Clara on Highway 11Published 4:25pm Thursday, June 28, 2012
“There’s a goose wandering down the middle of Highway 11,” I announced to Paul upon returning from the gas station.
“And this effects me… how?” he replied from the sofa, staring intently towards the NBA play-offs.
Giving every indication of being completely nonchalant, I opened the fridge to retrieve my favorite fruit, a black plum, and said over my shoulder, “Well, it’s going to get run over.”
There was no answer save the din of the ball game so I tried once more.
“I might drive back over after awhile and see if it’s still there.”
“You do that.”
“You know, just to see.”
“But,” I said, leaning with practicality over the sink as I took my first bite of plum so as to let the juice drip where it may. “If it’s there, I’m gonna need some help.”
“Here we go,” said Paul, putting his head in his hands. “For what? To shoo it back off the road?”
“She’s going to get run over!” I persisted. “They’re not the smartest animals. Clearly she’s lost or been dumped or something. I mean, no goose walks down the middle of a state highway on purpose.”
I couldn’t blame Paul for his resistance, really. He’d been working awfully hard outside mowing and weeding, and after all, who wants to go out goose wrangling after you’ve just showered and cooled off and turned on the tube to catch the last of the game you’d wanted to watch.
“Well, why do I have to come?”
“To drive!” I said, exasperated. “Do you have any idea how big geese are? It would be incredibly dangerous to drive with an unrestrained bird.”
“Yeah,” Paul muttered, rising stiffly to his feet. “She might start texting or something. And how do you know it’s a ‘she’?’”
“She’s got a little head.” I replied, giving the width and breadth of all my knowledge of geese within one sentence. “The males have a big knob on their head at the beginning of their beak. Like Karl Malden.”
We were but a few minutes down the road when I spotted the goose, now off the road but sitting in the parking lot next to the window of an abandoned building, finding solace with her reflection. Paul parked the truck, I told him to block her escape to the west side as I moved. tentatively towards her, speaking in low, soothing tones. She was having none of it and made a lunge for a fence but was restricted owing to the span of her wings.