“Book him, Danno.” Jack Lord, Hawaii Five-O
The other day while I was trying to keep a group of school children from lapsing into a state of exuberant anarchy, my ears were assailed by a noise that sounded like cicadas on steroids. It went on for several hours and would have ground away at my nerves had I not eventually gotten used to it. Sure enough, it turned out to be the sound of men butchering all the trees lining the sidewalks with an arsenal of chainsaws.
While waiting for the bus today after work, I noticed that the sky had taken on a new starkness, then realized it was because the trees had lost all their branches. They were now ampu-trees, or tree-mains. The poor bastards have to stand there day and night inhaling smog and airborne toxic dust, then along come these guys working for the city to mutilate them while they wait. All in a day’s emasculation of the dregs of nature. Luckily there are no songbirds around anyway to perch on the purloined boughs (maybe Samsung can design cute little gas masks to lure them back to the city), and the pigeons are street-smart and obtuse enough to survive anything. The magpies, who are like the love-child of a crow and a pair of spats, also appear to thrive regardless of their ruined local ecosystem.
Why would the city maintenance people feel the need to dispatch the trees in such a merciless fashion? Do they think they’re really North Korean spies disguised as trees, Harlem Globetrotters-turned Manchurian Candidates, with Dennis Rodman as their ringleader, responding to Kim Jong Un’s high-powered telescopic dog whistle (excuse me, make that dogwood whistle)?
I wondered whether any other streets had suffered the same level of devastation. Sure enough, every street I went down, everywhere I looked, the trees were newly stumpy, like children who’ve made the fatal decision to play hot potato with a hand grenade.
It occurred to me that maybe the leaves were considered a threat, a la Minority Report or pre-emptive war brought to you by Bush-Cheney, Inc., and that severing every branch would preclude an eventual slippery soup of rotten fallen foliage treacherous to hapless motorists, inducing a spate of collisions culminating in a Hollywood blockbuster-style crescendo of flamboyantly infernal fireballs–
–and all because of those dastardly, savage, ruthless, barbaric arboreal reprobates, those damnable, nefarious trees planted by Satan himself–just like the one laden with apples in the Garden of Eden–as a tantalizing menace to helpless, harmless, ever-so-innocent homo-simian, the lumberjack-of-all trades.
Thank God the workmen had the sense to eradicate them all before it was too late (whew!)
The good news is their limbs will in all likelihood grow back, although the procedure will be repeated late next winter, and the year after that, and so on ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ensuring that these gentle giants who wouldn’t hurt a fly that wiped his shit-stained toes on their barky faces will die young, their lives truncated by us funky monkeys.