Tweetie
Mid 80's

When I was a kid, like around 13 or 14, my best friend was Tim. Tim lived in my neighborhood, a suburb of Denver, and we both had a mutual love for Star Wars. We played lots of Star Wars with each other. It was our favorite thing to do. His family was pretty much white trash. Their home was always a pig pen, they were all foul-mouthed and dirty, and had me over for Mac & Cheese family dinners regularly.

One time when I wasn't around, Tim had injured a pigeon throwing rocks at it. He felt bad, took the bird home and his dad made him keep it so he would learn a lesson caring for the pathetic thing. They also had this dog named Mercy that they kept in the back yard, and the pigeon would always harass the dog to the point where Tim was forced to keep the bird in his bedroom. That's right, in his room, with no cage, just flapping around on his bed, and dressers, and his piles of dirty clothes. It got to the point where he basically surrendered his room to the bird, and Tim just started sleeping on the living room sofa.


So they named the bird Tweetie after the Looney Toons character. I'd mentioned they were White Trash, right? It wasn't long before Tim and his family stopped going into Tweetie's room, and eventually it just became a scary room that pigeon sounds came from.

TIm would mostly come over to my house to play, but every so often we'd go to Tim's. One day during our Star Wars play I wanted to use Tim's Tie Fighter. Tim told me it was in the room. The Tie Fighter was in Tweetie's room. A chill went up my spine. The pigeon's coos from that room had simply become a staple of the household, and it wasn't until mention was made of it that its call would become deafening. Even taunting.

Tim told me he knew exactly where the spaceship was in his room. "It's on the dresser at the back of the room on the left hand side, just sitting there."
The deal was, if I went in there to get it then the ship was mine to play with. My characters got ownership of that ship. It was agreed.


I knew the layout of the room from back in the day when the room was his. I knew I could probably make the dash with my eyes shut and a hand covering my mouth. The window was covered with a blanket to keep the bird from seeing daylight and flying into the glass. I wasn't allowed to even peek in through the door to assess the situation because Tweetie would try to escape if it saw the light. This meant that the second I entered the room Tim would shut the door behind me to prevent its escape. Then when he heard me running back to the door he'd open it just in time for me to leap through. We even rehearsed the plan in an adjacent room so that we would know the exact second to open it. I had no worries about him joking around and not opening the door once I was in there. We both knew the seriousness of this mission. We were trusted pals. We were also obsessed with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this was our Ark of the Covenant, and Tim was now in charge of the escape hatch. I put one hand on the knob, the other over my nose and mouth, and I remember Tim looking at me, saying "Good luck."

So I pushed open the door and immediately heard that bird flapping around the room stirring up feathers in every direction. I raced through the feather fog to the dresser on the other side of the room, careful not to trip on anything and fall into the feathers and pigeon shit that had accumulated over the weeks and months. You know how when a pigeon's flapping its wings it makes that cooing noise as its pumping its wings? That's what I remember. I remember the swirl of feathers with the flapping and cooing. I grabbed that toy ship, spun around and bolted back for the door. As I got close to my escape I felt a bird wing graze my ear to which I let out a girlish yelp! Tim was right on the money, the door opened the second I got to it. Then he slammed it behind me as I burst out, Tie Fighter in hand. The next hour was spent reliving the horrific event while we scrubbed bird shit and feathers off the ship in the bathroom sink.

 

Several months later Tim and I got into high school and stopped talking to each other. We'd each gone our separate ways, and the jump from junior high to high school has a way of dividing old friendships. A couple years later I ran into Tim and I asked him whatever became of Tweetie. As it turned out, that bird was still there, in the room. They'd tried a few times to set Tweetie free, but it always found its way back and harassed their dog.

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