February 7th 2007

“Piss off,” I said.
“Piss off,” I repeated.
Again nothing.

“Piss off,” I said again, for about the fiftieth time.
The parrot, as it did on the other forty nine occasions, just looked at me dumbly.
We are looking after the parrot for the Parsley-Heys over he road while they’re on holiday. Usually when they go away The Trouble looks after the parrot by simply calling in at their house every day and topping up its water and millet or whatever it is that parrots eat, but this time she and Jill Parsley-Hey decided it should stay with us for the two weeks that the Parsley-Heys will be away, ‘to give it a change of scenery’. I pointed out that the scenery it would be seeing, i.e. our living room through the bars of its cage, would be more or less the same as the scenery it normally saw, i.e. the Parsley-Heys’ living room living room through the bars of its cage, unless of course she planned to take it on a tour round the house every now and then or open its little door and let it fly around free, but she told me not to be so pedantic.
I wouldn’t normally waste my time on trying to teach a parrot to say piss off but the weather has been so cold just recently that it’s hard to get out and I’ve been struggling for something to do. Plus the fact that when I tried to break a small piece off the parrot’s cuttlefish to see if I could use it as a substitute for French chalk it tried to bite me.
The parrot can definitely talk. It can say “Have a nice day.” and “Hilary Clinton for President.” (Jill Parsely-Hey is an American) And it is obviously still capable of learning new words, because until very recently it only said “Have a nice day“ and “Clinton for President,” Jill only having taught it to add a ‘Hilary’ to the latter phrase since Hilary Clinton entered the Presidential race a short while ago. But it can’t say piss off yet. I tried again.
“Piss off.”
“Piss off.” Nothing.
“Piss off”
“Hilary Clinton for President. Squawk.”
“Piss off.”
That last “Piss off” was me telling the parrot to piss off, not me trying to get the parrot to say piss off.
Just then I heard The Trouble coming downstairs and quickly sat down with the newspaper. The Trouble came into the room.
“Who were you just telling to piss off?” she asked.
“Tony Blair,” I said. I tapped the newspaper. “Lying through his teeth again.”
“Well try not to say it in front of the parrot, will you,” she admonished me. “It might start repeating it.”
“Piss off,” I said, under my breath.

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