“I’m really worried for the local marine life,” stated Professor Drake. “I saw that thing eat an entire whale yesterday.”
Photo by Sharon Roth
Residents of Revelle College were horror-struck last Tuesday when they awoke not to the commonplace sounds of construction, but to a tremendous cawing that shook their bedframes. “At first, I thought it was a fire alarm,” said sophomore Tracy Lotoso, avoiding her economics study guide. “But it was so highpitched and chirpy that my roomie and I figured it was a pretty pathetic fire. And I was right! Sort of.”
But it was not a fire at all. Overnight, in the construction site of the coming Eighth College, one of the cranes had transformed into a 300-foottall bird.
Dr. Ave Drake, professor of avian sciences, puntology, and the history of medieval flight at UCSD, was immediately intrigued when she heard its calls through the windows of her Prius on her way to work. “Cranes aren’t native to the San Diego area,” she said. “Herons and egrets, sure. But its call was distinctly crane-y. It hurt my craneium, if you will, to hear this colossal crane’s cacophonous croon.”
According to construction workers on the site, the bird had appeared overnight, coinciding with the disappearance of an important piece of machinery needed to complete the building. At first, the bird was curled up in its sleeping nest, but when the foreman suggested they begin nailing metal into concrete, the bird stood up, one rickety leg at a time. At its full height, it towered over York Hall, 64 Degrees, and “What Hath God Wrought.” Incidentally, “what hath God wrought” is also what the local Bible study group cried upon seeing the crane’s gargantuan form.
The California Crane, as it came to be known, strutted all the way down Ridge Walk with no regard for students walking to their 8 a.m. lectures. It did, however, regard students biking and skateboarding with great interest, pursuing one all the way to Mandeville, where the unlucky student’s pecked-in helmet remains on display in the student art galleries.
“It’s quite possible that the crane saw them as a source of food,” Dr. Drake noted, putting on a wide-brimmed gray sun hat she claimed was “camouflage, just in case.”
The crane took special animosity towards Sun God, squawking at it and puffing up its feathers in a display of what the doctor believes to be “either competition or mating; either way it’s fowl play.” No eyewitness was willing to go near enough to the Godzilla-esque bird to tell exactly what it was doing with the statue, but in the aftermath, Sun God had been violently removed from its pedestal and severely damaged around the head and groin.
In the evening, the crane retreated back to the construction site, laying down in a nest built out of two-byfours and street signs. Students were advised to stay away due to the deafening sounds and frantic fluttering of wings, but by 9 p.m., one brave soul snuck past the chain-link fence to see the crane, intending to “give it the bird.” The student instead saw the crane curled tenderly around a brightly colored mosaic of an egg. Upon seeing the human form, the crane squawked dramatically, gazed at the sky, and took off, its egg balanced on its back. Eyewitnesses reported it flying over the Pacific Ocean, disrupting the flight paths of military jets.
When asked where she thought it was going, Dr. Drake looked relieved. “Far, far away from here. And I hope it doesn’t come back. Next time, it might spot me.” Dr. Drake then ran as fast as she could along the road and ducked into a tunnel. She has not been seen since.