Fly on Wall-The Jackson Family Makes Its Plan;Baby Bird Season; Pic of Week
The Jackson Family Meets and Makes Their Plan
"Mama, get me a another beer, would you?"
Tito's mother stopped in mid-stride, turned around and fetched a beer from the fridge as her son instructed. It was nice to have the whole family together again. Too bad Michael was still feeling so poorly.
Mrs. Jackson set the beer down in front of Tito and assumed a chair next to her husband.
"How is he?" La Toya whispered.
Tito took a long swill of beer and shrugged.
"He's been looking better. We're still giving him that high protein drink the doctor suggested. All he does is watch "Nick at Night" TV re-runs and stare out the window."
Another Jackson brother reached across the table, pulled the pizza box close, opened the box and pulled out a slice of the now cold pizza. A fly had landed on the pizza and the Jackson brother shooed it away with annoyance.
"Well if he doesn't start coming around he certainly isn't going to be able to go on no Victory Tour," the Jackson brother said, then chomped down on the pizza. The fly that had been shooed off from its pizza feast flew over to a sideboard and sat quietly, rubbing its antennae and cleaning its wings in the warmth of a sunbeam.
"Tito do you really think the idea of a victory tour is such a good ...,"
"Damn it, Mama," Papa Jackson shouted, banging his fist on the table to startle everyone. Even the fly on the sideboard jumped from the noise.
"We've been over this time and time again," Papa Jackson said, this time his voice a bit calmer. His wife, having been interrupted from once again expressing her concern over the family's plans to rebuild Michael's future. And his career.
"Mama," Tito said softly, then leaned across the table and took his mother's hand in his. "The fans love Michael. They won't be insulted. They're happy he was found not guilty. If we don't spring on a "Not Guilty Victory Tour" now they're won't be another chance."
Mama Jackson sniffed and pulled her hand from under Tito's.
"No," she said softly. "They'll never be another chance at a ‘not guilty' tour. Because the next time he'll be found guilty."
"Damn it, Mama," Papa Jackson shouted again. He slammed his fist on the table. This time he wanted to slam his fist into his stubborn wife's face. "There isn't a prosecutor in America who would dare to try and take Michael to trial again. We've got a good thing here." Papa Jackson stopped his tirade when he noticed the tears welling in his wife's eyes.
"Look," Papa Jackson addressed his wife softly, "Michael's going to bounce back, you'll see. He had a good scare with that trial. When he understands that there won't be any more trials he'll be dancing and singing again. We'll still be living the good life."
"No more boys?" Mama Jackson asked in a soft whisper.
All around the table eyes met over the head of the family matriarch. This was going to be difficult to handle. Tito got up from his chair and walked around the table. He got down on his knees so he could meet his mother's eyes directly.
"Mama, we'll use the most discretion possible," Tito said. His mother sobbed in response and shook her head no. "Now Mama, we all know about Michael's ‘problem'. We've known it for years. And we all handled it discretely and perfectly. It was only when Michael went and hired that outside security firm and that European management firm that things went to hell."
Tito stopped for a moment to let his mother absorb his words.
"We handled Michael's affairs just fine, Mama. Michael had a few people whisper nasty words about his family and take away his trust. But those people weren't there every day for his trial, were they Mama? WE were there for Michael's trial. His family. Mama, Michael understands this now. He did fire all those people, Mama. We're back in charge."
"But the boys," Mama Jackson murmured. "He could go to jail. It would kill Michael to go to jail."
Mama Jackson looked around the room and was startled by the sudden notion that not another soul at that table loved Michael like she did. Papa Jackson was about to slam his fist on the table again at his wife's insistence that Michael might go to jail. Tito shot his father a glare that warned him not to make a ruckus.
"First, Mama, there's not going to be any boys again for a long time," Tito told his mother. He shifted his position to assumed a more comfortable stance and addressed his mother again. "But we all know that someday it might," here Tito paused and pondered the correct word, "become a problem again," Tito finished.
"But Mama we'll deal with it," Tito continued. "We'll deal with it like we've always dealt with it. This last kid, Mama, we picked the perfect one. Whole family's a nut case. And we were right, Mama. No one believed that pack of white niggers. Sure, it was scarey for a while. But now, Mama, we don't have to worry anymore. Now, if we can get Michael well again, we can capitalize on this case and get Michael back out on the road. Soon he'll have number one hits and his loyal fans will be rocking the concert halls. And if Michael gets a wandering eye again, well we'll scout him out a kid just like the last one. "
Tito looked closely into his mother's guarded eyes. He thought he saw acceptance so he continued his careful explanation.
