By Bill Fountain
Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the full staircase, just take the first step.
I seem to only embark on pathways I feel I have complete control in. If a new task is presented to me and there's any element of uncertainty, doubt or merely having to place faith in others, I simply avoid it altogether. I hate trying new things; it's as if I always demand to see the full staircase.
I could talk to you all about how good of a person I feel I am, my special talents and childhood accomplishments, my love for animals and punctuality, etc. but on paper I am a nothing more than an unemployed, deadbeat drug addict with sociopathic tendencies, or UDDAWiST for short.
I live in a one bedroom apartment in north Scottsdale, rent paid on time each month in full by my parents. I was going to Mesa Community College for my business degree but dropped out because Geology was super tough to give a shit about. I'm nineteen years old and one day I'm going to be super rich and famous.
I was fired from my job at the pizza place, because I smoked weed in the walk-in freezer several times every day. I was the store's general manager and felt like it wasn't a big deal because marijuana is from the earth, and my supervisor didn't know that. I sent him a YouTube link and I think he's considering getting me the job back.
The news was something that frequently pissed me off, but something I was addicted to. I loved getting in on the Twitter arguments and joining the conversations as best I could. Lately the big news was about how the government were now aggressively drafting young Americans. It was learnt quickly that all they had to do was not answer the door, and they were never technically drafted. As a result, bald eagles have trained to stalk the drafted, and swiftly deliver its notice, all completely legal apparently.
I did my research and found that if you ever see an eagle, you should lock yourself in your home or in your car. The eagles have cameras on them to ensure the American is given sufficient acknowledgment of their drafting. As long as I continue to be a reclusive hermit, I should have no problem of ending up in the military. I was way too much of pussy for that shit; I get cold really easily. I won't even go into swimming pools because they're too cold.
I was on my computer browsing TMZ stories around 1:00pm on a Saturday when my phone buzzed in my pocket. I had my phone on Do Not Disturb, but allowing any one from my Contacts list to call or text me. That way I can have more control of who I let bother me, and also it's an effective evasive measure against credit card companies (they think I owe them money. They're right, but I don't have any money, so what's one to do?) I reached into my pocket and saw my brother was calling me.
"Yo, what are you up to?"
"Just working on a new screenplay," I replied, "what's up?"
"Let's go shooting tomorrow, you down?"
"No dude, there's bald eagles, man."
A silence fell through the speaker and I thought we disconnected when he said, "what?"
"Drafting. Aren't you afraid of getting drafted? Some eagles swarmin' in sayin 'hey, you shoot good, come shoot with us.' Aren't you afraid of that?" I asked.
"You're allowed to shoot anything that's coming atcha. That's the law," my brother replied.
"No, I'm not going."
"Yellow?" he asked.
"What'd you fucking say?" I said before panting deep breaths.
"You heard me. You yellow?"
"Fine, I'll go."
The next day I picked my brother up and we drove over to a desert area that had other shooters there so I'm pretty sure it was legal. My eyes were watching for eagles like an eagle- I couldn't understand why my brother was so relaxed about it. Maybe he didn't understand that it was real.
We had set up some targets and laid out a table as my brother unloaded his weaponry- an AR-15 and a shotgun. That's when I saw the eagle. It was stalking the area, circling for someone near us.
"There's an eagle right there! It's about to draft somebody!" I alerted my brother. He looked up and saw what I was talking about, but didn't seem to care. He began loading clips with bullets as I saw the eagle swarming in quickly at our area. I jumped into the driver seat of my truck and the bald eagle landed on the hood, making menacing eye contact with me, holding a scroll in its beak. I could see the camera strapped to its torso, slightly adjusting on my figure. The eagle slowly tilted his head as I heard the distinct click of my brother loading the AR-15.
"Do not shoot the eagle!" I screamed. He didn't and it flew off anyway. I waited inside the car before exiting noting the clear skies. The eagle didn't return, but when I pulled into my apartment complex after dropping my brother off, I heard a bang on the roof of the truck's cabin. I looked out the window and saw the same eagle hovering next to me at my same speed, eyeing me like a demon.
It was this kind of Hell for the next few weeks, before I began noticing the eagle not stalking me anymore. It was as if I had outsmarted the system and I was free to go.
I didn't see it again for a full month until I was getting my mail one day and I saw the eagle on a small raft in the apartment complex pool. It was just roosting peacefully, not even minding me any attention. I figured it must be for somebody else, because it was not the same hostile eagle I met before.
Months passed and I grew lonelier and depressed. I was frozen in all my pathways- I didn't want to try anything new because I was too afraid. I didn't want to get a job because it seemed like it wouldn't lead me anywhere. One thing I for sure didn't want to do- I didn't want to be alone for the rest of my life.
It was 3 in the morning one cold winter night. I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling fan, feeling empty and dark as if there was nothing in life to look forward to. I felt like life was rigged against me and I was always going to be this depressed loser. I had a deeper fear occur to me, though. It was the thought of having to feel this way forever.
I jumped out of bed and grabbed my keys. I walked outside, marched over to my apartment complex pool, and saw the eagle still on its raft afloat the pool's center. I unlocked the gate and jumped into the water, swam over to the eagle and accepted my draft notice.