Monday, December 27, 2004

The Parakeet and the Snow Peas

Once upon a time (this is a true story, by the way), my sister had a parakeet named Buddy. Now, Buddy was no ordinary budgie. He could talk ("Pretty boy!"), he could drink vodka (didn't hold it very well, though, let me tell ya... and there's nothing more unsightly than a drunken bird), and his favorite meal was spaghetti. He had full run of the house, but would usually alight on a mirror. Yes, Buddy was very very vain.

Now, Sis had had this bird for YEARS. He moved to New York with her after she finished college. He moved back to Iowa with her when she got fed up with the rat race. During this time, Sis lived with our mother and stepfather in Des Moines. They had a huge house (this is before the Dome Home). Buddy was king of the castle. That is, until one day my stepdad brought home a Quaker parrot for Mom.

This parrot was, quite simply, evil. His name was Rope. Odd name for a bird, eh? Except that this little fucker would carry a lengthy piece of rope everywhere it flew. Probably hoping to lasso Buddy and peck him to death. But Buddy, in Rope's defense, would go out of his way to fly into whatever room in which Rope was holing up and torment him. It's an understatement to say these birds did NOT get along. Unfortunately for Buddy, though, his life of glamour and jet-setting was soon to change.

For starters, after a particularly tiresome week for Rope, he decided that Buddy needed to pay. And pay he did. One by one, Rope plucked out Buddy's tail feathers. This had the effect, essentially, of plucking out a cat's whiskers. Even while not drunk on vodka, Buddy had a hell of a time maneuvering in flight and many a rocky landing (or splatting into mirrors, walls and the like) soon befell his usual graceful flight from room to room.

One bright shiny morning, no Rope in sight, Buddy flew into the front room of the house where my parents had an office set up. This was back in the early 80's when furniture was chrome and minimalistic. Perhaps it still is and I just haven't noticed. Buddy found himself losing altitude and alit on one of the legs of a chrome chair. He soon warmed up to his reflection in the post and quietly contented himself to cooing over such a handsome bird. The office phone rang and my parents' business partner rolled over to answer it, not knowing Buddy was underneath the seat doing his Narcissus impression.

Chrome is slick. Buddy didn't stand a chance. He promptly toppled off his perch and was run over by one of the chair coasters. Now, in addition to no tail feathers, Buddy had a broken wing. Of course my sister rushed him to the vet. Imagine her horror when the vet suggested she put him down. What?!!! Euthanize Buddy because he has no tail feathers and a broken wing?!!! Preposterous!!

So she brought him home. He healed up rather slowly since he was still allowed out of his cage to 'fly'. Well, with no tail feathers and a broken wing, poor little Buddy could only fly in half-hearted circles. Nor could he keep away from Rope (have I mentioned that Rope was evil?). It was really only a matter of time.

One dark, stormy afternoon, Buddy was sitting at the kitchen counter having a small feast of spaghetti. Happily chortling to himself, he didn't notice the evil shadow as Rope flew over him. Before anyone could intervene to protect the hapless budgie, Rope swooped in for the kill and bit off one of Buddy's legs. My sister tried. She really did. She packed little Buddy's shorn limb in some ice, put him in a large shoebox, and drove to the vet.

Alas, it was the straw that... that... well, that ended Buddy's life. The vet assurred my sister there was no way he could reattach the leg, and given that Buddy still had a bum wing (and yes, NO tail feathers), he was able to convince her that, for the sake of the bird, she should put him down.

Now, at the risk of sounding like a heartless bitch (which I most certainly can be), that bird had one heck of a great (and loooong) life. But this way, he was 'retired' before Rope could make off with another part of his anatomy. Of course my sister was devastated. She didn't want to bury him; the mere thought of it would send her into hour-long crying jags. So my parents consoled her by keeping Buddy in his little makeshift coffin in the kitchen freezer next to the snow peas. For a year and a half.

Then they moved out to the Dome Home in the country. Buddy was then relegated to the deep freeze in the garage, once again with the snow peas to keep him company. For another year. And then, some two and half years after his demise, Buddy was laid to rest on a balmy September afternoon in one of Mother's flower beds.

RIP, Buddy. Cheers!

Comments:
You have got to be kidding me! She let him out with a broken wing and no tailfeathers? WTF was she thinking?!?

That's the worst story ever. (Naw, not really. Heh.)
 
Heh heh... she just couldn't stand to see the little guy caged up. Even with that parrot-vulture lurking about. Man, I hated THAT bird. He bit me all the time. It. Really. Hurt.
 
Aaaack! Man, the things Buddy endured. Poor little guy. How's Rope? How are YOU Ang? I haven't been by your place in ages! I come back and BOOM, sad story about half-circly Buddy.
 
Hey Fleecey Fleecerton! Aw, c'mon... it's a FUNNY story! It was sad TEN YEARS AGO. As for Rope, I think the little bastard is dead. He somehow got loose in the great wild of Iowa. If he didn't fly south, the first Iowa winter woulda kicked him in HIS tailfeathers!

And I'm pretty peachy keen-o. You? **Cooter ambles over to Fleece's site**
 
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