The International Writers Magazine: Not Bedtime Stories
Parakeets or Parents?
After pestering Daddy for a very long time we got a pair of Parakeets and put them into a small fluorescent blue cage. They had a swing hanging from the center of the cage and a perch little above the floor of the cage. Their water pipe and dishes placed opposite to each other.
Daddy placed the cage beside our window so that they wouldn’t be deprived of sunshine.
Daddy and Mommy always went to parties. I would roam around the house in my frock and Hello Kitty flip-flops wondering how to kill time. Once I moved the sofa away from the wall and doodled on the stark white wall. I moved the sofa back in place before my parents arrived, to avoid their noticing of the colourful canvas that had been vacant prior to my artwork.
Mommy didn’t notice it for two months. She only noticed it when the house was being whitewashed.
Dad said it looked like abstract art and anyway the house was being whitewashed.
Until then they had thought that I only watched TV in their absence. Are you kidding me?? Yes, sometimes I did get to watch scenes which helped me know things much earlier than kids my age. But how could someone watch so much TV and not go nuts?
After the doodling on the wall incident, another day I was so bored that I walked around the house naked. I was surprised that I didn’t feel conscious at all. I almost wished that all the non-living things around me had eyes. That stunt of mine was busted also. I had no idea my parents had installed CCTV cameras in the house for security purposes right after the whitewashing of walls at home.
Finally I told Daddy that I needed a distraction. A sibling for company. He slapped me saying I was becoming too demanding. The slap stung because I knew he wasn’t angry with me but with Mom for some reason. Mom and Dad were good at misdirecting their pent-up anger towards me.
But then Dad relented and bought me the birds instead to keep me company. Mom was totally against it but we got it anyway and she hated me all the more.
I was so dizzy with happiness that I never left the side of the cage.
One rainy evening, Mommy and Daddy left me at home as usual and now that I had the birds they didn’t feel any guilt at leaving me home alone, not that they did regret leaving me alone before. You know, children can tell.
The curtains in the hall were drawn shut and the lights were also off. It looked like a cave.
I was sitting very close to the cage. At first the birds seemed terrified of my proximity but then as the darkness around sneaked its long white fingernails into the spaces between the bars of the cage the bird pair transformed into my parents.
I blinked. They had switched identities indeed.
Dad started swearing at Mom.
‘You bitch! Your daughter will turn into a whore just like you!’
Mom feigned causality, yawned and stretched her wings.
‘At least she won’t be impotent like you.’
Dad flew and pinned her to the floor of the cage with his claws.
The leftover bird seed coats on the floor scattered due to the motion.
Mom squawked, ‘That’s all you can do! Try to show your lack of manhood through violence! Isn’t your impotency enough to prove your incapability as a man??’
I first thought they were mating but then again I didn’t even know the meaning of the words they had said. I remembered watching a similar scene in an adult movie.
After the struggle all became still, Mom was dead. Her beak partially parted gave her the appearance that she wanted to say something but couldn’t. Her claws looked helpless like they were reaching out for my hands. Her beak partially parted gave her the appearance that she wanted to say something but couldn’t. Her claws looked helpless like they were reaching out for my hands.
I looked away at the window. I parted the curtains a bit with my thumb and index finger. I could see thunder and lightning. I pulled a stool close to the window and sat watching the wrath of the sky to avoid gaining sadistic pleasure from seeing my Mom’s corpse.
When the storm calmed down, so did I.
I picked up the cage by its handle on the top and kept it in the middle of our balcony and retrieved a match box. I had practiced striking a match while watching TV in all my free time. Multi-tasking is fun.
I looked into the cage. Dad was weeping over Mom’s corpse. I let the lit match slip through the bars of the cage. I watched them burn.
That was my first case of arson.
Wait. Or second?
Which was first?
Parents or Parakeets?
© Michelle D'costa December 2013
It was time for my family to look for marriage proposals for me. Amma decided that only a job would get me a girl. A job that paid. Something. Anything.
Seema slathered bathing gel onto her calloused palms. Oh! How much she craved these hours of solace. She had to be quick though there was still an hour to go before he would arrive.
April Fools’ Day
You know you are damned if your family follows every single freaking special DAY of the year.
For you my child, with love...
Baby, my friends had always called me ‘Weird’ you know. I was never ashamed of it.
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