Hello, my Freaky Darlings!
This was one of the first short stories I wrote. It’s not a horror, but it is dark and twisted. I hope you enjoy it.
Death of a Parrot
I read somewhere that a sure way to kill a Parrot is to feed it Avocado Pear. I wondered if it would work on Pierre’s African Grey. I really hated that bird. All our problems started the day he bought it.
Before that day we were happy. Sure we had problems but all couples do. We even talked about getting married. After living together for a year we decided that we could make it work. We could have the white picket fence and the happily ever after, that young couples dream about having. Then he went and ruined it.
He called me up that morning and said he had a surprise for me. There I was, mistakenly thinking that it would be something in the line of jewellery. Something with a diamond. Something that would fit perfectly on my ring finger. It wasn’t an unreasonable hope. As I said, we’d discussed it.
But instead of a ring, I got a parrot. Let me just mention that I’m not an animal lover. My parents had tried to install affection for animals in me, but for some or other reason the love of animals just never took.
He didn’t bother to ask if I wanted a pet. If he had asked, the answer would definitely have been no. Which is probably why he didn’t.
If he wanted a pet so badly, why did he have to get a parrot? Why not a cute kitten or a puppy? You can’t take a parrot for a walk, it doesn’t curl up on your lap and there’s no way it can protect you from a burglar. So what’s the point?
All it does is squawk and leave a stinky mess at the bottom of its cage. Who do you think ends up cleaning the cage? Not Pierre, that’s for sure. Cleaning up after his bird would be too much like taking responsibility for his purchase. His excuse was that she was a present for me so therefore it was my job to clean up after it.
When we moved in together we had specific roles in our relationship, he was the responsible one and I was the flake. It worked well. Then he bought the parrot and our roles got all confused.
Having a parrot is as bad as having a fish. I should know. My parents insisted on buying me a fish as a pet. I never did manage to keep a fish alive for very long. It always ended badly. My father would give a brief speech about what a good fish “Goggles” was. I always named the doomed fish “Goggles”. That way I didn’ have to worry about remembering which name to use during my father’s ceremony.
I think they were hoping that buying me a fish would install a sense of responsibility in me as well as empathy for animals. They failed on all counts.
After the speech, he would flush poor unfortunate Goggles down the toilet. We tried burying them for a short while, but my mother’s cat would dig the freshly buried fish up and eat it on mother’s clean white bedding. So my father decided that flushing was a lot safer for all concerned, especially the cat.
Pierre called the bloody parrot Polly. He thought it was amusing. I didn’t. And to add injury to insult he taught her how to say “Polly want a cracker!” That did it. She had to go. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it. I was getting rid of her. Polly was leaving the building.
The problem was how to get rid of her without having to worry about Pierre’s reaction? I knew that with time he’d get over it. But that would take time and I didn’t want him to hate me because of a parrot. I still wanted to ride off into the sunset with him. Then there was the little problem of preventing him from getting another pet?
There were a few options open to me. I could open the cage and the stupid thing could fly away, never to be seen or heard from again. I could take her back to the pet shop where he bought her. Or I could wring her neck and roast her in the oven in a nice white wine sauce and feed her to him.
The last thought put a smile on my face.
But wringing her neck could cause a few problems. There was a physical strength that needed to be factored into the equation. Did I have the strength to pull it off and then, of course, there’s the luck factor?
Knowing my luck, while I was trying to kill the damn thing she would get away from me and I’d end up chasing her around the house. Pierre would show up just in time to see me get my grubby little hands around her neck.
I’d have some explaining to do on that one. I never was very good with explanations. I always managed to get my tongue tied in all the wrong places. Anything I said came across as lame and even I’d end up not believing anything I had to say.
The other options also had a few holes in them such as if Polly flew away she could always fly back and Pierre could always walk into the pet shop and recognise Polly. Once again with both options, there would be some explaining to do.
I eventually decided to try the avocado story and see if it really worked. I decided to tell Pierre that Polly flew away when I opened the cage to clean it. I wouldn’t have to worry about the creature deciding to fly back and Pierre wouldn’t be able to find her if he decided to take a walk to look for her. I happened to have a ripe avo sitting in my fruit bowl just waiting for me.
I walked into my white kitchen with the morning sun streaming through the windows. Polly squawked in her cage “Polly want a cracker”. That clinched the deal.
“You’re going down bitch,” I said as I looked at Polly through the bars of her cage.
The cage was perched on top of the kitchen counter, which also served as our dining room table. It was quite ironic if you think about it.
Why he insisted on putting it there only he knew. He could have kept it in his office with the rest of his junk.
We lived in a two bedroomed flat in an overpriced complex. The flat didn’t have a dining room. The kitchen and lounge were open-plan and the kitchen counter served as our dining room table as well as a room divider. Pierre used the second bedroom as an office.
