Girls, ladies, women folk, Mrs, Miss and even bloody Ms which is impossible to even attempt to say without looking and sounding like a complete twonk, I am going to tell you about my bird. My pet cockatiel bird, that is, not my girlfriend type bird, touchy.
Anyway, I’m going to tell you about her, about our story, me and my bird, and you girls will weep buckets. Lots of men will too and not only the gay ones. Face it fellows, we cry at toilet roll adverts and women get drunk and kick bloke’s heads in outside curry houses before puking and passing out in the gutter. It’s a topsy-turvy world, lads. Oh yes. But if Naomi Campbell spat on my face or punched me, I would slap her good and hard. A line must be drawn somewhere.
Anyway, I was walking home from a shopping trip on my birthday in 2003. It was February the twelfth, should you wish to put notes in your diaries re cards and expensive gifts. I had been broke for a long time and having had a small windfall, and as I was starting to look like a hobo, and given it was my birthday (Feb 12th) and as I was alone with no family or friends and would be getting sod all from anyone, not so much as a cake nor a candle, I decided to treat myself to a few new togs. Items of apparel, don’t you know Mary Poppins.
Well, on the way back from my shopping trip, I was passing my local pub and feeling a bit sad and lonely, I decided to pop in for a beer. It was a wet, cold, very grey, blustery day and the warmth of the pub seemed as good a refuge as any and I thought a little company may just raise my spirits too. And it was my bloody birthday (12th Feb in case I haven’t mentioned it). I deserved a drink.
Inside I found the middle-aged owner with a face like his poodle had just died from being cooked in a sad but funny chinese restaurant misunderstanding, two blokes who had clearly been killed by their first sip of warm bitter and a sleeping dog. There was no music, the heating wasn’t high enough to keep the chill out, leaving the place colder than the pint in front of me and the landlord was amusing himself by scrolling through teletext on the TV over the bar. Definitely no dancing-girls or even any jolly cockney banter. Happy birthday, Tony, I thought, welcome to hell’s waiting room.
Ten minutes into all this frivolity but before the froth had died on my pint of chemicals, the door swung open – like a scene from some hammer horror film – and swept by rain, wet leaves and burger wrappers, this guy popped his head in and said:
“There’s a parrot out here”.
I looked at the dead men in the corner, misery behind the bar looked at me, the dog woke up and looked at all of us, and our eyes all said the same thing – he has got to be taking the flipping michael!
“No, really,” the bloke said, obviously hearing the disbelief our eyes were saying. “There’s a parrot out here”.
So I said, go on then, I’ll fall for it and walked outside.
Get the tissues out boys, this is the first tearful bit. I’m going already and I’ve heard it before.
On the wet pavement huddled this bedraggled, sodden, shivering little mite and being a big soft touch my heart went out to her. I realised she was all in and wouldn’t see out the night, so I scooped her up, took her inside and put her into an empty crisp box supplied by mine host. After downing my birthday pint in one and bandaging my fingers and stemming the blood from her frantic beak attacks, I took her home.
At first I cobbled together a cage out of a big cardboard box with thin sticks for bars. Then, a couple of days later, I built her quite a cool cage out of scavenged stuff – a kitchen cupboard, a bamboo bookcase and twigs from the local park – mainly doing so because I still had flip all money and couldn’t afford a cage. I could buy a “proper” one now, but she seems happy in her modified cupboard so why disturb her? I still don’t have much cash anyway and my birthday has just been and gone again (Feb 12th), and I needed my few pennies for a celebratory packet of biscuits and a pint of meths.
She has been with me now for over 11 years. She has gone from a depressed, skinny, half tail-less and mistrustful bird, to a happy, cocky little nut case. Mostly she is to be found on my shoulder, nibbling at my ears. She loves me she does. So she bloody should. Be dead if it wasn’t for me…
She comes and goes as she pleases from her cupboard cage and has the run of the place. A ceaseless flow of bird poo and several million molted feathers are my enemy!
Her name is B.B.
B.B. stands for Birthday Bird.
She just whistled to me.
If you’re not crying by now, you’re a hard-hearted cow. Yes, you too Kirk! I know you’re not gay, just stop blubbering.
And no I’m not homophobic, before anyone starts chucking their toys out of their pram. Arachnophobic yes, homophobic no. So if you are gay, but refrain from growing eight legs and scuttling across my carpet, I have no problem with you. Otherwise, it’s the rolled up newspaper for you my gay leggy friend.
If she and I survive for another 2 years, BB will become my longest ever relationship. Well, apart from my childhood cat, Ginger, who was also rescued from the street, but by my equally soft-hearted dad. Ginger, linked with my mother’s maiden name, makes my porn star name “Ginger King”. Just thought you’d like to know that.