April 16, 2013

No. 357

Douglas bought the bird on a whim.
He’d seen the sign staked in a yard on his way home from work. The deal was quickly negotiated and now Douglas was the proud owner of a small green parrot named Willy.   
They eyed each other suspiciously on the ride to Douglas’ house. When they arrived, Douglas set Willy’s cage on the couch and opened the door. Immediately, Willy flew to the top of the highest bookshelf in the room.
“Bad man,” the bird squawked.
“Hey, I didn’t know you could talk, too,” said Douglas, neglecting the bird’s message. “Hello! Can you say ‘Doug’?”
“Bad man,” repeated the perturbed bird. “45-7-18-55. Bad man.”
“What are those numbers?” Douglas asked, speaking gently and trying to coax Willy down with a piece of bread.
“47-7-18-55,” said Willy. “47-7-18-55. 1920 Lakeside Drive.”
“Is that where you lived?” Douglas didn’t remember the exact address of the seller’s house.
Willy wasn’t interested in having a conversation. He kept repeating the three phrases.
Douglas, who was now becoming frustrated, turned to his computer to solve the riddle. He carefully typed in the address. “That’s the bank!” he said, surprised. “What do you know about the bank?” he asked the uncooperative bird.
“Bad man,” was the answer.
“Well, I’m obviously not going to find out from you,” Douglas told him. He found the bank’s phone number and called.
“Hi, my name’s Douglas Stone. I have a strange question for you,” he told the person who picked up. “Do you know anything about a green parrot, or the numbers 47-7-18-55?”
There was silence on the other end. “Hello?” Douglas asked again.
“Sir,” said the person at the bank. “Please hold for a moment.”
“Sure thing,” said Douglas. “Quiet down,” he told Willy, who had not stopped chattering during the call.
“Sir,” the line crackled with the return of the banker. “What’s your address?”
Douglas gave it, and was put on hold again immediately after.
He was still on hold when he saw the first police car outside his front window. He dropped the phone and looked at Willy.
“Bad man,” said Willy.
Several police officers stormed into the house and pinned Douglas to the floor.
“What’s happening?” he said, now pathetically outnumbered.
“Don’t play games with us,” said one of the officers. “Just tell us how you knew the alarm code for the bank that got robbed yesterday,” Her tone was very serious.
“No,” Douglas protested. “Not me, the bird! I just bought him an hour ago! He knows the code.”
Willy cocked his feathery head and looked at the officer out of one beady eye. “Bad man,” he said for what had to be the hundredth time.
“Bird says you’re a bad man,” said the officer to Douglas.
“Just go check out the place where I got him. It’s on Lakeshore, just down from the bank.”
The officer looked at her partner. “Are we buying this?”
Her partner shrugged. “It’s his word against a parrot’s. We should probably at least take a look.”
“Ok,” said the first officer. “But you’re coming with us, just in case,” she warned Douglas.
Two days later, the case had been cleared. Douglas was released when the true criminals were picked up at a hotel the next town over. They told the police that they’d had no idea that the parrot that they’d stolen during a prior home invasion had been capable of speech.
Willy, who turned out to be a girl named Sunny, was returned to her original owners.
Douglas went on three dates with the officer who’d arrested him, but the relationship didn’t last. From then on, he did research online before considering a new pet.

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