Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Boredom and COckatoos

Boredom and a Cockatoo

It was just another boring 6:30 A.M. zero hour English class in high school, until the bird flew in the window. Then it became, well, not so boring. Anyway, there were several strange things about this occurrence. Firstly, you have to realize how completely absurd it must have been for the students of Ms. Holt’s Zero Hour Honors English 10 class when a bird flew in the window. Birds just don’t randomly decide to fly into a high school classroom. Secondly, as I’m sure everyone in the class room knew, the classroom windows were sealed shut, closed tight, so a bird – let alone a fly – couldn’t get in. Thirdly, it couldn’t just be a normal local bird, like a dove, sparrow, or a pigeon. No. It just had to be a cockatoo. It just had to be one of those ridiculous, white, yellow-crested parrots with obnoxiously playful dispositions, and to top it off, it was the middle of February in Arizona.


The last strange (and eerily ironic) thing about this occurrence was that I distinctly remembered having to answer a writing prompt on a standardized test in third grade about a bird flying in through the classroom window. The prompt requested an explanation of what the test-taker’s reaction would be if this happened to them, and what they would do about it. To my minimal surprise, when the test results came back, I found that I had failed miserably. As I mentioned, I was in third grade, and I was at that age where obstinate rationalism seems to be the most rational choice. To be precise, I was so utterly unimpressed by the writer of the prompt’s lack of creativity that I only wrote one paragraph. It went like so:
“First off, the windows in the classroom are sealed shut, so a bird couldn’t fly in through the window. I think this prompt is dumb. Anyway, if a bird did fly in the window, I would try to catch it and calm it down. Then I would ask my teacher if I could take it outside. My teacher would say yes, I would let it go, and I would be a hero, and Serra McAllister would be so glad that her hair didn’t get poo in it. The end.”


See? Simple and matter-of-fact. Nothing to it. I was entitled to creative license, right? Apparently, I wasn’t. Apparently, I am not allowed to call a standardized writing prompt stupid. Apparently, I was expected to have written a beautiful story about some magical cockatoo flying through the window and picking me as a hero to save some random crap fantasy world. When I plead my case with my parents, they simply shot me down, saying that I was just being stubborn and that I wasn’t trying. Obviously, this caused little third-grade Zephyr to think, “Well, some people apparently don’t understand eight-year-olds!” overall, this is how I came to dread standardized testing. And a week before the sophomore writing test, you must be able to understand why a cockatoo flying in through a sealed window was eerily ironic. Alright, now I’ve explained myself. So from now on, I’ll just let the story continue. I hope that’s alright with you. Oh, and by the way, don’t you even dare to skip to the ending, or you’ll get Dinozzo’d (a.k.a. Gibbs-slapped) by a very angry Zephyr ninja.


Alrighty, then. The cockatoo was flapping around the classroom in a crazed fashion that reminded me of my schizoid little cockatiel Kevin, who always had to be chased down for about ten minutes with a large flannel shirt before he could be returned to his cage. When it had first flown in, there had been shocked silence. Then the silence was broken by the sound of Sierra McAllister shrieking about getting bird poop in her perfect, glossy brunette hair. The rest of her friends followed suit, and the room was soon thrown into chaos. Sierra’s boyfriend, Marcus Evans, attempted to act the part of the hero with his friends, and only ended up scaring the bird so much that it scratched them all and took refuge atop the tallest cabinet in the classroom. Ms. Holt collapsed at her desk, and a couple kids ran out of the room to go find a security guard. I sighed and hurried over to my fellow bird-owners and my best friends – Janae Thomas and Kylie Schneider.


We had a hurriedly whispered conversation in which we agreed that I would attempt to calm and retrieve the bird while they carefully tiptoed toward me. When I gave the signal, they would throw their jackets over the bird. It was foolproof. I made my way to the cabinet, and the room fell silent as I did. I didn’t care. I was in focus mode, and I had a few tricks–or rather, treats–hidden up my sleeve. Really! I always keep little treats for Kevin in my jacket pockets or sleeves. Such treats are Triscuits and millet spray. I guessed that the cockatoo would recognize millet spray best, so that was what I offered it. It eyed it curiously and edged towards the front of the cabinet. I clicked my tongue and cooed encouragingly, and it began tipping farther and farther forward until it lost its balance and flapped wildly, finally landing on my wrist, where it began devouring the millet spray. After a minute, I nodded to Jane and Kylie, who threw their jackets over my arm. I agilely bundled the bird up, having done it countless times before to Kevin, and then turned to face the rest of the class.


“Fellow classmates,” I crowed, as I held the bundle up in the air, “the scourge of classroom 215 is now subdued!”


