When I was a little girl, my sister Brenda took care of me in the summer while our parents worked. We got in trouble – A LOT! If we weren’t fighting each other; we were scheming together. But I tended to drive her a little batty sometimes. One such instant played out with our pets.
Brenda had a parrot named BB, and I had a cat named Tiger Wayne. Yes, I picked that name myself. Cause no one should be without a middle name, right? That thought process tells you a lot about my shenanigans.
To say the cat wasn’t fond of the bird is a gross understatement. You know the scene in the movie Madagascar when Alex the Lion looks at Marty the zebra with steaks in his eyes? That was Tiger Wayne to BB. Well, of course I knew how to fix it. Don’t I always have the answer?
I snatched up Tiger Wayne and put him in the bathroom. Then I retrieved BB from his cage and had him join Tiger Wayne in the bathroom. I admonished them to be friends, then locked the door, shut it and stepped into the hall. Immediate chaos.
With partially clipped wings BB lacked the ability to fly to higher safety. He could airborne for a second then crash to the ground. He was squawking and banging into the walls as Tiger Wayne pursued him with screeching of his own. Realizing I’m a stupid little kid complicit in pet homicide, I started screaming. Brenda, who up to this point was enjoying her day lounging in the sun, came racing in.
“What’s wrong?!” Her voice full of fear she scanned me. Judging by my level of screaming, she was certain she’d find my arm cut off or something equally terrifying.
“Tiger Wayne is going to eat BB.”
That’s the precise moment the noise from the bathroom penetrated her fear of me being hurt. She rattled the doorknob in panic. “The door won’t open.”
“I locked it.”
If her bird’s life wasn’t in danger, I swear she would have throttled me right there. Instead, she wrapped up all my stupidity into a single sentence dripping with disbelief. “Why would you do that?”
Just when she thought I couldn’t shock her more, I answered through quaking sobs and large gulps of air,. “I wanted them to be friends.”
“You locked them in the bathroom to be friends?”
I nodded. She practically growled. A solution arriving in my sister’s brain spared my life. She tore off into the other room and returned with a hammer. Before I asked her intent she began whaling away on the wooden door. Once she made a hole, she reached through and unlocked the door. Because BB was still intact Brenda allowed me to remain that way. Not to mention, beating a hole in a door went a long way in relieving her fear and anger.
With Tiger Wayne and BB safely separated, Brenda determined we were in big trouble with Mom. So, what do we do? Lie of course. I wasn’t in full agreement. However, I thought locking our pets in the bathroom together would make them friends. So, maybe I’d go with Brenda on this one.
Brenda told Mom I got locked in the bathroom and couldn’t get out. Ronnie, a neighbor up the street, came down and knocked the hole in the door to save me. It offended me Mom bought the story. How dumb did she think I was? Sure, locking a barely able to fly parrot in the bathroom with his greatest predator wasn’t my best idea, but good grief! I could work a doorknob!
Everything was fine until Mom thanked Ronnie for saving me from a door I mastered. Ronnie was clueless. Brenda, operating on same genius level as I, didn’t consider the possibility of Mom mentioning it to Ronnie. Even though Ronnie lived only three houses away. And she and Mom talked. Every day.
Mom picked our story apart. Brenda and I may not have been the brightest crayons in the box, but we knew when Mom was baiting us. We confessed.
Mom believed in creative punishment. She made us paint the side of the house. And that’s where Mom’s crayon lost a bit of brightness. A hot summer day, frustrated sisters, and house paint? Mom was asking for it. That’s a tale for another Tuesday.