I smiled as I cut the avo in half and removed the large pip in the middle. I then peeled off the hard skin, getting avo flesh all over my fingers in the process. I sliced it thinly. Licking my fingers, I fed it to Polly through the bars. She seemed to enjoy it. At least she enjoyed her last meal. I fed her a few pieces. The remaining slices I put some salt and pepper on and ate slowly, enjoying every victorious mouthful.
I wondered how long it would take her to die. I hoped it wouldn’t take too long. I couldn’t have Pierre arriving home in the middle of her death scene.
While I waited for Polly to fall off her perch, I decided to make a romantic dinner out of her. I wanted to surprise Pierre. A candlelit dinner for two. It would make him feel better after losing Polly. A tender and juicy roast. I just had to decide what sauce was the best to cook her in. Should I make it tangy sweet and sour or an elegant white wine sauce? I decided that roast potato would go quite well with parrot. Then there was the question of which wine to serve with it. Was Parrot classified as game meat?
I had a look at the wine rack. We only had a bottle of Nederburgh Baronne. So that settled that. Red wine it was.
After a few hours of puttering around the house and waiting for the bloody bird to die, Polly fell off her perch with her legs stuck up in the air like they do in the cartoons. She finally croaked. It took her long enough. She obviously enjoyed making my life difficult. Her final act on this planet was to make sure that it would be a rush to get her cooked in time.
The odious job of plucking feathers and removing her innards began. I started plucking from the tail and moved up to her head. After plucking most of her feathers only the head still remained intact with feathers and all.
I got the cleaver out of the top draw and chopped her head off. As I chopped it off it went for a flight. It flew through the air with a small trail of blood following its flight. The head landed splat on the floor in the pile of feathers. A small glutinous puddle of blood caused some of the feathers to stick to her head.
The really disgusting part of the exercise was still to follow – gutting her. I put on my rubber gloves and shoved my right hand up Polly’s anus. I kept telling myself it was just like stuffing a chicken. It was just like a chicken. I repeated it to myself like a mantra. Only problem was that I normally bought chicken pieces. I’d never before roasted a whole chicken before. It was a novel experience.
I felt the guts gushing between my fingers. Bile rose in my throat. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I managed to get all the innards out and dumped them on the chopping board. I took some chopped up veggies out the fridge and stuffed them inside Polly’s empty stomach cavity. I then tied her feet together and put her into the casserole dish with some chopped up potatoes and a dash of sherry along with Kan-Tong’s Honey, Sesame and Garlic sauce over it. I opted against the white wine sauce. It would have clashed with the red wine.
I put her in the oven at 120°C. A good slow cooking heat, which gave me time to get everything else ready. I wanted her meat to be soft and succulent.
While Polly cooked, I cleaned the house till it was spotless. Pierre hated a dirty house.
I then laid the dining room table, putting the new embroidered tablecloth on the table along with the Noritake dinner service, which I got from my mother. I also laid out the good silver. I only used the good silver for special occasions. I put all the candles I could find all over the lounge and on the table. It was a bit of a fire hazard. The smell from the oven filled the room as I surveyed my handy work. Both were pretty damn good.
After taking one more look around the area, I strolled into the kitchen and opened the oven. It smelt delicious. My mouth watered. I put my oven gloves on and took the casserole dish out. I removed the lid and checked to see how much longer she had to cook. Almost ready. I put Polly back in the oven without the lid so that she could brown. The skin had to be crispy.
Pierre would be home soon. That gave me just enough time to put on my little black number and make myself look irresistible. I threw a towel over Polly’s cage, poured myself a glass of wine and went into our bedroom to get ready. I put red lipstick on my lips and ran a brush through my hair.
I heard Pierre’s keys scrape against the door as he unlocked it.
“Babes I’m home,” he shouted from the entrance hall.
I stood against the bedroom doorpost with my glass of wine in my hand, trying to strike a seductive pose and waited for him to notice me. He walked out of the entrance hall and stopped dead in his tracks. I guess I had the required effect.
I pointed towards the dining room.
“I hope you’re hungry,” I said with a smile.
“I’m starved,” he said.
“Then be a good boy and have a seat while I get dinner.”
While he sat down, I retrieved Polly from the oven and returned to the table with a parrot casserole cooked to perfection. I put the dish on the table and poured Pierre a glass. He sniffed the air like a hunting dog on the scent of his prey. Strangely enough, this habit of his never used to annoy me but it bothered the hell out of me that night.
“So what’s the special occasion?” he asked me.
“Oh nothing, I just thought I’d spoil you for a change” I replied.
I handed him the carving knife and asked him to carve the bird. I must say that I did a damn fine job, the meat started to fall off the bone.
“I didn’t know you could cook this well,” Pierre said while he carved his precious little Polly.
“You’d be surprised what I can do when I’ve got the right motivation,” I said and smiled at him.
Pierre tucked into the meal. I could have sworn he’d never seen food before. About halfway through the meal, he looked up at me for the first time since he started hoovering the food down his gullet.
“Where’s Polly? She’s awfully quiet tonight?” He asked between mouthfuls.
“Don’t worry, she’s fine. She’s right where she belongs!”
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