Military stories from past to present, both wars.

The Birds

January 12th, 2007 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

The five flight students were sitting outside their room on the third deck of the Bachelor Officers Quarters (BOQ) in Corpus Christi, Texas, enjoying some afternoon adult beverages while watching the sun start its’ slow descent to the west. The buzz of the little red and white Navy T-34 trainers in the landing pattern overhead made a racquet every fifteen minutes or so, but that was the sound of freedom. Unlike the shrieking of hundreds of seagulls hanging in the stiff sea breeze just a few feet from the railing of the walkway from the five men.

As they leaned back in their deck chairs, a 6’ 4” former linebacker from Penn State, Adam Bolachek, in his deep baritone voice barked, “These God Damn seagulls are ‘rats with wings’ and crap on my car all the time.” Every one reflected on this true statement for a moment. We also knew of his hatred towards the highly skilled dive-bombing “rats with wings” that assaulted our cars in the parking lot on a daily basis. Once, at the beach, he caught a seagull by looping his fishing line in a circle with the little clip device and catching one by its’ webbed feet. He then let it fly off and would reel it back to him till the bird tired enough to be set free. He, by no means would get hired at P.E.T.A, but I dare a P.E.T.A. member to say anything to him for fear of being squashed…

Adam, whose voice only came in one caliber…loud, then bellowed out, “Hey, anyone ever feed a seagull an Alka-Seltzer tablet? I heard it makes them blow up; something about the gases expanding in their stomachs.” It was a quiet moment as each guy thought about all times they had cleaned the gull’s “poop” off their cars, and soon it became a mad dash into their rooms to search for some tablets. Maybe five minutes later, everyone was on the edge of the railing, tossing tablets at the hungry, hovering birds. They might catch one, but the gulls couldn’t swallow it–too big. They tried breaking the tablets into smaller pieces to feed them. That didn’t work either. The birds never blew up; they were truly “rats with wings” and could eat anything.

Taco Bell remembered his Russian History professor feeding vodka-soaked corn kernels to the pigeons outside his classroom. “Hey guys, what if we tossed them some alcohol-laced pieces of bread?” It was another mad dash to the different rooms looking for bowls, bread and alcohol. Pete Noah had a bottle of 180 proof grain alcohol– true “set-your-throat-on-fire” stuff. Taco had some loaf bread and, loaded with those supplies, the pretty-smashed crew started to have some fun. They rolled the bread into tiny balls and then dipped them into the grain alcohol, followed by a toss into the air towards the hungry birds. The greedy little rats would dive down and attack the balls, swallowing them whole. It was the funniest sight to see when the bird realized that the bread had a chaser to it. They tried to cough it up but to no avail. Only one ball was required to get them drunk off their rockers. Pretty soon, they started to crash into each other, the walls, the lamppost, and the trees; then a bird body count began to amass on the grass below.

Adam then had the bright idea of using his officers’ sword to whack a couple of the birds. Encouraged by the others, Adam hauled back with his sword over his head while Pete stood a couple of feet in front of him and tossed the bread into the air. I’m sure that the beer played a big part in it, but Adam misjudged the birds, and the tip of the sword came down, slicing the front of Pete’s shirt and leaving a nice thin line from mid-chest section to his belly button. Through the haze of the beer and laughter of the others, the realization that this game was dangerous dawned on the group, thus ending that fun.

Adam went to his room to collect a heavy duty trash bag, followed by picking up some of the dead birds on the ground who proved the addage that you shouldn’t drink and fly. After dumping them into the dumpster, they returned to drinking some more beer and watching the poor smocks beating up the landing pattern.

A little later, a grey Navy police pickup truck pulled into the almost near empty lot. An overweight chief got out of his truck, and walked across the white feathers strewn all over the ground and called up to the group on the balcony, “Afternoon Gents. We got a call from someone in the building here that a group of fellas were killing some seagulls. This isn’t true is it?” All five were shaking their heads back and forth like the little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Oh no, Chief, nothing like that happening here,” Adam bellowed back down. The chief looked at all the feathers on the ground, and Pete shouted down, “Don’t mind those feathers, Chief, the birds are molting.”

The Chief looked back up and said, “Well, if you see anyone doing something stupid like that, would you remind them that it’s a $200 dollar fine per bird since they are protected down here in Texas.” He returned to his truck and waved. The group broke out in snickers… “Holy cow, Adam,” Taco said, “go bury those birds out in the sand dunes by the beach, and hope he doesn’t check the dumpster.” As he watched the truck driving out of the parking lot, Adam was now pissed through and through. “Who the hell turned us into the cops??? The only cars in the lot are ours and–wait a second, isn’t that Larry’s truck there?” The words no sooner passed from his lips than Larry’s door opened and closed, and he walked to his truck. He got in and never acknowledged the hellos from the party on the third floor.

They all looked at each other with disgusted expressions and, in unison, said… “Larry!!!!”