Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cleveland the Parrot

It's the beginning of parrot season. My fancy-pants neighbor has a big green parrot named Cleveland who swears at me, all summer long. Cleveland sits on a perch in a screened-in-porch that faces my house and waits for me to make an appearance. As soon as I leave my door, he starts in with his tirades. I honestly think it might be the neighbor who is doing the swearing and then blaming it on the parrot. He denies this, but there are times when I can't see the parrot's beak move, even when he's in the middle of calling me a day-old turd (his favorite insult).

And when I return his insults, it only heightens his tirades. Last week, we got into a shouting match that ended with him screeching about the size of my manhood, repeating "little pecker, little pecker," until I gave up and walked away.

Lately, I've been sneaking out the back door and making my way through the bushes on the non-parrot side of my house and then making a run for my car. The other day, when I thought I'd evaded his insults and was getting into my car, I could hear a distant squawky voice calling me a "Dilly Bar." I'm not sure what that means, but I don't think it's a compliment.

The only real peace I get is during the winter when Cleveland is put inside the house, and even then he sits on a perch in a window, watching me. Sometimes when it's snowing, I pelt the window with a snowball, just to let him know that I haven't forgotten our feud. I've spoken to Cleveland's owner, but he says that Cleveland's former owner had a tavern and that's where he picked up his salty language. I'm not sure I believe him, as once, during one of Cleveland's fits, Mr. fancy pants was crouched down on the floor of the porch, and when I said hello, he stood up and claimed he was checking a bad floorboard. "Can't be careful enough about these things," he said. It got me thinking that Cleveland never squawks while fancy pants is speaking, lending credence to the theory that Cleveland's voice is his owner's.

I've tried approaching the porch and talking sense with Cleveland, but the porch floor is built about three feet off the ground, leaving me in the submissive position of looking up at him. Anyway, he simply ignores my conciliatory demeanor and sees it as a chance to belittle me with a streak of swear words. Once, while I was watering my lawn, Cleveland started in on me and I squirted him pretty good with the hose, getting the porch and it's contents wet in the process. Later, Mrs. fancy pants appeared and yelled at me (in a tone accompanied by language similar to Cleveland's), admonishing my watering ability. I apologized, but she retreated back into the house and slammed the door after her, prompting Cleveland to break into a fit of hysterics.

My current tactic, when I'm not sneaking out the back door, is to snub Cleveland, suffering his insults in silence, but late at night I find myself thinking of comebacks to his verbal assaults. I've got quite a stockpile and don't know how much longer I can hold back. I've written many of them down, figuring I have the power of the pen on my side. Cleveland doesn't know it yet, but I'm making plans.

I found a recipe for parrot stew in a South American Indigenous People's cookbook, but I don't think parrots can read, so my plan is to read the recipe out loud to him. I got some poster board and drew a picture of a cooking fire and a big stew-pot with a squawking green parrot's head sticking out the top. If the snubbing doesn't work (and it appears not to be working), after reading the recipe, I'm going to place the picture on my lawn where Cleveland can see it.

This is only the beginning. It's early in the summer and things are ratcheting up.