Fancy reading a silly 3 part story ?
... THE FOURTEEN POUND BUDGIE ... part 1
I've this thing about budgies. I've got a thing about tortoises as well but not as bad as the thing about budgies.
The thing about tortoises is that you can avoid them... unless you get a particularly fast one. But tortoises are horrible; really, when you look at them. They are like Vincent Price with a bus shelter on their backs. I picked up a tortoise once and I shook it and it fell out... they are really horrible in the nude, like gherkins with legs on. The only good thing about tortoises is that they make good pets for dogs with-no teeth 'cos you can throw them and if the dogs don't fetch them back, they can come back on their own. And at least a tortoise will smile a bit. You can always see a tortoise grinning a bit when it's going for a piece of lettuce, if you've got any imagination. But a budgie never grins. It just sort of sits there all the time glaring at you and shifting from one leg to another, muttering.
But I've had this thing about budgies since I was a kid. We had this budgie when I was a kid and it was the Khengis Khan of budgies. It was the horribilist budgie in the whole world. It had torn all its own feathers off so it looked hard and it had got a ball point pen and it had written `Hell's Angels Cheekie Boy Chapter' on its chest. Because it had no feathers it couldn't fly, so me dad had made it a pair of wings out of an old porridge packet and it used to hang-glide out of the cage and home in on the hot thermals that were coming off my porridge, and it used to just hang up there on these hot thermals going round and round with its cardboard wings, crapping in my porridge. The thing about budgie muck is that it looks like porridge and me mother never noticed and the budgie used to climb up the pole and lie on the floor of its cage in the sandpaper, laughing and thumping its chest. I've hated budgies ever since.
My second encounter with a budgie was even more traumatic. I was about twenty-one or two at the time, working in a factory making aerosol chips and living in a block of flats in Manchester. Living opposite me was the most beautiful Irish nurse you have ever seen. Two of everything she should have and all in the right place. But. I was very shy at the time with no idea how, to address women and even less of an idea of how to undress them. I tried tor show her that I' was interested in her by pulling funny faces and-wearing daft party hats every time she went past and putting subtle billets doux under her door, saying things like, `I'd like to give you a punch up-the drawers.'
And then one day it happened. In a fit of generosity, she let me carry 4cwt. of coal upstairs for her and invited me in for a cup of coffee. This is it, I thought. I went in and sat dawn on the settee, and she made me a cup of coffee and told me that her name was Pog Mahone., Then a strange eerie feeling crept over me. I knew there was something wrong. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I broke out into a cold sweat, and then I saw it.
In a specially reinforced cage on the 'sideboard was a budgie that was even worse than the one we had. It had a patch over one eye, a pirate's hat on, one leg and a crutch and a little man on his shoulder, and it was hobbling about going, `Pieces of Nine, `Pieces of Nine'.
I stood up and zoomed out of the flat, and she flew - after me, asking, `What's the matter?'
'Well, I've got this terrible thing- it's claustrophobia,'
`I'm sorry about that because I wanted to ask you a favour,' she said. -
`Well, go on then.'
`I was wondering if you would have Christmas dinner with me?'
'That's nice, 'cos I'll be on me own.'
`I'll be on my own as well.'
`Oh,' I said, `certainly, ' because Christmas was only about a fortnight off.
Then she said, `I wanted to ask you one other thing. I've got to go and see my mum and dad in Liverpool. While I'm away, would you mind Attila for me?'
'Attila, my little budgie.'
`Oh,' I said, 'I'm not very good with living things. Plastic flowers die on me. The Wellies even fell off my Bear and he got pneumonia and died.'
"Oh," she said, 'I don't think you'll have any trouble with Attila, 'cos he loves people. He loved you, I could tell. And all you have to do is feed him, bath him and talk to him.'
`What do you talk to him about.'
`Oh, just tell him about what's gone on during the day,' she said, 'the news or anything like that. He likes to hear news. Read things out of the newspapers.'
I thought, `Oh, my God, what's happening here?' All I wanted was an uncomplicated relationship with a quickup the drawers and down the pub.
But I gave in.
'Okay,' I said. And I took the budgie and looked after him for a fortnight.
Now, I'm being totally honest when I say that I would never, ever hurt any living thing on purpose. I looked after that budgie as if it was one of my own. I came in from work, I talked to it, I fed it well. I gave it everything I had - egg and bacon in the morning, meat, two veg and gravy at night. And you know, it never ate it. Just turned its nose up at it. I even bathed it. I felt stupid getting into the bath with a budgie, I can tell-you that, scrubbing it down, then drying it with a hair dryer and rubbing its little crutch dry. But I did everything I could. I even ripped up bits of newspaper and put it in it's cage so that it had something to read, and do you know what it did? It died out of spite! Definitely. I could see what was running through its mind. It just said one day, `Right, I'm going to knacker your chances with me mistress:' And he just lay down in the cage and finito benito, the wooden overcoat job, `Come on, Death, let's have it. Thank you very much.' Wham, ham, thank you mam-gonsky. As far as the David Attenborough stakes were concerned, it was scoring zero on the livometer.
I came home from work and found it there. I tried everything I could. I tried giving it the kiss of life with a pea shooter over its beak. I tried steaming it fresh over the kettle. I even tried the rubber bands up the jacksie and the propeller on the nose but-it just kept divebombing the floor. In the end I thought there's nothing for it... I'm going to have to get another one.
Now, bear in mind that this was Christmas. I thought, `Well, you can't walk through the streets of Manchester with a dead budgie sticking out the top of your pocket.' So I got an old Woolies carrier bag and stuck the budgie in. the paper bag and went down the street.