A Dead Bird In Fremont

I’ve always been a pickup truck guy, and long ago I learned that meant you’re the go-to man when a friend needs something, well, picked up. For a brief period in my 20s I had a bumper sticker on one of my vehicles that read, “Yes, this is my pickup, NO I will not help you move.” But that backfired; as friends took it as a joke and it simply reminded them they had a move coming up.

“Dude, can you help me move?” they’d say after reading the sticker.

“Oh vey” a girlfriend at the time would reply. Then we’d help whomever move.

These days I find myself offering to help perhaps more than I should, but I have this thing about giving back to the universe, even if it means getting caught in some sticky situations.

Like the one I found myself in one rainy day in May.

An artist friend of mine, on a limited budget, needed a few things moved from her ex’s place. She was near tears when she called. So off I went

I arrived to find a large moving truck being loaded by more traditional-looking burly and tattooed movers. Inside the house there were loud voices coming from the second floor, recognizable as my friend and her soon-to-be ex. They were arguing over who-gets-what. Specifically it sounded like a custody battle over a bird.

I hesitated at the bottom of the stairs, where I noticed a large black birdcage with what appeared to be a parakeet laying on the seed-covered bottom, with his little bird legs pointed straight up to the cosmos.

The bird was dead.

Or was it?

Oddly enough, I had helped another starving artist move a week earlier who had a stuffed crow in a cage that he used for his paintings.

So maybe this was yet another Fremont thing I needed to learn? People were just flat out into dead birds around here.

This argument disputed that though. There was some birdlove involved. The ex kept saying how the bird was the only thing that cared for him, and my friend kept screaming he didn’t even want the damn thing at first.

I sheepishly started upstairs just as both of them gusted by me with arms full of clothes.

“Oh Hi ” my friend said.

“Hi “, the ex said.

“Um, Hi,” I said, grabbing my friend’s arm gently.

She halted and we watched the ex march on past the cage out the door.

“I’m TAKING the bird,” he yelled as he exited.

“No you’re NOT,” my friend shouted back.

Meanwhile the movers were now headed up the stairs, so we all made room for each other in a comical way,

“Yes I AM,’ we heard from outside.

I then quietly explained to my friend, nudging her towards the cage, that the bird was dead.

Without hesitation and with fire in her eyes, she continued down the stairs, stomped over to the cage, yanked the bird out, and as her ex re-entered the house she catapulted.

“You want the BIRD? Okay, you can HAVE the bird!”

And with that she did a windup and fastballed the bird right into his gut.


That had to hurt.

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