket.”
Today’s third visit is my bigger bucket.
Believing the waters of journalism to be a safe outlet for self-expression, I have delved into this dark world of pinkdom without restraint. I have even conducted an exclusive interview with one who knows the undiluted and sordid truth behind the Flamingo Flock. She called herself Deep Flock.
My first mistake was trusting her.
My second mistake was writing her story.
My third mistake was mistaking her for a lady ... because on this frosty October morn, it actually happened. I was flocked. Whether it was her doing, I cannot say.
Here’s my story. Believe what you will, but for you nonbelievers, believe this. It can happen to you.
At 6:03 a.m. on this Friday morn, I stepped out onto the carport steps headed for work. The air was still. All was quiet, save the shrill cry from the lonesome red rooster from some farm afar. I assumed he was red. Many are. But at 6:03 in the morning, it doesn’t really matter.
With a Friday bounce to my pre-dawn step, I had the weekend on my mind when the corner of one eye — the right eye, I believe — noticed a difference in the subdued street lighting at the end of the driveway. Something was wrong, something quite extraordinary.
I saw strange humps. These were pink humps. At this odd hour, pink humps in the distant night are unacceptable because they are mysterious and ... well, because they are humps and they are pink.
As a homeowner, my curiosity overcame all interest in work. So I stepped slowly down the driveway, my eyes focused on pink humps. With each step, another pink hump appeared. And then another. Halfway down the concrete walk, as many as a dozen pink humps tested my vision. The numbers kept growing.
Upon reaching journey’s end, and now under better lighting from the street, I grasped reality.
“I’ve been flocked!” I said aloud. “Ahhhhhh!”
Looking around to assure no strangers lurked in darkened corners, I exploded in laughter. It was a loud laugh. In almost six decades, it was the first time I had ever laughed at this hour. Even the distant red rooster was likely looking my way. I hoped my outburst had not awakened my wife, nor the neighborhood.
But my cackle ended with the realization these might not be ordinary pink flamingoes. Could be my antagonists had planted assault flamingoes. I had heard such rumors in tales past.
Feeling a tremble in my left leg, and then the right, I took one step back, and then a second. But my gaze never left these pink birds of prey. Scanning their numbers, I fearfully counted twentysomething. Might have been more. Could have been a hundred. When dealing with stark pink terror on two legs, and which are anchored by razor-sharp beaks, numbers don’t matter. One can maim. One hundred can do it quickly.
My backward step continued ever slowly. In mind, they were a pack of hungry lions ... hungry, pink lions. I was their lamb.
Something moved to the left, followed by a motion to the right. My head jerked from left to right, then from right to left. My heart pounded. My knees grew weak. These were not the innocents of lighthearted, pink surprise. These were the nightmares of my youth.
With a gasp, an unmanly shriek and a sudden love for life, my feet turned in their shoes — an awkward moment for ankles — and I fled for the carport steps where the kitchen door, and safety, awaited.
Jesse Owens, I am not. But Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson and Usain Bolt would have been proud.
I glanced over one shoulder — the left — upon entering the house. No further approach by the pink monsters. Their intent was just to scare, so I assumed. Yet never had I been so happy to be inside.
I now dream in pink. And sometimes I cry out in the night, and not to my wife’s amusement.
But this is the world of the Flamingo Flock. It is reality in pink.
One day I will learn who was responsible for this late-night act, and why.
Such is the innate mystery behind this craze. Some call it a fear of the unknown.