The Uninvited Guests

 By Jane Chang Chen (7/9/03)

Foot steps! I heard footsteps on the roof above my bedroom. Not one, but several, chasing from one end to the other. I jumped out of bed. Must be the roofers to fix the leak my builder promised, I thought. I went to another bedroom overlooking the driveway. Strange! There was no sight of the roofer’s truck. Maybe he parked on the street. I went to the front room and peeked through the blinds. No, no trucks or cars parking there either. Oh, please, please don’t let the aliens from the movie SIGNS racing on my roof! Do I need to get a bucket of water?

Thud! Another noise from my bedroom balcony! I snuck back into my bedroom, cracking the blinds open with my right index finger and thumb. Under the morning sun I faced a sharp black eye of a blue peacock. His shining blue neck twisted, his blue crown feathers raised, his long tail train decorated with colorful eyes spread all the way to the balcony floor as his spurs grabbed tightly on the metal railing. “Auwooo---Auwooo” he called.  Strayed from the Arboretum again, eh? Where are your accomplices, chasing on my roof and scared me to death? I ought to take a picture of you. I took out my Olympus Stylus Zoom 140, through the glass French door and SNAP! Blinded by the flashlight, he took a step back and cocked his head at an angle of distrust. I opened the door slowly but stuck my camera quickly out and SNAP! He flapped his wings, “Auwooo---Auwooo” and flew away.

I ran downstairs out to the backyard. All the Pansy flowers my gardener planted were gone. On the patio, KISS shaped and colored peafowl droppings scattered around like an empty ballroom after a banquet. I grabbed a broom and SWOOSH!  Sent them to the lawn. I blame this on Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin, who imported peafowl from India to his Rancho Santa Anita about one hundred years ago. Baldwin, the first mayor of Arcadia had long gone. His Rancho Santa Anita became the LA Arboretum but his peafowl offspring are still roaming this area. They are the city birds proudly presented on the street signs around the city roads.  On the other hand, they are city pests that damaged the roofs, the vegetation, and the landscaping. Peafowl droppings discolored the buildings, the automobiles, and the driveways. Nevertheless, they are good companions and exotic to the visitors.

“Auwoo---Auwoo”, here he came, along with three smaller brown feathered peahens. All right then, I give up. You have a family to feed. Just be my guests! I sighed and went inside, almost forgot that I was still in my pajamas.