This morning I peeked outside my front door to see if UPS had left me a package. They hadn’t, but there was something else waiting for me on my cheery welcome mat. Something fairly shocking, in fact. If you frighten easily, you may not want to look, but here’s what I found:
Yep, that’s a dead dove.
I was expecting shoes.
My first thought was, “Oh, my God! That’s so symbolic! It’s like Peace just bit the big one! A true parable for these modern times!”
My second thought wasn’t quite as poetic.
I quickly texted my husband Chris who was upstairs in his office. “Please come down ASAP! There’s been a MURDER! A MURDER! Also, did you eat the last ice cream bar?”
He flung open his door and flew down the stairs so fast we almost had a second mortality that needed chalking. Then he looked at the feathered corpse outside our door and deeply sighed. “Well, that was obviously put there by someone. Who’d you piss off this time?”
“What? Why do think this this is my fault?” I yelped. “Do you really think I have enemies? Do you really think someone hates me?”
Oh, yeah. He got me there. Jesus does hates me. A lot.
Of course, I’m not talking about the Barry Gibb version of Jesus. The one from the Bible, churches and Justin Bieber’s tattoo. No, my Jesus looks more like Luis Guzman and drives a truck with lawn care equipment in the back. He also pronounces his name “Hay-Soos” and thinks I owe him money. The last bill he sent me had “Past Due” stamped on it so many times, the Unabomber would have said, “Dude, get a grip.” Plus he’s left me plenty of voicemails with him yelling, “I want my money, you lady!” over the sound of angry weed whackers. There’s a slight chance someone may have sniffed a little too much fertilizer over the years.
But honestly, was this dead dove really a message from Jesus? Like some New Testament gardener’s version of the burning bush? (Note: My apologies to any bible scholars for that last sentence. Please don’t send me emails.)
“Listen,” I told Chris as I picked up the poor little creature with my rubber-gloved hands and put him in a trash bag, “I really, really don’t think I owe Jesus any money. I invited him to come over and discuss the bill with me like an adult, but he’s acting sooo immature. That’s why I’m not going to pay the big dummy. Neener.”
“Well, how much does he think you owe him? How much are you feuding over? A few hundred?”
“No, twelve bucks. And ten cents.”
At this point, Chris stomped back up to his office to sign up for Match.com and I grudgingly went to my desk to write out a $12.10 check. I still didn’t think I owed it to Jesus, but figured at this point, I should just end the whole thing. After all, today it was a bird. Tomorrow I might find a rabid armadillo with a Sicilian necktie on the next pillow.
As I walked out to the curb to mail the check, I was still in quite a bit of shock. This whole thing was really very disturbing. A dead bird on my front step? A threatening message? Should I call the police and report it? Hire an alarm service? Dust off my Tae-Bo tapes in case Jesus wanted to settle this mano a mano? At any rate, it looked like my former gardener and his rather odd scare tactics had triumphed. I slowly opened up the mailbox and put his measly, hard won check inside.
And that’s the exact moment that I saw Buttercup, the big, fat yellow cat from across the street, heading over to my neighbor’s house where she gingerly placed a dead bird right outside their front door.
Like they say, Jesus works in mysterious ways.
But apparently, so does Buttercup.