A Right Pickle

A short story

Warning: questionable language alert.

I fix a smile and open the door.

‘Hi, Pol. Good holiday?’

‘Brilliant! Did Peter Piper miss his mummy?’

She flies to the birdcage, where a blue budgie bobs up and down in front of its mirror. Polly chirps, ‘Who’s a pretty boy, then?’

Blue Peter is silent.

‘Um… He’s missed you,’ I say. ‘He’s been quiet all week.’

It was blissfully quiet after he escaped, but I don’t mention that.

Polly tries again. ‘Peter Piper.’

I hold my breath.

‘Pick-a-pecker, pick-a-pecker.’

Polly cocks her head on one side. ‘He’s never said that before.’

‘Pity-boy, pity-boy’

‘He sounds different.’

It sounds like a flaming budgie, for heaven’s sake!

I relive the trauma: the open window; the baited birdcage and the sparrows; the shops scoured for a bird the exact shade; and the hours spent repeating, ‘Who’s a pretty boy?’ and, ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’.

‘I must get on,’ says Polly, handing me a duty-free carrier and lifting the cage.

On the doorstep, she turns. ‘Thanks for looking after him so well.’

‘Bollocks,’ says Peter.

Her eyebrows rise.

Dropping from the sky, a ragged blue budgie lands on the cage she is holding.

‘Peter Piper pickled peppers.’

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12 thoughts on “A Right Pickle

      1. Funnily enough, my very first pet was a blue budgie called Joey. He was given to me by a friend’s mother who had just bought her a kitten. the bird was then surplus to requirements, I guess, and was a comfort present to me as we were moving house and area…again. The bird was so fat it could hardly waddle, so I gave him lots of exercise dragging his cage mirror around on the carpet and he would waddle after it, chattering away. He was a dear little thing. By sheer coincidence, the pet we have now is a ‘blue’ but a (grey) cat, whose name is Joey, and we have decided already that he will be the last pet we have as we aren’t too sure how long we have left ourselves, and wouldn’t want to leave another animal to the mercy of strangers.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I, too, did the sums before we bought Smidgeon and Ruff. I hadn’t planned on having any more puppies, but rehoming kennels’ staff sucked their teeth when we mentioned grandchildren. And my kids are all dog-friendly.

    Liked by 1 person

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