Life was good until that dog moved in. They called her Dixie. She was a huge white poodle (but she seemed to be the size of a small pony) with a really bad hairdo. Parts of her body were shaved bare, while other parts had these weird puffs of fur like baseball-sized cotton balls. The groomer must have slipped with the clippers.
Anyway, Dixie used to live with old Aunt Lydia. But then last week, I heard Mom say that Aunt Lydia was moving into a new apartment, and the building didn't allow dogs. So guess who showed up at our door?
I looked in the mirror that hung in my cage. A striking emerald green parrot with a fire-engine-red beak looked back. No doubt about it-I sure was a lot prettier than Dixie!
It was then that I spotted the paint tray. Mom had been painting the kitchen walls and left it on the floor when she went outside to get the mail. I could hear her gabbing with the neighbor. It was my lucky day.
“Squawk!” I'd always wanted to paint, so I decided I would make Mom a pretty picture. She'd left the door to my cage open like she usually did (Mom and Dad thought it was cruel to keep me shut up all the time), so I flew over to the tray and landed in the thick liquid. Blue paint coated my feet. Then I stepped up onto the rim of the tray. Slimy paint oozed off my toes-it felt kind of good. Flapping my wings a little, I jumped down onto the white floor. I took a few steps and turned around-blue footprints followed me. Pretty cool! I zigged one way and zagged another, making a crazy blue pattern. Then I hopped a few steps so that my feet made side-by- side prints. I walked backwards and saw my footprints in front of me. What an awesome painting, I thought mom will be so pleased.
I must have jumped three inches.
"Bad bird!" Mom scolded.
“Hi!” I said.
"Hi, yourself," Mom answered sarcastically, scooping me up off the floor and whisking me across the room to the sink. She turned on the faucet so hard that I thought the handle might break off. Water whooshed out at full blast. Mom flipped me over onto my back and held me in the palm of her hand. Warm water sprayed onto my feet. I wiggle d and tried to flap my wings, but she had a death grip on me. How humiliating! First she interrupted me in the middle of my masterpiece, then she rinsed all the paint off my brushes, I mean, feet. I wanted to tell her how rude that was, but something told me this wasn't the best time to bring it up.
Mom shut off the water. I expected her to wrap me up in a towel and let me sit on her lap to get warm-she always did that after I got a bath-but instead, she shoved me back into my cage and slammed the door. Boy, she was really angry. I wondered why. After all, she was the one who left the paint tray on the floor. For an artist like me that was an open invitation.
My dripping wet feet slid on the perch, and I almost fell off. I dug my claws into the wood just in time. This painting idea hadn't gone over well at all-Mom hadn't even complimented me on my beautiful artwork. Instead, all she said was, "Stay in there for a while, and maybe you'll think about what you've done." Yeah, I've thought about it all right. I've thought that she does not appreciate the amazing artistic talent of her parrot.
"Gimme a kiss," I said.
"No kisses for you!" Mom sternly replied. What was her problem? I was only trying to apologize.
Then Mom wet a rug and knelt down on the kitchen floor. No, she couldn't be . . . she wouldn't dare. . . I couldn't believe it...she erased my masterpiece!
Just then, Dixie dashed into the kitchen. The wet floor must have been slippery where Mom had washed off the paint, because the mutt slid right across the room and collided head-on with the stove. Way to go, dog. She didn't even get hurt. Dixie turned to face Mom and just wagged her tail, the puff of fur on the end of it brushing the newly painted wall like a windshield wiper.
"Oh, Dixie, look what you've done!,” Mom said. “You got paint on your tail. Come here, sweetheart, let me clean you off. "
Sweetheart? Was she kidding? I watched Mom gently wipe the paint from Dixie's tail. Why didn’t she hold her under the faucet? Dixie wagged her tail and licked Mom’s face. Oh, sure, get on her good side. What a creep.
Mom and Dad used to dog-sit for Dixie when Aunt Lydia went on vacation, and the pooch always got their special "house guest" treatment. That was bad enough, but at least then I knew she'd eventually be going home. Now, unfortunately, she was here to stay.
All that painting had made me hungry and tired, so I bent down into my food cup, cracked open a couple of sunflower seeds, and ate them. Then I tucked my foot up into my feathers and settled in for a nice nap.