Tuesday, September 1, 2009

sir beak the blunt

I've got a new pet, and his name is Sir Beak the Blunt.

He is a kookaburra, and he lives outside my window. His favorite hobby is bashing his head into my window as hard as he can, then flapping down slightly and trying again. My favorite hobby is watching.

It's amusing when he picks my window (he's coming in for it, in for it, in for WHAM!!), but even more amusing when he picks my neighbor's. In that case, I can't actually see the collision; I merely catch sight of a startled clump of tail feathers rapidly reversing from what appears to be a brick wall. Dear little Beaky.

He's got a lot of gumption. Rather low on grey matter, but he makes up for (well, some of) it in sheer tenacity. He tries, tries and tries again at that window. It hasn't given way yet, but one day, he clearly reasons, it will. It's merely a matter of time.

He is, you see, an Adventurer of the High Skies, boldly going where no kookaburra has gone before. He will eventually emerge victorious, the Magellan of the sky, but even grander for he seeks to navigate through the uncharted, not merely around it. His name will be truly great; his blunted beak a relic for generations to come.

Sometimes he wearies of his grand adventuring, though, and stops for a quick sit on my outer windowsill. I think he is hoping I will invite him for tea and meat, but if you've ever come to visit me, you'll know that my fridge is not exactly bursting with beef. It's not that I don't eat meat, it's more that I don't cook it myself. I don't think Beaky, unlike other houseguests I could name, would actually mind this distinction, but seeing as I don't keep it raw simply in case I get the bi-annual urge to bake, I really haven't got anything to offer him.

I am a sociable sort, though, so I like to engage him in conversation. It's generally, like his relationship with the window, rather one-sided, but I like to think it refreshes each of us. It goes something like this:

"Hello there, Beaky. You just can't beat that glass, can you? I know. It's awful, isn't it? But chin up, Beaky; perhaps one of these days you'll make it."

My brother was visiting recently and interjected that it would really be much easier for dear Beaky if I opened the window for him, but, really now, where's the fun in that? (Engineers are so practical.) He's got to get through it for himself or he just won't get no satisfaction now, will he?

No, I like things just the way they are, particularly now that I've realized the giant crashes I hear regularly are not actually intruders coming to murder me in my sleep, as I mistook his vociferous wallops for the first several times I heard them.

Now, you see, we are friends. We make deals: he won't frighten me in my sleep, and I won't frighten him in his. He won't watch me when I change my clothes, and I won't watch him when he changes his. (My window, as perhaps you've gathered, is not as yet blessed with curtains.)

Today as Beaky sat opposite me he grandly spread his feathers, puffing himself up in what I believe he took to be intimidation. (Sometimes he forgets that we're friends.) I smiled back, which only annoyed him as fear and trembling were the reactions he sought. He consoled himself with a particularly undignified bash into the glass. This time I laughed outright.

Now, you mustn't think I'm mean to Beaky. (You'd laugh, too, if it happened to your kookaburra.) I offer him lots of good advice. For instance, I tell him that he'd really have a much easier time with screens and that the glass really won't give way, but that I'll be back the same time tomorrow if he'd like to try again. A friend in need, after all, is a friend indeed.

My flatmate tells me Beaky has got himself another friend, too, and one with a few more feathers in her cap than I. I'm not jealous, though. In fact, I've decided to name her, too: Lady Brain the Blunt. I think Beaky and Brainy'll suit each other admirably, though I'm not quite sure they'll be getting any "Proud parents of an honors chick" stickers to adorn their nest. But who really needs prestigious progeny when one has a window to wipe out in?

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