Fighting off the Demon Spawn

by Danny Zawacki

In Peace Corps, I learned a valuable lesson during my run to Russia. Okay, well technically it was after we got stopped at the border we were trying to cross illegally wanted to visit and after the border guards told us to get into a van that had just crossed the border and dropped us off at the edge of town. Small details really. Since we were dropped off at the edge of town, we decided to run back to the Peace Corps Volunteer’s place where we were staying. We needed to finish the long run we had planned. In retrospect, it wasn’t a good idea for me as I had a torn IT band I didn’t know about other than the fact that it hurt a lot, but I powered on.

The run took us past some of the local “wildlife”, or rather peoples’ pets, street dogs and cats, and farm animals just roaming the dirt roads. One of the beasts we came across were geese. If you haven’t had a lot of interaction with geese, then you wouldn’t know that they are fierce birds who hiss and bite people. They’ll chase runners too. Well, Brian had run this route before and knew how to deal with them. You clap. It makes the damned birds freeze in place. I’m  not sure if it’s the noise in general or the specific sharp noise that bothers them, but it works.

You might remember that I’m being harassed by red-winged black birds, or demon spawn. They attack me at the farmer’s market and on my lunches and they haunt my dreams. I’ve started getting a very satisfactory vision of me bashing them out of the sky with a wiffle ball bat. It’s the kind of vision where everything slows down and I watch the bird’s whole body crush under the power of the swing. Sadistic? Maybe. Warranted? Yes.

Today, however, I decided that I had had enough. There is one particular demon spawn that guards our work parking lot and I have a scuffle with him daily. He chased me out of the parking lot today during my lunch, but on the way back. I walked tall and proudly through the drive. I saw him swoop into his tree, ready for the attack. Instead of my duck and run, I clapped. And I clapped. And I clapped. Three loud, sharp claps. They scared him. He stayed in his tree, only to chirp hellfire even louder.

As I walked away, he got up and followed. I turned and watched him as he began to swoop towards me. I clapped, he stuttered. I clapped again, and he flew higher. He still escorted and screeched me through his part of the parking lot, but I controlled the ground.

I may have found a way to save myself, and my sanity.