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The search for the lesser-spotted Bouguereau
Ornothology and the arts
by Leon Arduous

Part 6 - home!

Search for the spotted Bougereau .... part 6 and final.

One of the hidden talents of the Lesser Spotted Bouguereau is its uncanny ability to converse. Well, that is what all the historical ornithological literature said anyway. But our particular bird, for the last century trapped in a foreign prison, harried by common chickens, severely abused, underfed, ignored and unappreciated seemed in no mood to begin blabbering platitudes to all and sundry. It was as if something in its tiny bird's brain remembered snippets of the past, repressed memory during terrible times, distant flashes of being pampered, aloof, courted, indulged at every whim, it all came flooding back. This accelerating as the bird's health improved, its underdown slowly filling out and brilliantly colored feathers began appearing on crown and wing tip.

And in no time it was strutting about the house as if it owned the place.

"Talk about sniffy," pouted the boy to me as he scooped up another of the bird's droppings.

"Shhh" I warned, afraid the bird might hear and react badly. I had watched in ornithological awe as the bird's health had been restored, it's brilliance a regal display of unparalleled luminosity made specially invited birdwatchers gasp in disbelief. Yet, I was increasingly disturbed at the birds bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren't expletives, were to say the least, rude. I had tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft classical music by Mahler and Schubert, records of Joan Bayez and the Seekers, senate speeches, in fact I was doing anything I could think of to try and set a good example...

Nothing worked. I yelled at the bird and the bird yelled back. I shook the bird and the Spotted Bouguereau just got more angry and more rude. I played tapes of Bush/Gore election speeches and Glen Campbell singing, pinned up photos of Mike Tyson, Suddam Hussein, lined the cage with Picasso and Andy Wahol prints, I ran 'Star Wars II' and' Love Story' on the video, but nothing seemed to shock the haughty Lesser Spotted Bouguereau.

Finally, in a moment of anger and desperation, I put the recalcitrant bird in the freezer. For a few moments I heard the Bouguereau squawk and kick and scream - then suddenly, there was quiet. Not a sound for half a minute. I was suddenly frightened that I might have hurt the bird and I quickly re-opened the freezer door.

The Spotted Bouguereau calmly stepped out onto my extended arm, bowed his head and said, "Sir, I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I will endeavour at once to correct my unseemly behaviour. I really am truly sorry and beg your forgiveness."

To say I was astonished at the bird's change in attitude would be an understatement. I was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change in his demeanour when the Lesser Spotted Bouguerau continued, 'Please, may I ask what the chicken did wrong?'

Leon ... me!