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Budgie Volleyball

by Vicky Chapman, NSW, Australia


Brainy was a big, blue female budgie. I got her for my eighteenth birthday, and I knew I had a bird with attitude on my hands when she escaped from her cage and refused to go back in again for two days. While training her to get used to humans, I had to wear three pairs of socks on my hands as she bit hard enough to draw blood.

Brainy was a big bird. She had serious attitude. We thought if that she was a human, she'd be a big, butch sort of woman that went around in overalls and screaming about feminism. She drank beer to excess, the only way we could stop her dangling on the inside of the beer glass, drinking the beer, was to finish it off ourselves. She would come flying over whenever she heard the light "ping, fizz" of a beer bottle being opened, and would squawk like merry hell until she got some for herself. There was nothing that was going to stop her, and we often had to fish her out of the glass that she had drunkenly fallen into.

The BF of the time was also indulged in the whacky weed. Brainy would often steal the green stuff out of the "mull" bowl and eat it like a normal budgie eats lettuce or spinach. She'd wait around near the BF until he exhaled and flew through the billowing smoke cloud, going round and round through the cloud until she got a good enough high. After getting high, she'd spend the next half-hour bobbing up and down in front of her mirror, and then raid her seed bowl with incredible (if messy) passion once the munchies hit.

Her favourite game was "Flick". I don't know how it evolved, but she just loved being "flicked" on the beak. We'd flick, she'd squawk & flutter, and then "flick" back on our nails with her beak. She took on Shmoggleberry and won (see "How to Deal with Cats") and liked swooping at vulnerable and easily frightened guests.

She was very very fat as she would only get up the "botheredness" to fly if the was swooping at someone. Otherwise she walked pretty much everywhere, or demanded to be picked up so she could launch herself off our shoulders. We knew she could manage a ground-level takeoff, but she was just a beer swilling junkie that was too lazy to get off her arse unless it meant giving someone the fright of their lives.

We thought we should give her some exercise. She was getting very fat and very lazy and so we concocted a devious plan. As per usual, we picked her up off the floor, but instead of placing her on her favourite shelf, one of us threw her up to the middle of the room. Once she worked out that she was moving, she did begin to flap in search of a convenient roosting spot. But we didn't let her. Ex-BF stood at one end of the lounge, waving arms madly so she couldn't land. Seeing that any landing spots were out of her reach, she would turn around mid- flight to escape at the other end of the room, squawking all the way. Of course, I was at the other end, also waving madly, thus the game of Budgie Volleyball was invented. The aim of the game was to keep the bird in the air as long as possible.

The game ended when she decided that she was tired, and stopped trying to fly. Most birds would settle for a graceful landing somewhere in the middle of the loungeroom floor, but not Brainy (and this is why she was just named) she was just stopping in mid-flight and plummet to the ground. She would always land Ok, and once she had her breath back, she was back to being her Butch Brainy self.

Now for those of you who are a little concerned, once she worked out the game of Volleyball, she wanted to play it. She'd squawk and attempt to climb to our shoulders, launch herself off at high speed, flutter and squawk with delight until about half way across the room, where she would stop her dead, plummet to the floor and do the whole thing again until the ex-BF and I were prepared to play Budgie Volleyball with her.

She went to Rainbow Bridge in 1995, but you could tell she was giving Death himself the what-fors as she was passing through, she squawked like she was in the middle of the best game of volleyball ever as she was dying. Little thing nearly broke my heart, and her companion Budgie, Vomit, died just a few weeks later, of what I am convinced was a broken heart.


Editor's note:

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