Sunday, November 16, 2008

Budgie Bloodbath Blasphemy

This morning Monsieur Moose and I were having double half -caff cappuccinos at "Killing Grounds" (a Death Metal inspired coffee shop) talking about some of the odd things we have collected in our lifetimes, when he inquired about the origin of a small bejeweled onion-domed shaped crown I keep by the bed.
That was a long story I said, but being a good morning for rambling on and on, I told - or rather confessed- the story...
Years ago, my Great Grandmother Tick-Tock gave my mother a lovely 19th century statue of the Infant of Prague that she proudly displayed, as a good soldier of Christ does, on the dainty Louis Quatorze dressing table in her boudoir- a forbidden zone after my many attempts at recreating the Theda Bara look with her makeup.
By the way, did I tell you why everyone called my Great Grandmother "Tick-Tock"? Fine. I will tell you now.
In the entrance hall of her large Victorian house, there was a huge Comtoise clock that you could hear ticking and tocking no matter where you were in her enormous home, you just couldn't escape it. Many found this phenomenon quite unnerving, like some devilish Memento mori, but personally I loved it, it seemed comforting that the house had a kind of heartbeat, always having a strangely soothing effect on me, like when you put a wind up clock in a basket of puppies, except when you forget to turn off the alarm.
Our house, "Pickled Pines", was always a repository for family heirlooms, that's where my personal home decorating style comes from that I lovingly call "Delusions of Grandma", a mix of old and new, the tacky, trends and treasures.
As a child in the sixties, we were lucky enough to have a large enough dwelling to house not only my Parents, my Brother (Satan), Aida my Nanny and myself, but also a nice assortment of pets. There was Frosty the German Police dog, Brandy the mutt, Muffin the deaf Boston Terrier, Ladybugs the Chihuahua, Sandy-Suzy the Pomeranian, Jet the cross-eyed Siamese cat, Millicent Friendly the Alligator (named after the character from the game "Masterpiece"), several turtles, a few hundred tropical fish and a pair of budgies Chipper and Chipperette.
(Chipperette took Chippers name and were joined in holy matrimony in an elaborate wedding on the shag carpeting in the rumpus room one sunny June afternoon, the Most Reverend King Zor the dinosaur presiding, and although they also happened to be brother and sister, I also considered them to be reincarnated Egyptian royalty so it was not really an issue in the eyes of the Church of le Cornichon. )
The entire menagerie of pets got along swimmingly with one glaring exception, Chipperette and Sandy-Suzy. Their relationship was mercurial at best.
Sandy-Suzy the Pomeranian -named after Sandy Duncan and Suzy Perette, my Mom's favorite dress designer that made affordable versions of Parisian designs in the 1950s. (even at the tender age of 7, I was entranced at the Suzy Perette silhouette of cinched waist and full skirt that was extremely popular and a quality interpretation of Dior's famous “New Look", it gave my non existent figure the curves I coveted, on a budget that even my meager allowance at the time could handle)
It was quite a shock when my perfect Saturday morning "turned on a dime" and upon returning triumphantly from Shannon Fink's house where I had won several games of Stratego (did you know the origins of Stratego can be traced back to traditional Chinese board game "Jungle" also known as "Game of the Fighting Animals" (Dou Shou Qi) or "Animal Chess"? Well, now you know) waltzing into my bedroom like a victorious and crazed despot, my mood was quickly changed to that of shock and awe as I beheld carnage not unlike Dresden in '45.
The tall "Budgie Hi-Rize" cage was on its side with a smattering of blood and pinfeathers all covered with a light dusting of "Evening in Paris" fragrance powder that had previously rested on the night stand that now also rested on its side like French Provincial roadkill.
The statue of the infant of Prague -that I wasn't allowed to touch- whom I had been using as Godzilla to terrify the Troll dolls, met an untimely demise when Chipper was madly flying around the room and got tangled up in the monofilament that held a model of the USS Enterprise to the ceiling and came crashing down to the playroom floor taking out Godzilla of Prague in a blaze of feathers and perfumed talc. (Poor Chipper, he literally "went down with the ship" and after a lengthy convalescence he was no longer able to fly, but seemed to take great joy in hopping around everywhere.)
Besides a stunned Chipper, the room was a still as Grants tomb. No Chipperette. I darted into the hallway like an actress from a Roger Corman movie, stumbling over Jet the cat and crashing into the newel post on the stairway. Upon regaining consciousness, through my misty vision I saw Sandy Suzy standing only inches away with a rather angelic expression on her little face - and a bird foot poking out of the corner of her blood stained mouth.
After blacking out a second time, I woke to the sound of my Mother cooing and pressing a cool compress to my forehead with the sound of Aida at the helm of the trusty Hoover in my bedroom.
There was no punishment for my crime against the Church, yet the guilt of my prior deed was overwhelming.- In an attempt to console my grief and make me feel a little better, my Mom made a great big ham for dinner and Great Grandmother Tick-Tock sent me a little Infant of Prague of my own, I at once found it superior to Barbie, but it was alarming when the Infant of Prague's head came off, but happily to my relief I found out that it was a holy water bottle. ( I still use it to this day, but as a whiskey flask- I get such odd looks at the opera.) I secretly saved the crown from the Infant of Prague I had inadvertently broken, and before that evenings meal, I nestled it between the cloves on the ham, thinking that although the piggy had died for our supper, he was probably looking down from Heaven, happy in the knowledge that at least he got to wear a crown for his sacrifice.
That day I learned an important lesson- Happy is the Ham that wears the crown. Consider it a metaphor. Or something like that. Or not.

A toast to Chipper and Chipperette!
The Budgie Bomb
3 oz Absolut vodka
1 oz DeKuyper Cheri-Beri Pucker schnapps
8 oz lemonade
Fill a hurricane glass half-way with ice. Add the Absolut vodka and DeKuyper Cheri-Beri Pucker. Fill with lemonade, garnish with a bird foot and serve. Live long and prosper...
Yikes! It's King Zor!

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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man