I took a mock heroic bow, and Kylie clapped dramatically while Janae wolf-whistled. Gradually, the rest of the class began cheering. Ms. Holt lifted her head and smiled wearily. I regrouped with my friends and raised my eyebrows. Now what? Kylie raised one eyebrow, and Janae did her alternating eyebrow wiggle. Before we could begin talking, however, a security guard came bursting through the door with Jordan Lucas. He went to Ms. Holt’s desk.


“Is everything alright ma’am?”


Ms. Holt blinked in surprise.


“Oh yes, I suppose everything’s fine now.”


The security guard frowned. Obviously, he was thinking that he was being Punk’d or something.


“Please tell me that I wasn’t called all the way up here for nothing, Ms. – uh – Holt.”


Ms. Holt blinked again, then realization dawned on her face (in her defense, she was blonde, and it was 6:35 A.M.).


“Oh, well we had a little situation, but we got it under control just before you got in here, you see?” When the security guard appeared not to have “seen,” she sighed and said, “Well, this may seem extremely bizarre – please don’t think I’m hallucinating or anything – but a cockatoo flew in the window a few minutes ago. Those three girls over there –,” she pointed to my friends and I, “those two girls caught it.”


The security guard eyed her dubiously and looked at me and the squirming bundle in my arms. As if on cue, the cockatoo wormed its head out of a gap and squawked indignantly. It glared at the stranger reproachfully. The security guard looked a bit confuzzled.


“Okay,” he said slowly, not taking his eyes off the bird. “I’m going to have to take you girls down to the principal’s office so we can get this mess sorted out, okay?”


We shrugged and nodded.


“Okay then. Grab your stuff and follow me.”
******


We were a strange sight as we trooped down the stairs behind the security guard. There were more students arriving, and they all shot quizzical looks at the cockatoo, who in turn chirped joyfully at them and actually said, “Helloooo!” I have to admit, we were all pretty shocked to hear that. I squinted at it analytically, and it squawked, “What are you lookin’ at, huh? What are you lookin’ at, huh?” When I gave it a sharp tap on the beak, it tried to peck me. I glared at it, and we were having a staring contest as we entered the office. We were left in the capable hands of the secretary, who merely gaped at us, clearly wondering if she should stop drinking coffee because it seemed like she was having crazy hallucinations. She recovered quickly, though.


“And your names are?”


“Janae Thomas.”


“Kylie Schneider.”


“Zephyr Reeves. Oh, and by the way, if you think you’re hallucinating, you’re not. So you can keep up with the coffee. Although, I would suggest trying decaf instead. You know, it’s better for you.”


The cockatoo let out an emphatic “Oh, yeah? Who says? Who says?” This elicited several moments of stunned silence from the secretary. The poor woman, she must have been having one hell of a morning. Well, she could join the club. We were too.


Hastily, she scribbled a note to the principal and promised to give it to him when he arrived at school. She ushered us over to a bench outside his office, then scurried back to her desk. I guess she didn’t want to stick around us for too long. I can’t even begin to imagine why, can you?


We perched on that bench, twiddling our thumbs and swing our legs idly. Well, Kylie was twiddling her thumbs. Janae was now eyeing the cockatoo with wary interest.


“Girl, lemme tell ya, if that bird poops in my jacket, it’s a bird kabob. Oh yeah, and you’ll have to get me a new one.”


I rolled my eyes at her.


“If it poops on it, you can do what normal people do and wash it. It’s not that hard. That’s what I do whenever Kevin poops on me.”


“Yeah, I do the same thing when Nani decides to drop a load on me, or when Lucky loses his composure and lets out a little dollop of poop,” Kylie piped up. “Honestly, Janae, it’s not that bad. I mean, who are you, Sierra McAllister?”


We all chuckled at that. My grip on the cockatoo loosened and he climbed out of the jacket wrap and clambered up the front of my shirt to sit on my shoulder. He started trying to preen my hair, and when I smacked him lightly on the rump, he gave me an eye-watering slap across the face with his wing. By the way, if you’re wondering how I’d determined its gender, I observed its behavioral characteristics. Even when it was comfortable, its crest was halfway raised. Females usually put their crests all the way down, but males almost never do except for when they’re really, really, happy. I don’t know if you’ll ever find this information helpful, but I just thought you might like to know.


I wiped my eyes with my left hand and glared at the cockatoo again. We heard footsteps coming down the hall at that moment, and Kylie, who was closest to the hall, poked her head around the corner and gasped.


“What,” I asked, “is it Principal Gordon?”


“No,” she whispered, “it’s a loony!”


The cockatoo perked up at this. “Aaawk, it’s a loony1 It’s a loony,” he squawked. “Here comes a loony! Aaawk!”


Do you know what’s funny? It really was a loony. And I had thought things couldn’t get any weirder. And I was just about to say that, when I woke up. I shook my head and sighed, chuckling. I'm such a random person, and I guess it turns up in my dreams too.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback