All right, all right, already. I give. Apparently the tale of the portable swan caught your attention. Tugged at your heartstrings. Activated any other cliche you can think of. (And made more than one of you hungry, it seems. I do have the weirdest friends, for which I am ever-grateful.)
Once in a while, I may be given to certain imaginative re-imaginings on this blog. Reality is elusive, after all, and truth is seen in many different lights. However, I swear that every word of the swan story was true. And it certainly brought out creative thoughts by my friends.
Perhaps the swan was, indeed, meant for dinner? I can just see some dad sending his teenager over to the Albertson’s to get a chicken, and the kid being lazy enough to grab the swan as he walked by it. “Really, dad. I got it at the store. They had a special on large white chickens. Leave me alone! (slam).”
My favorite comment: “Swan. The other white meat.” (Hi, Bush.)
Mostly, though, you just wanted to know what happened to it. So once I’d heard your pleas, I decided that I owed you that much, for following my crazy yarns about this Dallas adventure.
So, I switched from PR back to PI. I dusted off my badge, investigator’s license, gun. Grabbed my “go bag” containing wig, baseball cap, two different colored shirts, three old license plates and a screwdriver to swap them with, a flashlight and several tiny video cameras, including one cleverly disguised as an earring.
And I set out to resolve The Case of the Carried Swan.
(For those who missed the previous installment, I saw a guy carrying a big swan down our city streets one night. But it was a better story in the original post. I even got this photo of it, although since it was sleeting and snowing and 9 degrees and I shot it through my windshield, it’s not real good quality. And I have taken much grief over it. But you can, absolutely, positively, see the swan.)
S0 D and I headed off to our nearby lake. I figured this was a good place to start, since swans float. Oh, and because this happened close to there. And because we’d seen swans there before. Sharp PIs put together subtle and tricky clues like that.
The subject was last seen heading westbound on Keller Springs toward the lake, carrying the captive avian, white in color, approximately 4 feet, 4 inches tall, with a medium build and a long beak. Avian appeared to be held under duress, this conclusion reached by the evidence of eyewitness testimony (mine) that it was attempting to snap off the subject’s left ear with that beak.
Investigation began upon approaching the lake, and after discarding of the badge, license and gun. The “go bag” also was left in the car upon my realization that it was broad daylight, warm and that I’d look like a freak wandering around the lake carrying all that stuff.
I hate it when I don’t get to use my cool PI gear.
Or was it? I mean, it was a dark and sleety night. I only saw him for a minute or so. Maybe this was some other swan?
So reconnaissance continued. This involved several trips around the lake, at .62 miles per circuit. Although if you count the various side trips initiated by Chase to sniff other dogs’ pee, grackle poop, a dead fish, an empty Doritos bag and the remnants of a buffalo wing, each lap was more like 4.356 miles long. He also stopped to watch a golden retriever run after a tennis ball and return it to his owner 324 times in a row. Chase’s expression clearly revealed his thoughts: “Why in the world would that dog keep chasing that ball and bringing it back when he’s not on a leash? She’s just going to throw it again. Why doesn’t he just do like I do — run after it, then decide to run off that little rabbit or that fat squirrel or that jabbering jay, all of which are more fun than that boring tennis ball? Plus, I like to see mom’s face get all red, and the exercise is good for her.”
Soon we discovered a reluctant witness, a gutsy dame who obviously had a story to tell. She just needed a little persuading, something this world-weary gumshoe was happy to provide, me and my little fren’. I leaned on her a bit, and she finally caved in, begging me not to send her back to jail. Then she told us the whole sordid story.
It turns out that the swan we saw that day was the male of a pair that had been in that lake for a long time. Swans mate for life, and these two had raised babies year after year. The folks in the senior citizen apartments right there by the lake watched the babies hatch each spring, watched them grow up, watch them fly away to start their own little swan families elsewhere. Our witness lived in the apartments, too, hence her eye for detail.
I guess it wasn’t really that sordid of a story. Damn.
I told her about my swan-on-the-road sighting, and we lamented the possibility that the momma swan was the captive, because the lady hadn’t seen her in a few days.
Uh, oh, I thought. Is this going to have a bad ending? I’m kinda stressed lately, and not in the mood for a bad ending. If I were making a movie, on the DVD I’d have a bunch of those alternate endings, and all of them would end with lollipops, rainbows, cheese and wonder.
We thanked the lady, who continued her exercise stroll. We began walking back to the car, scanning around for the other swan. We were just beginning to get a bad feeling about this when I heard something. It was the lady, who had already smoked us by about 500 yards, yelling and waving her arms. She was pointing to a big marshy bog at the end of the lake.
We ran up there at the speed of light, for at least five steps at least. Then we walked, but we got there eventually. It was the momma swan, sitting on her nest, surrounded by protective marsh grass. They were both there! One of them had to be the bird I’d seen on the road, in the arms of the swan-carrier.
We were very excited, at least for 90 seconds. That’s when Chase saw a nutria and went off into a snarly, snappy, yippy frenzy. (Another elderly lady told us it was a beaver, but I grew up in Louisiana, and I know a swamp rat when I see one.)
So there you go… a happy ending. Like many investigations, the answer isn’t a 100% certainty. But that’s what I’m choosing to believe …. right up there with lollipops, rainbows, cheese and wonder.