"Mama, those kids don't suffer any. We all know Michael would never hurt those kids. And God knows we give them everything. Toys, trips, a playhouse mansion. Michael really loves those boys, Mama. He really loves them. It might be the first love some of these boys have ever known. The boys get all of this for just a gentle fondle once in a while. Mama, we keep a close eye on Michael. We make sure nothing really bad happens. Mama, no one deserves to go to jail for something as sweet as that and Mama, that jury knew it. It was win-win. The kid wins, Michael wins."
Tito stood up and walked back to his seat.
"We all win, Mama," Tito said, taking a long swing of his warming beer. "We all win because if any one of us had to actually get a job there ain't a damn thing anyone of us can do. Mama, you're getting too old to be worrying about money. We have a public relations coup here, Mama. America loves Michael, Mama. "
Tito finished the last of the beer and toss the empty can into a nearby can. The noise from the action caused the fly on the sideboard to fly off.
"They'll welcome the "Michael Jackson Not Guilty Victory Tour" with open arms. Then we'll have Michael back in the saddle and we'll all be able to breath a bit easier."
Tito's last statement was the last thing the fly heard as he exited through the crack in the kitchen door, the same place it came in earlier.
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Bird Children and Painted Decks
The deck, it was decided, needed painting.
A decision based on the ominous way certain planks jutted into the air and the appearance of strange wood splinters all about.
Thus it was with paintbrush, roller, sander and paint can in hand that I found myself many of those early June mornings.
The deck is also home to the many birdfeeders hanging upon. Birdfeeders that had to moved and shuffled about that the waterproof stain could be applied and properly do its job.
The birds, may they forever forgive me, were distressed by the move.
Although after a while and no mind the sweating lady moving some object up and down over the wood of the deck, they flew in to partake of the offerings of the misplaced feeders.
In some cases this made their flight path directly over and very near, my human head. Startling me at times to Lucille Ball screams over the titmouse whose feathers brushed against my face.
Over the period of the week that had me painting every corner and crevice of the deck (did you know that every damn piece of wood, no matter how small, has FOUR sides? Every damn one of them.) the finches, chickadees, titmouses, yea even the shy cardinals were flying in for seed, ignoring my human self after time and observation had their avian selves determine me not a threat.
They taught their children this as well. Thus I was treated to the cutest of bird sights only a backyard birder could ever enjoy.
The finch family would fly in earlier in the morn. The youngster finches were instructed to stay safely within the leafy branches of a nearby tree by their anxious parents. The parents would then fly in to the big green feeder to grab a seed.
I’d deliberately not re-filled the feeders this deck painting week as sunflower seeds and deck stain don’t go all that well together. The green feeder is a huge affair that holds a couple pounds of seed. That feeder was left alone as it was out of the way from the painting. It was still full of the beloved sunflower seed and the birds continued to use that feeder even while emitting sharp chickadee scolds and curses because of my presence.
The finch parents would peek around the sides of the feeder to ascertain just where I was. I’d peek right back at them, a big smile on my face that, nany nany boo boo, they had to fly near and around me to get the seed. They’d see my big grinning face, grab a seed and fly back to their children.
Who, every one them, raised a ruckus in their excitement for the peeled seed about to come to them from their parents.
The young titmouses have a baby sound like tiny raspy sawmills. At times the tree was filled with these youngsters, all of them rasping for seed from parents frantically trying to deliver while dealing with the lady human right in the thick of things.
At other times the chickadees and their children flew in. Those young birds emit a sharp high-pitched sound to demand seed food from their parents.
So it was all day. A delight despite the errant hulls spoiling the paint, to this bird lover who got to be right in the middle of the bird families as they made their bird feeder forays.
I would often have to stop, stain dripping paint brush in hand, to watch the activities of the current visitors. The children birds flitted all about the tree canopy as parents flew in for a seed. I had a bird’s eye view, forgive the pun, of the wing shaking baby bird as the parents placed the properly peeled seed into their endless open maws.
In late evening the cardinal family would stop by. Normally a very shy bird, after a few days of warily eyeing my painting presence, they too threw caution to the wind and flew in. Cardinals, unlike the chickadees and titmouses, like to sit at the feeders and munch on seed. Thus at one point I had both mom and dad cardinal sitting on the big green feeder, both enjoying a break from the children, both happily peeling seed and dropping it into my wet paint, no care at all for my human presence.
At one point I put my hands on my hips and determined I might have to take down that big green feeder after all.
Then a flock of titmouses and chickadees flew in. It was chaos in the tree canopy as the children flitted about anxiously awaiting their parents.
Within one foot of my nose the parents flew in, grabbed a seed then flew back to the bird child awaiting the food. I’d look up and saw it all, the parent feeding the baby, the bird children’s twittering wings and open, eager beaks.
No, I decided, smiling at all the bird activity I was seeing so up close and personal.
Besides it’s no big deal to scrape a sunflower hull out of drying deck stain.