“Johnny!” she shouted. Ann, for a change, was ready to go and here he was nowhere in sight. “Johnny!” she called her husband again. Still no answer.
He’d better not be messing with that bird again, she thought. He’d gotten the South African cockatiel or whatever it was three months ago and had been obsessed with it ever since. Always feeding and playing with it, letting it out the cage so it could walk up and down his arm.
Ann shivered. He’d set the bird on her shoulder unexpectedly once and she’d screamed and almost smooshed it like a bug. In the time since she’d wished several times she had, but she’d only issued the commandment that he never take it out around the baby.
Johnny had even missed work a few times to be with that bird. But after Ann had caught wind she’d threatened to send that ‘flying rat’ as she’d put it at the time, flying over an I-75 overpass.
The time wasn’t even the worst part. The bird was hideous. Warrant cockatiels supposed to be yellow? This one was in odd great Green purple color and it has almost no beak to speak of. And the few times she had actually tried engaging with the bird, to try to love it as her husband did (Ann actually did put forth effort–not like Johnny-sleep-at-the-opera--embarrassing!), she could have sworn she saw teeth lining its triangle of a beak.
It had beady soulless eyes, not that that was so different from any other bird, but they had luminescent rings that followed her around in the dark if Johnny forgot to cover its cage.
Ann slipped on an earring, intentionally stomping across the hardwood floor in her heels. It had been three months since they’d been out after dark and she had no intention on being late. Johnny’ s mother had the baby until tomorrow afternoon and Ann wanted to have a nice buzz by ten o’clock.
She stopped by the bottom of the stairs and listened. Not only was he ignoring her she couldn’t hear him even moving up there.
“Johnny, I’m going to leave without you!” She was steamed and let every ounce of it out in her voice. Ann stalked into the powder room to do one last make-up check. She outlined her mouth again and examined her lipstick a little longer and more closely than needed, hoping her husband would awaken from his avian fugue and get down here so they could leave.
Ann blew herself a kiss before turning sideways to see her profile in the red dress. She was hot, she had to give it to herself. The dress clung everywhere it was supposed to and hung loose everywhere else with just enough cleavage exposed. Not bad for a girl who’d popped out a baby a few months ago.
Ann walked into the kitchen for her clutch. The time on the microwave read seven-thirty three. All right, dammit, enough’ s enough. She turned for the stairs.
As she stomped her way up, she made sure to mumble loudly about him, the bird, and where he could shove it. She actually was speaking aloud, but wasn’t paying particular attention to the words coming out of her mouth.
“Maybe you can go to the party with your precious buh–” she began once she’d reached the top of the stairs. Their bedroom was immediately to her left and she’d turned into it and froze.
Johnny’s legs were sticking out of the closet, wearing the black slacks she’d asked him to wear and no socks on his bare feet. He didn’t appear to be moving.
“Johnny?” she said, all of the anger sucked out of her voice and replaced with trickling fear. She leaned slightly against the wall for just a moment before dashing to his side.
Johnny was only thirty years old. His father had a heart problem, he was much too young. She made him get it checked every year and he was always ‘fitter than a fifteen year old’ as he always said.
But there he was. Not moving.
She rushed to the closet, not wanting to see what she was bound to. Johnny had had a heart attack. She hoped it wasn’t too bad, that he’d only lost consciousness. But when she knelt by his side, slipping her hand into his, she saw the bird, still inside its cage–where his head should have been. He looked like he’d been dragged up to it, the ragged neck wound pressing into the bars where the cockatiel was casually nipping away.
Did you like that? Maybe you would like a few of my other stories. Try these.