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The Eclectic Pen - AND IN THE CENTER RING……………………

By: Barbara C.  
Date Submitted: 1/29/2009
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 491


Bob took his supplies home to his apartment, and got the large cage and everything else set up perfectly, and then returned to the pet store to pick up his new bird. Cheeky had been sold to the pet store because his former owner had become frail and could no longer care for him.

The pet store owner had said he could talk, but so far Bob hadn’t heard a word. They spent a quiet evening together with Cheeky maintaining silence while Bob fed him tidbits through the bars.

The next morning, midway through his first cup of coffee, Bob was startled to hear:

“If you ever tell anyone what you saw, I’ll kill you.”

Cheeky repeated it over and over again until Bob was thoroughly creeped out.

He left his apartment and decided to by his Mom’s work to ask what she thought about Cheeky’s very suspicious one liner.

“Good morning, Elsa---would you happen to know what room my Mom’s in?”

“Hi Bob” the receptionist said “I think she’s in 304 or 305.”


He found her in 304.

“Hi honey—meet Mr. Ellison”

“Hi Mr. Ellison--- how’s it going?”

“Well, obviously it’s been better.” The man in the wheelchair said with a sardonic smile.

While his Mom worked, Bob filled her in about Cheeky’s homecoming and the creepy phrase that he said over and over.

Mr. Ellison began to guffaw until tears ran freely down his lined face.

“Bob,” he said between bouts of laughter “would you get that tape off the shelf over there and shove it into the VCR for me?”.

Bob put the tape into the VCR, a little annoyed at the old man’s inappropriate intrusion.

“Watch”. Ellison instructed.

There were several outtakes of a circus in progress---the main tent, the barker outside, Uncle Sam on stilts. Bob wondered what the hell they were watching this for when Ellison repeated again “Watch.”

The tape segued to the inside of one of the tents, and a table in the center ring. On the table was what appeared to be a dollhouse with the walls cut away so the crowd could see into all the rooms. In the “kitchen” parakeet in tiny apron, was busy at a sink, whistling a tune and washing dishes, placing them into a dish drainer. Suddenly the exterior door crashed down, and an African Grey parrot wearing a little bandit’s mask, and carrying a barbell in his beak, stormed over to the parakeet and bashed her in the head with it. The parakeet fell over on her side playing dead. The Grey dropped the cloth barbell and furtively picked up some silverware off the table, just as a clown appeared, looming over the top of the dollhouse and staring in painted faced horror at the scene. The Grey cocked his head toward the clown and said
“If you ever tell anyone what you saw, I’ll kill you.”

The crowd erupted into delighted laughter and applause.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Barbara C.

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