Grandma’s Budgie

I hate that bird. Its black eyes. That hooked beak. The way it turns its head to stare. Its dark red feathers. But mostly, I hate its voice.

I’ll never understand why Grandma bought a budgie. I guess she wanted a companion, a living thing to share the house with after Grandad passed away. Allergic to dogs, bored by goldfish and revolted by cats – always licking themselves – her options were limited.

But why couldn’t she have got something stupid? A hamster, maybe, or some hermit crabs. Even a tarantula would have been better. She did always like spiders.

It’s driving me crazy but what can I do with it? I can’t give it away; it was Grandma’s. When I’m sitting at work, zoning out during a meeting, I think about it. I could just open its cage and let it go. But what would happen to it? Alone in the world. It would probably get eaten by a cat. Which would then lick itself.

Every day I pause before I put my key in the door. There’s just that little moment of peace, a second to breathe. Then I turn the key, open the door and hear it. The bird, speaking in Grandma’s voice.

“Help me!” it calls out. “Help me! I’ve fallen! I’ve fallen!”

And on it goes – “Help me! I’ve fallen!” – it calls out from its cage when I feed it. “Help me, I’ve fallen!” when I try to read a book on the sofa. “Help me! Help me! I’ve fallen!” until finally it gets tired, puts its head under its wing and goes to sleep.

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Hello gentle reader! So sometimes I get to Thursday night and realise that I still haven’t written a flash fiction for the next day. Oh, you know, you have plans to spend a weekend writing up a bunch so that you get ahead. But we all know what plans are. They make a p out of lan and s. Or something.

Often C will help me out by giving me a prompt and that’s where ‘Grandma’s Budgie’ came from. It was supposed to be about a budgie that got lost in the jungle… but somewhere along the way that story got abandoned and you have this instead.

If you have an idea for a Friday Flash Fiction, just shoot me an email or leave a comment. I’m always happy to get inspiration!

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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