Another piece of fiction, pretaining to the Peculiar Nature of Parrots

December 27, 2008


In Regards to the Peculiar Nature of Parrots

another work in progress, posted & written by Caroline Picard


Finch had made her mother nervous.

She told Bridget he was attractive. He’s so handsome! her mother had whispered (too loud) like an old woman, in the hallway just after he’d arrived. Bridget had shrugged, certain that everyone, Father, Sister, Finch, could hear everything from where they sat in the living room.
Finch arrived two days after the first brain surgery. Their father had gotten out of the hospital that morning. It was four days after Thanksgiving.
“I’m glad you got the chance to meet him, Finch,” she said which, in retrospect, seemed overly symbolic.

And next morning, the Johnstons ate bread and cereal and jam and coffee with Finch. Her father talked to Finch about airplanes. Finch had worked for his uncle cleaning airplanes with a power hose. Zelda, a small green fist-sized parrot, fell off the cage with a flurry and climbed up her father’s leg while he ate yogurt with flaxseed. No one looked at the sutures.
“It was a great summer. Southwest is a great company. It’s the airline for the common man. There are no assigned seats. First come, first serve.”
“I’ve never flown on Southwest,” her father said, smiling. Zelda was grooming his ear. He picked Zelda up and put her on his head. They watched as Zelda’s tongue tickled the angry black stitches. The swollen lips of the scar. Zelda looked back at them, blinking her eyes with a coy upside-down tilt in her head. The feathers on her neck puffed out like she felt sexy. The bird blinked her eyes upside down, the bottom lid rising to meet the top. Bridget thought, ‘how strange that birds have eyelashes,’ when her mother swatted Zelda off with a sharp, jerk of her hand. Shirley giggled. Zelda squawked, flapping clipped wings until she landed, with duck grace, on the kitchen floor. The bird shrieked for three minutes, beating her wings with little thumps.
“Zelda’s like our three-year old,” their mother had said by way of apology, while orange juice came up Shirley’s nose. When she laughed it sounded like champagne would, if it could laugh. With orange juice up her nose, though, it just sounded like a stage laugh.
“Spencer,” her mother said in admonishment, “that isn’t funny.” Their mother was about to cry.
Bridget laughed, a little. An angry happiness.


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