I’d seen him before. He wasn’t a stranger to these parts. And I knew that if he had a name, it was Trouble. With a capitol T.
He hopped over to the edge of my plate and tweeted. I ignored him. He tweeted again. I looked at him and rolled my eyes. He was hopping from one foot to the other, tilting his head this way and that. He took a tentative step toward my plate, beak extended. I shooed him away. He began to get peckish. He hopped nearer to me, tilting his head to look up at me with one eye. My bruschetta was clearly on his agenda.
I tore off a small corner of plain bread and tossed it to him. He chirped indignantly. He wanted cheese and basil, too! I flicked the dry bread closer to him. He was insulted. He deliberately hopped away, chattering angrily.
Plain bread! he seemed to say. Pah! As if I would DEIGN to eat the plain corner of your bruschetta! This was a bird who was used to being spoiled.
I thought we were finished, but it wasn’t so. He hopped up onto the back of my chair and chirped a bit. I turned and kept a careful eye on him. No telling what an insulted bird will do in the heat of the moment. And sure enough, he pulled a fast one. He turned his back to me, lifted his tail, and released a stream of urine down the back of my chair. I was aghast! How dare he?!
And then, to add insult to injury, he took to the air, whizzing so closely over my head that I felt his wings beating. He buzzed me.
Later, I looked out to see him hopping delightedly in his own small bird shower. His Thai caretaker had hooked a small hose to the top of a trellis, and it was raining down on him. He hopped among the palm leaves and wiped his beak back and forth. He squawked and shrieked, shaking the leaves and ruffling his feathers. He looked quite silly, if I do say so myself.
Despite his current status as my nemesis, I felt intrigued to ask the Thai girl about him.
“He like shower!” she said. “Every day about twelve or one o’clock, he come for shower. When he fly into restaurant again and again, I know he want to shower!”
He hopped and frolicked, and I returned to my table, careful not to rest against the soiled seat. Snotty bird. The corner of bread remained untouched on the table.