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Happy new year to me. When I looked out at the pool this morning, I only saw five swans. Since I was about to let Sonya out, I stepped outside to make sure the other two swans weren’t wandering around the yard where she could get at them. They weren’t. I found them at the bottom of the pool, sleeping with the fishes.1
Clearly, it was meant to be a warning. I ran to the garage and transferred the parrot mafioso to a warmer spot in the basement. I brought the other two parrots down there as well, though that was more for my sake than the parrots’. As of now, the garage is the only quiet spot in the house.
When I got back upstairs, Sonya was barking frantically out the front window. Dreading the worst,2 I opened the door to find eight maids standing on our doorstep. I sighed in relief: Maids were exactly what we needed.
Birds are not clean creatures. Well, the doves haven’t been too bad, but that’s only because they’ve kept everything inside their shells. All the others drop feathers and excrement everywhere they go. We’ve had to lay down tarps in every room to protect the carpet and the furniture. But it seemed our problems were solved: Finally, we had professional help.
I stepped aside to let the maids into the house. Without delay, they made a beeline for the kitchen. The next thing I knew, they were all standing around drinking. Some had mugs of coffee, others tea, and a couple had grabbed some beers from the fridge. Not one held a cleaning implement of any kind.
I was somewhat perplexed, but didn’t know how long they’d been on the road without anything to drink. I figured I’d go buy some groceries to feed our unexpected guests, and by the time I got back they’d be underway. Alas, no. I returned an hour later to find the maids in pretty much the same spots as before. When I asked about this, they said that they were on break; they’d start cleaning once they’d finished their drinks.
This irked me, but I was soon distracted by two investigators who came by asking about David Cassidy's final days. I told them the whole story about the pear tree and the hunger strike and all the birds, and they had me show them around the house. And can you believe it? When they were in the basement, all three parrots shut up. Didn’t say a word. I asked — nay, begged — the investigators to stay, but they made up some story about going to watch an outdoor hockey game and drove off.
When they left, I found the maids still lazing about with drinks in their hands. I again asked when they were going to start cleaning. This time, all I got in response were some aggravated sighs and rolling of eyes.
Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I don’t think they’re ever going to get to work. They’ve been milking those things for hours.
1 That’s right: along with offing the two swans, someone had also added fish to the swimming pool, presumably just to make that figure of speech accurate.
2 An octet of angry ostriches.