Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Do You Cook a Parrot?

If you were going to name a female parrot, Zack would probably not be your first choice. Nevertheless, probably because it is so difficult for a layman to determine the sex of an exotic bird, Zack was the name of the of the female parrot that my family cared for when I was young.

I recently had a disturbing dream involving this parrot and my father.

I should explain that, throughout Zack's time with us, Zack and my father had a troubled relationship. Each time after Zack was liberated from her cage, it was my father’s duty to gather the poor bird and rustle her back to her cage. Armed with sharp wits that had been honed through countless hours of accounting, and, of course, oven mitts, my father would stalk the parrot and drive her toward her cage. If the mitts didn’t intimidate the bird into crawling into her cage, my father would grab Zack and thrust her bodily into her cage with a flurry of fluttering green feathers. Zack feared the gloves, but would often peck at them with the ferocious rage borne of an independent and rebellious spirit.

There was at least one incident where my father was dive-bombed by Zack. And, of course, the bird was smart enough to realize whenever my father was speaking on the phone. As soon as he picked up the receiver and began talking, Zack would begin to screech loudly at her greatest antagonist.

I had not thought of Zack for a long while until I had this dream. In this dream my father was holding Zack with his oven mitts. He smiled at me and said something like, “we’re going to eat well tonight.”

With that, my father placed Zack, feathers and all, in a big pot of boiling water on the stove.

I had three thoughts at this point. First, I immediately realized that parrot would taste like chicken. Second, I wondered if Zack’s beautiful green feathers would just fall out as she boiled or if my father should have plucked them first. Finally, I wondered if my father had bothered to wring Zack’s neck first or if she was boiling alive.

The answer to my final question came rather quickly in the next sequence of my dream. From beneath the boiling foam, I saw Zack push her beak pathetically at the lid in an attempt to move it aside. Then, when the lid was finally pushed aside, she feebly lifted her head and appeared to be succumbing to her imminent death. It was not until Zack’s hooked black beak had beak had been boiled thoroughly into a chalky white colour, that I knew that the bird was dead.

Then I woke up feeling both slightly disturbed and hungry for chicken.

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