Thursday, May 14, 2020

Microstory 1364: Budge

Co-Anchor: Thank you for tuning in this morning. I hope you’re already having a great day. Our first guest lives just outside of Hillside, and she has a special treat for us. Why don’t you introduce yourself, and your little friend?
Budgie Owner: Hello, I’m Budgie Owner, and this is my budgie, Kaleidoscope. I call him Kale for short, though. Say good morning, Kale!
Kale: [...]
Co-Anchor: Aww, is he shy?
Budgie Owner: I guess he is. I’m sorry, he’s not usually like this. Say hi, Kale!
Kale: Hi, Kale!
Budgie Owner: There we go. Good bird, Kale. Here, have a treat.
Kale: Thank you!
Co-Anchor: Aw, that’s adorable. Now, I understand that Kale does a lot more than just say a few words, right?
Budgie Owner: That’s right. I’m a retired engineer, and I rigged my house with a bunch of pulleys, levers, and other simple machines. The mechanisms are really sensitive, and easy to maneuver, so Kale here can actually do a lot of things for me. He can open doors, and crack the window. He can turn off the lights, and even start the coffee before I wake up.
Co-Anchor: And does he? Does he do that unprompted?
Budgie Owner: He has his own little alarm clock next to where he sleeps that chirps at him. It gives him enough time to start my coffee, yes. Don’t worry, though. He’s not my slave. He’s my best friend. I don’t make him do anything that’s too hard for him, or that he doesn’t like.
Co-Anchor: That’s lovely. So, he doesn’t live in a cage?
Budgie Owner: Oh no, birds aren’t meant to live in cages. He flies freely in and out of the house.
Co-Anchor: He always comes back, though, right?
Budgie Owner: Well, when I say he flies out of the house, I really just mean around the house. He doesn’t go exploring in the woods, or anything. There are a lot of predators out there, so neither of us wants him going too far. He just likes to feel the sun in his face sometimes. He always waits for me to open the door for him, and makes sure to stay in my line of sight.
Co-Anchor: I imagine clean up is quite a bit of work, if he can do his business wherever, instead of in a cage.
Budgie Owner: He has a special area for that. I’ve trained him to return to what I call his throne when he needs to do that. He’s very intelligent, as all parakeets are.
Co-Anchor: Are parakeets and budgies the same thing?
Budgie Owner: They are, it’s just a different name. I use them interchangeably.
Co-Anchor: Great. So, you have a demonstration for us?
Budgie Owner: Yes, the station has been kind enough to recreate the bare bones of my living room, and I’m gonna have Kale do a few tricks for you.
Co-Anchor: That’s wonderful. Whenever you’re ready.
Budgie Owner: Okay. I’m setting you down now, Kale. Go ahead. Breezy. Kale, breezy! Breezy!
Co-Anchor: And that’s a codeword?
Budgie Owner: Yes, that’s supposed to prompt him to open the window, to let some air in.
Co-Anchor: Perhaps he knows this isn’t really his house.
Budgie Owner: Oh, he definitely does, but we were just practicing before you went on the air. I’m not sure what’s made him so shy. He loves to perform, even for strangers. I just can’t get him to budge.
Co-Anchor: Ah, budge. I get it. Well, we’re going to go to a commercial break, and when we come back, I’m sure Kale will be more than ready to show us what he’s made of.

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