My Weekend As a Pirate, aka Abbeyville

Abbey the Cockatiel* eyeballs me from her cage - a weird game of hide-and-seek because she wants to be afraid, label me the Debbil, but can't stand to be ignored. We know this game, yeah? Funny that non-humans play it too, or maybe no surprise.

While I watch TV she navigates through the open door of her cage onto the floor, but when I acknowledge her she retreats into her safe space.

I get it, Abbey; do your bird thing.
Abbey's momma, Chantelle, asked how much I charged to birb-visit and whether I was willing to barter. I love barter, but I can use cash. I said I wanted a Cuban; I should have known she'd have one already. It was on the counter with the cash and a box of matches next to a list of Abbey-care instructions.

I call Abbey's name and whistle as instructed; she whistles back in response. I take a risk and put my hand in the cage, knowing she might bite me. I'm surprised when she steps calmly onto my wrist like it was what she wanted all along. Maybe it was; maybe I'm finally playing the game right. She walks up my arm, squares off on my shoulder, and bites my face. Maybe it's a kiss.

We chill like that for a while, watching TV. I keep wondering when she's gonna shit and what I'm gonna do about it if she's still on my shoulder when it happens. I don't want a bird on my shoulder any longer so I slide to the kitchen island where her wooden perch sits and lean toward it. She steps onto the crossbar and screams at me.

Okay, maybe an almond? She screams at the almond. I put the almond in the bowl that's nailed to the perch, turn away; she swoops over my head, flying a figure eight through the room before smashing into the wall. She lands catlike on her feet, which is to say she regains composure so quickly that the faux pas is nearly indiscernible, and waddles into the kitchen. I leave her standing there staring at the cabinetry and I go back to watching TV.

Next thing I know she's climbed up the front of the sofa and is biting my jeans.

Abbey, you are right. Sometimes the pants must be fought.

*Spell Check wants me to correct this to Cockatrice, which is hilarious because how can it know what that is but not Cockatiel



  1. I love reading through a post that can make people think.

    Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!


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