Friday, April 29, 2011

Fiction Friday: Part 2

It's time for another installment of The Bird Lady. (If you want to catch up on the first installment, just click the Fiction Friday link in the tags list on the left-hand side of the screen.)


Lucy stomped off into the kitchen to root through her junk drawer, determined to unearth the coupon for a dollar off a purchase of three or more honey sticks that she had stashed away the week before. A regular at PetSmart, she would return tomorrow, Sunday, for her weekly stock-up visit. She went to the supermarket for herself only half as often. Lucy was big on clipping coupons. But then, she had to be, especially after her no-good louse of an ex-husband Morton had walked out on her three years ago. He'd met a woman at a Star Trek convention and had announced that they were in love. When Lucy had protested, he said that none of it would have happened if she had bothered to learn Klingon.

Morton had been irritating. He liked his socks rolled just so and his roast beef still practically bleeding. Although he was a lawyer, he had insisted that Lucy continue working as an assistant at Ralphy's World of T-Shirts, a local print shop that made tees emblazoned with beer mugs and suggestive sayings. Much as she hated to admit it, Lucy supposed that that had been for the best, since she now depended on her salary to support herself and her darlings. It made her wonder if Morton hadn't been planning his escape all along.

She hadn't gotten the birds until he'd left. She had expressed an interest in getting a parakeet years ago, but Morton had always snuffed out her plans, declaring birds, or "avians," as he called them, to be dirty, money-sucking little creeps. Now she didn't know what she'd do without them. Grooming, feeding, and entertaining them gave her purpose. She had Christmas cards made with them each year. The first year Morton was gone she had mailed him one just to annoy him, but Zelda, his new wife and fellow Star Trek-a-phile, had returned it unopened. This gave Lucy an odd sense of satisfaction because she'd decided that it meant that Zelda was threatened by her.

And why shouldn't she be? Lucy had provided Morton with an excellent home for the better part of thirty years (she was now fifty-two, dried-up and useless at everything except data entry) and had borne him a son named Milton (his choice of name, not hers), who had also grown up to be a lawyer, no small result of his father's influence. Milton lived in Tallahassee with his wife Beth, a reluctant county clerk forced to toil for her keep in much the same way as her mother-in-law. Lucy didn't hear from him much, but they shared a mutual hatred of Zelda. In rare moods of malevolent whimsy they made fun of her blonde bouffantish hair, which resembled a beehive. Lucy reckoned that it provided housing for a whole family of birds, mostly because she knew how much that would infuriate Morton.

"Daddy was an asshole, wasn't he?" Lucy sang out to Finchy, Swan, and Wren, flinging aside coupons for Ramen Noodles and Shake n' Bake. She'd taken to saying that to them in moods of pique, even though they had never met the said "daddy" and would not have liked him if they had.


Be sure to stop by next Friday for more.

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