Avian Heroism Prevails

“I’ve learned what true unconditional love is thanks to them. The deep relationship between me and each of my pets has made me a better person for sure.” (Cristina Jones)

The typical onset of winter’s wrath in New York City in late December never seemed very appealing to Jeff. While this urbane bachelor felt fortunate to have found an affordable apartment in Midtown Manhattan, the drafty and poorly insulated walls of his “flat” only exacerbated his restless urge to “get out and about” this time of year. So after listening to his favorite podcast of weekly travel happenings a few days before Christmas, he “jumped at the chance” to get away from his stressful office job. Thus with cheap airfares readily available now, he impulsively decided to “fly down” to Florida where a much promoted Star War Convention was taking place in the balmy environs of Key West. As a dedicated science fiction “nerd”, in particular, he reasoned that this intriguing fantasy event “down south” would present him with an ideal opportunity to honor his favorite Star Wars character, “Chewie” then. So he would take along his wildly bearded “Chewbacca” costume and make ambitious plans to to wear it proudly during these tropical convention wanderings.

Only one problem with these travel arrangements, however, seemed unsurmountable to overcome. For how well would he function without his pet cockatoo “Klee” for a week? For this talented bird had learned to mimic phrases like “Love You”, “Kiss Me”, and “Good One” of unconditional comfort to him in times of need. Thus Jeff reasoned taking along “Klee” for this vacation as the best option to resolve this dilemma. For he had envisioned “high hopes” that his “Calm Bird” tranquilizer potion could be utilized to sedate his precious bird from interrupting airline passengers and convention attendees with his incessant vocal squawking for the duration of the trip.

While “Klee” functioned admirably in sluggish doze on the plane as expected, an unforeseen problem would soon arise as this latest adventure in South Florida began. For as Jeff chose to allow loyal Klee to remain perched on his shoulder throughout the daily outdoor proceedings of this convention, he failed to realize that little birds and humans like him who are not accustomed to this tropical wilderness, can become tasty prey targets for hungry reptilian predators in waiting.

Being a “city boy” at heart, Jeff had likely not anticipated to what extent those sweat and itch discomforts inside his bulky “Chewbacca” attire would slow him down, thus requiring him to make unanticipated stops amid such uncomfortably overheated conditions. Nor did he seem aware that there were imminent dangers to his life presented by his human encroachment at these dense mangrove groves nearby. Such matters would intensify during those sweltering afternoon sessions when he made his way to and from outdoor tent exhibits. For he would mindlessly take off his “Chewie outfit” at times when cooling down to rest. Meanwhile on those idle occasions, his precious bird remained loyally perched by his side.

Unlike the heroic survivor of Star Wars fame, Chewie”, that he was impersonating then, Jeff’s most egregious human error of judgment could have cost him his life on the last day of the convention. For why had he failed to heed the sign stating “CAUTION: ALLIGATORS NEARBY in positioning himself in a shady spot near a drainage canal on this particular clothes shedding break? Fortunately, while Jeff chose to “kick back” and close his eyes to nap amid such ominous dangers, the more observant “Klee” clinging to his chest would become the improbable “Chewie” hero that day. Know then that our avian hero would awaken his master to move quickly away from this most certain gator attack by harnessing his well practiced vocal skills in bellowing out “Danger, Danger…” For the hungry gator had no doubt planned it’s slow death lurch attack to swallow the tasty bird and perhaps ingest Jeff’s arm or leg into its belly as well. With Jeff’s “close call” in surviving this alligator incident in mind, may a “Force Be With You” spirit likewise protect you as you risk holiday travel during these fearful pandemic times. Notice the stars of this drama in the photos below.

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