(c) Kevin Crosby

Animal Experiences

I've had many amazing animal experiences during the course of my life. After relaying some of these to one online buddy, he told me I must be the reincarnation of Saint Francis of Assisi.

One of my first memories is a mint bush on the side of our house completely covered in young grasshoppers. It grossed me out that they used vomit as a protective response when captured. I seem to remember another mint bush at a neighbor's place that wasn't infested. As for insect vomit, I do love the Mount Rainier fireweed honey.

At another house our neighbors hired an exterminator, and their pests decided to invade our kitchen in retreat. Cockroaches were everywhere scary, flying around and all that. It was like a scene out of some horror movie.

My sister and I were ordered to be exterminators and we went to work with shoes and sprays. While my lungs seemed to handle the cloud of pesticides, my much older sister went choking to the back door.

I wrote about the experience for a national children's contest and several homes later and in a different state I received in the mail their award for my "Cockroach Night" poem.

At another house there was a season when tons of crickets had infested the citrus groves for days, but then one evening there was no chirping apparently due to spraying. As a sign from God(s)?, there was this strange scratching sound on my brother's window that night freaking me out: a praying mantis was on the screen trying to come in from the slaughter. Today all of the orange, grapefruit, and surely lime trees have been replaced with tract housing and a highway.

Also at that house in California, I approached a spider in the back yard and it suddenly expanded to twice its size. I freaked a little at first but then realized it was scores of babies that evacuated from the parent wolf spider's back.

The frogs there seemed to be confounded by the skimmer on the side of our swimming pool. I'd released them elsewhere, but they just kept coming back.

Another time there I turned over a board to find a coven of deadly black widows. I ran and grabbed our staple gun and went to work on them.

Somehow a rattlesnake had found its way into my bathtub when the house was being built. That was never a pleasant thought.

In a different neighborhood in Washington I was riding my bike when a butterfly landed on my handlebars. I was wholly amazed by that kind of airborne maneuverability. I love when Bart from the hugely popular animated television series The Simpsons says, "No one ever suspects the butterfly."

I had a cat there too who ran away. One day I got home from school and for some strange reason my mom was home telling me the cat came back. She rushes me into the laundry room and just as I entered my cat decided it was finally time to start birthing her litter.

I remember I loved that musky scent; my mom didn't. It really makes me want to study what biological and environmental factors are involved in personal preferences regarding the odor of birth.

My cat ended up running off again, taking the kitten we didn't give away, but not without making sure I saw them go. They headed off in the direction of the nearby horse stables so I really couldn't protest.

My best friend had adopted one of her kittens, and early rough play turned that cat into a terror. One day I was in my backyard and saw what looked like a mouse jumping up in the air; upon closer inspection it was his cat on the backside of a rise tossing around the rodent.

There was this boxer dog that roamed our neighborhood stealing golf balls. One day it followed my best friend's weiner dog home and the moment they stepped into the garage my friend's dog started growling and his cat raced from up high on top of the cabinets to a whirling ball of claws right onto the boxer's face from a final leap of more than three feet. That dog had no clue what hit him and fled post haste.

I adopted another cat who decided to join us for dinner one evening. While we had our meal indoors, she sat on the stoop making work of a mouse. I took a break from the table and watched her eat everything but this one brown organ.

She also caught a bird once and chose under my car in the garage as her location to pluck and munch down that fowl with instinctual greed. She made it audibly apparent that she didn't want any company while devouring her rare prize.

One day I went to the garage to sharpen a pencil and she was lying down just outside in the driveway. I had no idea that she had been attacked by a dog. Why don't animals besides sheeple voice their pain more?

I heard a catfight one time and opened the door to see what was happening. Some strange feline darted from the yard right past me and through the house to under my sister's bed where it decided to vacate its bowels. It was funny how my sister overreacted to the cat's behavior.

I bought a pellet gun and started hunting birds, something today I so wholly regret. One homeowner told me to feel free and shoot the starlings, calling them pests. I think it was that particular house that I heard baby starlings crying like human children screaming "No!" and "Stop!" outside the upstairs window from their nest.

I mention the crying starlings in my song "Conspiracy! (1984)" on my MySpace profile. I've since learned that starlings are excellent mimics, possibly the best of birds in what they're capable of repeating.

One day I shot a small bird but didn't think I actually hit it despite it fluttering to the ground from its majestic perch. My friend profers, "Maybe you just blew its beak off." I actually had! My friend quickly put a bunch of bb rounds into it to put it out of its misery.

I so regret all the killing I did growing up.

When I was going to high school in Germany I arrived home from school one day to discover that an ant colony suddenly living in our kitchen balcony's door jam had discovered my breakfast cereal and were making away with what they could from the cabinet back to their nest.

