Poppyseed was an orange Rufous Hummingbird, who was as aggressive and single-minded as they come, until he flew over a burning field of “wildwood weed,” one afternoon, during the annual two-thousand mile migration. Something in the drifting smoke asked “Why must you always be in such a rush, little friend–Have you never been mellow?”
The rest of the flock had avoided the field, but Poppyseed was known for his individuality and recklessness. He alone had flown above the pungent blue smoke, and he alone found himself perched on a weather vane atop an old barn, with no memory of lighting there, wondering why he had never been mellow.
Under normal circumstances, such a dipshit question would have enraged Poppyseed. But that was before a new philosophy had edged into his cut and dry, now! now! now! personality. What’s it all about? Poppyseed thought, watching the rest of the flock zoom into the distance.
“It’s about peace, love and harmony…seeking oneness with the Universe, my busy little friend,” said a human Spirit that suddenly appeared on the barn’s rooftop. The ghost had long lank hair which flowed below the brim of a floppy hat. He was wearing sunglasses that had round yellow lenses, striped bell bottom pants, sandals, several strings of beads–and if Poppyseed had known anything about human politics, and could read, he would have recognized the face of Richard Nixon on the tee-shirt the Spirit wore, with the words “What me Worry?” printed below Tricky Dick’s cartoonish visage.
“Do peace, love and harmony taste good?” Poppyseed asked. “I like aphids and honeysuckle myself.”
The Spirit laughed softly and removed his sunglasses. Poppyseed saw strange images take shape and melt in the ghost’s kaleidoscope eyes. Psychedelic colors and paisley fractal flows… and he could hear music. If Poppyseed had known anything about 1960’s pop music, he’d have recognized Incense and Peppermint as lip-synched by Strawberry Alarm Clock on The Ed Sullivan Show. And there were visions… Hundreds of young people of various races standing in a field, single file, hands joined…all singing the praises of a god called Coca-Cola…then a man standing out of doors in buckskins with a feather in his hair…a single tear falling from his eye…
The wind had shifted during Poppyseed’s vision quest, and the blue haze cleared from the area of the barn. Thus Poppyseed’s intense, light’s speed metabolism had time enough to process and eject the remaining effects of the wildwood weed smoke as though it had never been breathed. Poppyseed immediately glanced in the direction the flock had gone and calculated that he could catch up to them after only a few minutes on afterburners.
The Spirit sensed the change in the Hummingbird’s attitude and tried one last sales pitch. “No, no, little friend. That is the old way…the way of the establishment…”
“Could you be more useless?” Poppyseed said. Although he had little patience with, and even less time to speak to any of the human ghosts that all creatures can see, he felt obliged to break a talon off in this fool’s ass. “‘Have you never been mellow’? ‘Harmony with nature’? ‘Why rush’? It’s like this–mellow, laid back Hummingbirds wind up as lunch for cats and stoats. Get a job, goddam hippy.”
And Poppyseed zoomed off to rejoin the flock.
THE AMORAL: And a haircut while you’re at it.