No Calling Birds, Either

, , , , | Working | January 11, 2018

A few Christmases back, I decided to get my wife a bird. She already had a female finch, so I was going to get her a male one of that particular variety so she’d have a breeding pair.

About ten days before Christmas, I go to the big chain pet store in town, purchase the bird, a cage, food, and so forth, and take it to my office to spend the days up until Christmas. When I come into work in the morning, I find the bird dead on the floor of the cage. I take it back to the pet store, explain what happened. The guy says that birds are sometimes fragile, this happens, apologizes, and gives me a new male finch. I take it to my office, clean and sterilize the cage in case there’s something viral, read up more carefully on bird care, install the new little guy, and proceed, enjoying having a bird by my side while I work.

The next morning… dead bird again. I take it back, and the guy is a bit huffy, but gives me another one. I also buy bottled water and a different brand of food, just to be safe. On the way back to the office, I buy one of those smoke detectors that detects carbon monoxide and gas leaks, and at the last minute, decide instead to take it to stay at a neighbor’s house.

The next morning, I get into the office. The detector’s clean. I’m getting to work, and the phone rings. It’s the neighbors. Guess who’s dead? So, I take it back to the store, the guy refunds my money, tells me I’ve run through his entire stock, and icily tells me not to come back, ever. I icily tell him I’m not in the market for near-dead finches.

I get on the phone, and locate a store that has what I need, although forty-five miles away, and go get it. I take the FOURTH finch back to my office, get it set up, and the next morning… LIVE finch! Hooray!

The time passes till Christmas Eve with the finch happily singing in my office, and I take it home. I smuggle it into the house, and give it to one of the kids with sotto voce instructions to hide it in his closet. About an hour later, he comes down to get me, in tears, and leads me up to his room. Pieces of the cage, and an assortment of feathers, is strewn around the room, with a smug cat sitting there and no sign of the finch.

My wife never did get that finch. I guess sometimes it’s inferior merchandise, sometimes it’s a clueless customer, and sometimes, fate just decides somebody’s not going to get a finch for Christmas.

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