“I may be in deep doodoo Big Guy,” said my new pal Pavo Rotti the parakeet.
He was sitting forlornly, beak on his chest, tips of his wings drooping below his perch. I thought at first that he was hinting to have the newspaper in his cage changed. But I had already taken care of it that same morning so I tried to focus on the humor of his situation and bring a little sparkle into those soulful shoe button eyes.
“I doubt you can get into too much trouble in there my laid low lovebird,” I said forcing a chuckle. “What’s your problem?”
“A blast from my past. Could be used against me.”
At first I thought he was playing a joke on me as he’s done several times in the weeks since I rescued him. But I could see by his draggy demeanor that he was dead serious so I assumed a more solicitous tone. “Okay pal. Tell me about it. I’ll keep it in the strictest confidence.”
“It’s Miss Kari T. Kanari the soprano in the house next door.” He whispered.
As soon as he mentioned her name, I saw trouble coming. He had escaped from his cage a couple weeks before after Phallix the cat tipped it over. He flew across the yard and into Ms. Natale’s house where Miss Kari is artiste in residence. When Ms. Natale found him sitting on top of Miss Kari’s cage, she was furious.
“Wait a minute, do you mean to tell me that Miss Kari may be . . . ?” I stopped in mid question, unable to bring myself to say the word aloud. I shuddered to think what it could do to his future.
“No. Not that,” he said emphatically. “It’s more serious than that.”
“What could be more serious than pregnancy? I’d never let you shirk your responsibilities. No deadbeat dads in this family.” I wanted him to think that it appeared to be serious because Pavo thinks his life is a soap opera so I like to keep up the pretense.
“Cool your jets Big Guy. I’m not that sort of person. But I’ve got to admit that it took place in a fit of passion.”
“Well Big Guy, when I was over there visiting Miss Kari, we got to do a little billing and cooing. I was overcome with feelings I’d never experienced before and I’m afraid I let my guard down. I said some things I shouldn’t have.”
“I let slip that I don’t have a green card.”
It took a couple seconds for the enormity of his confession to sink in and I reeled backwards as if his revelation had hit me like a thunderbolt. Pavo loves drama in his life so I try to go along with him and overact a bit to let him think I’m interested.
“Do you mean to tell me that you’re in this country illegally?”
“I’m afraid so Big Guy. No papers. No inoculation. No green card. No Social Security number. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’m an illegal alien.”
“But she wouldn’t tell, . . . or would she?”
“She thinks she’s some sort of an uptown bird but I found out her real name is Serinus canarius and she had it changed to Kanari to make it easier to blend in. She’s third generation Merikan now, even though her grandparents were illegals. Her parents were born here. She has papers. She says a fifty foot fence along the border is the way to go. I don’t think she’d hesitate to tweet on me. Especially if there’s a reward.”
“Omigod,” I sighed. “Nannygate in my own house.” When my breathing finally slowed down I said, “I’m really disappointed in you Pavo. You must have said something seriously out of line to Miss Kari to make her so angry. And now she’s going to make you pay for it. But how did this all come about in the first place? How did you get here?”
“My mother left Australia, smuggled out on a slow boat from China. I was born in transit. After island hopping across the Pacific the boat went through the Panama Canal. We escaped and found our way to Mexico where she was put in contact with a coyote who made arrangements to get her across the border. But he took off and left her with nothing but a few marijuana seeds and a flock of baby budgies. I was one of six.”
“So how’d you get into the States?”
“We joined a flock of swallows, heading north for the summer, crossed the border at Tijuana and didn’t rest until we reached Capistrano. But my mother got caught in a butterfly net and was held for a narcotics violation when they found her seed stash. I and my brothers and sisters escaped. But we had to scatter. It’s the last time I saw any of my family.”
“So you think your mother has been deported.”
“No doubt about it. Probably back in Australia by now.”
“I don’t know what to do for you Pavo.”
“Would you mind going over to explain the situation to Miss Kari and Ms. Natale, – maybe even appeal to their maternal instincts. Tell them my mother came here because she wanted a better life for her children. Lay it on thick. Maybe they’ll understand.”
“Not likely little buddy. Have you seen the bumper sticker on Ms. Natale’s car?”
“Do you mean the one that says CUSTER GOT WHAT HE DESERVED?”
“That’s it Pavo. Ms. Natale’s a rabid miscegenationist.
“Hold on Big Guy. Is that another religious sect?”
“No. She’s an indigenous American and it just means that she doesn’t believe in mixing races. And she thinks we all should go back to where we came from.”