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Gene Royer

Gene Royer is a staunch conservative. He is also a Policy Governance ® consultant and writer. He is the author of School Board Leadership 2000 - The Things Staff Didn't Tell You At Orientation and his international practice is based in Houston

    by Gene Royer

    July 14, 2003

    My gay Filipino neighbors, Luis and Whatshisname, have a very talented parrot named Parotika. She is green, of course, but with a nice, red crown and a few red feathers in her tail and wing tips. They've had her for the six years I've known them, and Luis told me she is only about ten. She eats a special bird food mixture, as well as raw veggies such as carrots, lettuce and broccoli.

    She stays in a large cage in their bathroom, and they wheel her out onto their patio on warm days so she can enjoy the out-of-doors and visit with the other birds that drop by. She has a vast vocabulary of words and sounds, and I have often heard her vocalizing in both Spanish and English--albeit with a lisp.

    Last year during Gay Pride Week the boys boarded Parotika at a local veterinarian clinic that takes care of birds and animals while their owners are on vacation, but this year they asked me if I would mind keeping her while they were gone. My wife and I thought it would be a hoot, so we cleared a spot in the guest bathroom for the cage and told them to bring her over.

    Her first day with us was uneventful, as she sat in her cage and sized up the situation of having a houseful of cats roaming around giving her the eye. However, Day-Two began in the wee hours with her calling out from the bathroom: "Hello-o. Hello-o. Hello-o".

    I got up and went to see what was going on. "Hello-o", she said as I walked in. I said hello back, and she said hello again. I responded. It was not a productive conversation. I got her some chunks of carrot and went back to bed.

    About an hour later I was again awakened--this time by the sound of water dripping. Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. I got up and went to check.

    The sound was coming from the guest bathroom, but when I went inside to check the faucets, I found nothing wrong. Drip, drip, drip, drip, it continued. I looked around. Mygod! The bird was making dripping noises. Apparently the bathroom in which she was kept had a leaking faucet, and she had learned to emulate the sound. "Drip, drip, drip," she said.

    I told her to knock it off and back to bed.

    That was when I heard the toilet flush.

    Could it be, I asked myself? Yes, it could, and it was. Not only did she do faucets, but she also did toilets. I closed the door.

    The parrot's powers of inanimate mimicry are amazing. Over the next five days I answered the dead phone a dozen times, responded to nonexistent visitors ringing the doorbell, was constantly told "You have mail," and had to put up with the replicated voices of Luis and Whatshisname singing in the shower.

    She also sang songs from the Mexican TV channel, whistled the Andy Griffith theme and did a fair imitation of Paul Harvey. By week's end she had been relegated to a closed storeroom with towels stuffed under the door to muffle the sound. Even my cats stayed away, and I began to wonder if Gay Pride Week would ever end.

    Finally, the two little guys returned--all chirpy from their week's vacation. They were eager to see Parotika and immediately reached in for her and uttered their "Coochie-coos". Parotika flapped her wings and said, "Coochie-coo" right back. It was a happy reunion.

    I asked them why they had decided to leave her with me instead of taking her to the vet clinic. They each made sour faces and told me the last time they left her there the clinic people taught her bad habits. And then, as if exactly on cue, Parotika uttered the condemning evidence: "Polly want a blowjob?"

    © 2003 Tocqevillian Magazine