I took the spray to them, and for a day the ants disappeared. Then a soldier-sized variety showed up at the stoop with a much smaller contingent of workers milling about. I sprayed them again.

The next day the ants were bringing eggs to the surface and there were even larger ants with wings. At that point I did some investigation to discover they had free reign of a crumbling wall under the door. Young queens carrying an egg were flying away from an outdoor entrance below and so I sprayed that hole as well. The ants didn't return as far as I know.

I've since been amazed at the versatility of hormone exposure on the young of all animals including humans. One result is that I would definitely use a condom if having sex with a pregnant woman.

The summer after high school I went longline fishing for yellowfin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. One day at an offshore oil rig, I spotted what looked like a huge shark off the side of our boat. It was in fact a harmless baby whale shark with a huge loop of hauser rope strangling it. My brother put on his scuba gear, grabbed his underwater camera, and cut off the noose.

The huge fish made an obvious show of appreciation by circling our boat once before heading back out to sea.

I returned to Germany one hot early 1990's summer during college when Europe was having yellowjacket problems. I was at a German grocery store when I couldn't help but notice a huge swarm feeding on the fruit stand out front. My curiosity drove me to take a closer look and I saw a gigantic queen feasting on some grapes. I tried to tell the store clerks about it, but my German was worse than their English.

Back in Seattle, sometime after that, the movie "Silence of the Lambs" had just come out on video and I got home to find my apartment infested with moths. I found that highly unusual and a bit frightening. I was also worried that someone would come over and think I was the psychopath from the movie as I'd always be a "cereal killa" for college Halloween with my Boo Berry if I could and a big spoon. I did my best to catch and release all the moths, but a few days later there were a ton of larvae crawling up the wall. It was just too weird and I felt bad exterminating them.

When my now ex-fiancee and I decided to get a cat, she had her heart set on adopting a polydactyl (extra toes) calico kitten. Now what are the odds PAWS would actually have one there for us to adopt, because they had exactly what she wanted.

BeBe was the focus of one of my stalking events in 1998 or so when I walked around an apartment filled neighborhood one dinnertime chanting:

Here kitty kitty!
Here kitty kitty!
Fear kitty kitty!
BeBe, where are you?!

The next day many blocks away a payphone rang as I approached it and the dude on the other end said "Meow!" and hung up.

I didn't realize until after my chanting that a huge BeBe advertising campaign was in the process of being launched here in Seattle.

On 2 April 1996, while walking for the bus to get to classes — the precise moment I decided the world's children are far more important than me and that I would rather die than live with the New World Order crimes I knew and actually go public with — a small bird shat on my shoulder: a sign of good luck.

By the end of the year I found a friend I could live with. His neighbor's kid liked to kill squirrels. I love squirrels especially after an ex-girlfriend let me feed a baby one she was caring for. I was also trying to lay low so I had to bite my tongue when I learned he was hunting them.

Shortly thereafter while I was standing in the driveway, a baby squirrel bounded up to me to let me know that its parents had been killed. There was nothing I could really do at the time and I felt so bad. All I could do was just hate myself for all the animals I had killed as a kid.

At that same house a mouse had somehow snuck into my room past the household cats. I didn't think too much of it until I awoke from a nap with said mouse right next to my face like the mafia might leave a dead horse head.

When I was homeless in the late 1990's I liked to trespass into the greenbelt next to the downtown emergency hospital to get away from the chaos of the shelter.

One day I noticed some cat approach, take a wide berth around me, then sit up tall and proud alongside the pathway. Suddenly two large rats came bounding from the brush down the path and within paw's reach of the cat. The feline just sat there dumbfounded, but it looked considerably perturbed when I busted into hardcore laughter.

My most recent pet cat I had to put to sleep on Presidents Day in 2007 when she was 12, just one more reason for me to hate politicians. About a week later I received an offer to put pet insurance ads on my website's cat pages. I also received a phone call from this jerk who I hadn't seen in years asking me if I wanted to adopt his 12 year old cat. I had to refuse the latter offer.

In September 2007 I had just written a fictional story for TheSpoof.com about cybernetic fruit flies infesting the White House when one of my own drosphila (probably the most studied animal on this planet short of humans) did an amazingly rare thing and actually land on my computer screen staring directly at the words "Lamb of God" on my music player before hopping over to my microphone and not budging while I adjusted it to tell a bunch of my voice chat buddies.

Earlier this year an itsy bitsy spider climbed up to the top of my computer monitor. I don't usually get spiders in my apartment being on the top floor. The cute thang shot out a silken strand and floated straight toward my face. I intercepted it and put it back. It tried doing that a few more times, and each time I'd return it to the top of screen. Eventually I had to leave the room, and when I got back it was gone.