Pickles The Parrot: A Humorous Look At Life With An African Grey
Still though, there were days he was good about going in the cage and I had no problem locking him in so one day I had some shopping to do and was gone for about 45 minutes. Upon my return, I thought it curious that I wasn't greeted with Pickles' usual "Mama's home! Hello baby!" so I walked into the living room to investigate.
My heart sank to the pit of my stomach as I realized my very, very, VERY worst fear had become a reality. I stood, dumbfounded, gaping at an empty cage. Somebody broke in the house and stole him.
Then I noticed the cage door. hmmm. What kinda self-respecting thief would steal a parrot and take the time to lock the cage door in the open position? Damn, I'd gone out and forgot to put Pickles in his cage. My relief quickly turned to worry though because he wasn't anywhere in sight.
I began my search, looking for signs of a poop trail. I'm calling for him and his silence conjures up images of an electrified bird lying in a smoking heap behind the couch (having chewed through an electric cord). My grasping mind tells me "it's okay, you know how he clams up in impish delight while enjoying an impromptu game of hide-and-seek" but I'm uneasy non-the-less.
As I'm on my hands and knees, peering under a couch, I hear a VERY distinctive nose laugh. You know the sound - when someone is laughing through their nose with their mouth closed. I look up from my crouched position, into the kitchen about 6 feet away and there, smack dab in the middle of the dictionary stand, roosts a smartass little Grey.
"Pickles!" I exclaim.
"What's up?" he queries with a twinkle in his eye.
"I've been looking all over for you!" I reply.
"Huh?" he asks.
"You heard me." I said, which triggers more nose laughing and some gleeful head bobbing.
As I walked toward him he commanded, "Step up" as his little footsie was waving in the air in anticipation of my hand and a free ride home - or so I thought.
The moment he stepped up on my hand, he flung himself upside down exclaiming "Upside down bird!" I told him to get back up as I righted him with my other hand. After momentarily obliging, he promptly fell over once again. He thought this a delightful little game and continued to fall over like some stinkin' drunk.
So there I am, walking around with an upside down bird on my hand, telling him to get back up and he's piping "get back up!" right back at me. I carry this lippy, drunken bird to the cage and try to set him down gently on his back but he just lies there clinging to my finger. I try to pry his talons off but they just dig in deeper.
I give up, sit on the couch and place him on his back in my lap, between my legs. He lies there, trying to outlast me. Eventually he says "ticko, ticko, ticko" so I tickle his belly. He gets so excited that he releases his hold but is now stuck on his back like a turtle, waving his feet frantically in the air. I don't help the little stinker. Instead, I sit there and nose laugh.
All this time I had thought Pickles was getting his vocabulary from me. As it turned out, he'd been reading the dictionary behind my back.
- Georgi Abbott, November 2010
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