Even though Harper Lee taught me that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, I want this one dead. Like the proverbial doornail. Over the past week or so, this feathered monstrosity has made it his mission to sit in the trees just behind our house and practice his peculiar abilities. For a while he sounds like a whippoorwill. Then he's a bluebird. Then he's a car alarm. Then he's a car starting up. Then there are long, looping symphonies of original and imitated sounds that stretch from sundown to sunup.
I have become accustomed to sleeping through all manner of urban noise, from the neighbors across the street who keep their reggae raves roaring past midnight or the passing traffic in various levels of urgency and repair. Even the occasional next-door domestic disturbance can be ignored with a shift or a flop of a pillow. I live in a city, after all, not the wilderness. And maybe that's the problem. I've become so unaccustomed to the sounds of the woods that I can scarcely catch a wink between all of nature's wonders: the mockingbird's song.
For the record, I don't sleep through gunshots or earthquakes either, one being a more naturally occurring phenomenon, but I don't know if I will rest easy until this bird has flown. As for Ms. Lee and her admonition about keeping Mimus polyglottos safe and sound, I say this: Taking the Lord's name in vain is a sin, but every time I drop a something heavy on my toe, that's exactly what I do. Time to pack your bags, Mister Mockingbird.