Caught Red Feathered

“I can’t ducking believe it,” thought Sumi, in her pirate-themed cage, as the Cooke family solemnly made their way through the front door of the house. All in black, weeping.

“No, Danny can’t be dead,” she thinks, as doubt begins to fill her little mind. But it is a possibility. The last time she saw Danny, her owner, the grayed 60-something year-old man appeared weak and frail, coughing repeatedly as he lightly cleaned Sumi’s cage and fed her cashews from his cupped hand. His fingers had trembled and they slipped between his fingers.

The smell of bourbon and cigarettes came to Sumi’s mind as she thought of him. Long ago when he found her inside a wet, moldy cardboard box in the alley of his local bar. In all the years he kept and cared for her, he never pressured her to sing or do silly tricks. Now, he’s gone.

“Who will be my owner!? What’s going to happen? What about my cashew-ees?” Sumi thought in distress. She paced back and forth, the cage swaying left to right from its chain.

The family by now has settled in the old, caramel couches, wiping their faces. The men looked sternly as the women began to arrange the eateries for the wake. Michelle just sat there, in the center singular barcalounger. Sumi looked at Danny’s wife in disgust, knowing this gold-digging son-of-a-Blue-Jay was only ever with him for his money.

Sumi’s feathers chilled at the thought of remaining in just Michelle’s care. For the two years she and Danny were engaged, whenever her spouse wasn’t near, Michelle would close into Sumi’s cage and whisper all the horrible things she would do to her. “I will throw you away like the annoying, uncooked chicken you are!” After that Sumi barely drank water or ate at the fear of the wife poisoning it.

Sumi’s thinking was interrupted as two of Danny’s youngest nieces, Lisa and Charlie, began rattling her cage.

“Hey, quit it, you two!” Sumi yelled at them in her head. “Can’t you see I’m in mourning?”

“Girls, stop it!,” reprimanding the twins. Lisa, their mother and Danny’s sister-in-law, as she came quickly from the kitchen. As she shooed them away, Sumi was cawing her head off, the most common way birds curse out obnoxious, overly curious humans. From the background, Michelle shot a stern look at her.

“Shhh, calm down there, Sumi,” said Lisa. “Man, can’t believe you’re still alive.” As she mumbled off to herself back to the kitchen, Sumi’s worry only grew.

“I can’t be given away, I’m not one of them. One of those puny birds left to rot in the pound!” She thought to herself, a plan beginning to boil in her mind. “I can’t leave, I have a home and my toys, who will take care of Alley the Whale?” She pecked at her whale plushie.

“She’s cheating on him, you know.”

This stopped Sumi in her tracks. She keyed on the murmurs coming from the kitchen, voices low and hushed.

“Karen from church told me, some lawyer in the city she sees on the weekends. Why do you think she’s never home? Danny always sayin’ she’s on vacation, but I knew it was a lie,” said one woman.

“Oh quit your gossip!”

“But it’s true! She only stayed with him for the money.”

A surprised gasp was exclaimed by all involved.

“Ladies, enough,” said Lisa, her tone determined to stop the conversation altogether. “Even if this rumor, which is what it is – a rumor – no one says anything to the brothers. Those three would leave that woman on the streets if they found out she was unfaithful.”

Now, Sumi had a plan. Tell the brothers. Danny’s three younger siblings were the rowdiest of them all.

“But how?” she thought. “I can only sing.” The one regret Sumi had was that Danny never heard her talk like normal parrots do. Like the parrots she sees in the silvery box thing with pictures. But now was the time. The streets or her lovely cage.

“It’s Michelle or Me.”

As the family began their goodbyes, Sumi got on her two feet, braced her wings and inhaled.

“She’s cheating on him. Caw-Caw! Cheating! Caw-Caw!”

They stopped in their tracks, as Michelle’s face turned pale. The brothers’ ears and face blushed by rage. A sense of pride fell over Sumi at her success. She couldn’t stop.

“She’s cheating! Caw-Caw! Cheating! Caw-Caw! Lawyer! Caw-Caw!”

Sumi did it. She caught her red-feathered.