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  • J. Darris Mitchell

QUICK, three beers!

I’ve been working on the script for my new podcast. It’s been really cool! It took me about a month to figure out the world. This was a time period where I might write a word, perhaps doodle something, but mostly it was just me sitting around staring off into the distance. I like to consider the problems of a world, and then figure out characters who might have the BIGGEST stake in that world. The big problem in the World of Mesa Segura (working title!) is that the magnetosphere is broken, leaving the surface of the earth a desolate place save for mutant plants and beasts that can survive the unfiltered radiation. I asked myself: who would be most interested in this world? I came up with three main characters. The first is an older inventor who feels compelled to protect people from the naked sky. Odessa has made a home for herself inside of a Mesa, and welcomes those who won’t threaten her community of survivors. Sacrifices were made to get where she is today, but now that she has a home to protect, she won’t let anyone threaten her security. The second is a young inventor who deserves to be world-famous. Unfortunately, the world simply doesn’t work that way anymore. Denied electricity and circuit boards to the Magnetosphere, Camila has gone all-in on steam-powered technology. Is she pissed that the world is broken? Yes. Is she still going to make a name for herself? She’s damn well gonna try. The third is a young fella who likes to look at birds and has a giant muto cow named Cowford for a best friend. So far anyone who has read the script says Cowford is the best part… and I think I’m ok with that.


Bird of the Week


I have reached the beer birds level of my birding obsession.


Let me explain: there is a group of birds called flycatchers that are less than spectacular looking. There are a few of them that are worth seeing—the scissor-tailed flycatcher being my favorite—but many of them are nearly identical, small, black-backed, tan-bellied birds with varying levels of subtle olive or yellow tones. There are field marks that can be used to distinguish them, but plumage can vary, so for most of the flycatchers, the only way to reliably tell them apart is by their voice.


This Odyssean task of identification is made easier by how the birds are described in the field guides. I went out Saturday listening for either “Quick! Three beers!” Or “FREE beer!”


This is how they are described by the pros. Who am I to take issue with such translations?


I was lucky enough to hear an alder flycatcher (FREE beer!) when out birding, but better yet was when I went to a friend’s house to brew a beer that evening. Who was singing except for my new friend, the olive-sided flycatcher!?


“Quick! Three beers!”


Yes, sir!

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