Monday night was a cold, rainy evening and Beaven had started another one of his Spanish classes. He really likes this one because there’s homework involved and he’s really weird that way. So he’s sitting at the kitchen table doing his homework. We have the TV off so the sounds of the house this evening are the gentle hum of my laptop, the soft Spanish mumbles at the kitchen table and the sound of rain outside the dark window. It was a peaceful evening.
Then Fannie Flamingo showed up. She brought me a photo she took through the window at the church.
Then she started screaming and yelling something about Flamingo Abuse and threatening to turn the church into the Flamingo Freedom Fighters. Whenever Fannie gets worked up like this there are always feathers flying all over the place. She made the FFF sound pretty intimidating.
The birds are left over from the last youth fundraiser. I thought they would be auctioned off when their services were no longer needed and they could go on with their lives with jobs and homes just like the rest of us. That’s what all the other flocks have done.
I first met the Flamingo Family about 14 years ago, the first year they were used as fund raising for the church youth. The way the deal works is that the church youth get about 24 plastic flamingo lawn ornaments and put them in church members’ front yards. They’re arranged in flocks of five or six birds. If a flock shows up in your yard you can get rid of them by paying the youth to come pick them up. They also sell insurance for a fee but you can still get them in your yard if someone is willing to pay more money than the insurance you purchased.
That’s about it. Pretty simple. The kids always make a bunch of money and everyone has fun. (Except Linda Peavy who thinks they look tacky and always buys insurance but ends up with a flock anyway because I’m always willing to pay the kids more money to send the birds anyway just to irritate her. I love Linda like a sister that way.)
Fannie was the leader of the flock that appeared in my front yard and I had a fine time getting to know the flock. Frank was a great help around the house. Fern and Farfel pretty much stayed outside in the garden. Fred mostly watched TV. He liked Jerry Springer and Judge Judy. Francine kept busy re-decorating my house and cleaning. But there was the day Fred and Francine got into an argument while he was watching Jerry Springer on the TV and stuffed one of Francine’s legs down her throat. And when Fred invited a whole flock of grackles to watch the Super Bowl at our house I had to set some house rules. Fannie eventually got a job passing out free samples at Sam’s. But she got fired because she started inviting all the homeless people to stop by for a sample.
The church ended up with about four different flocks and before the project was over I had names for all 24 birds. They auctioned the birds off and some people still have theirs. I used to see Flobella and Faith around town sometimes.
I ended up taking Fannie with me to Guatemala in 1999 but when I wasn’t watching she was kidnapped. I didn’t hear from her for a long time. She eventually showed up at the Betty Ford Clinic with a tattoo under her left wing that read “Free Elian Gonzales” and no memory of anything else.
She was in New York City on September 11th and led everyone across the Brooklyn Bridge because her bright pink feathers were so easy to spot in the gray dust. She got a nice plaque from Mayor Guiliani who has been her good friend ever since. He put her in charge of the Pigeon Relocation Project to find homes for the pigeons who lost their homes that day. So she did a lot of travelling to the big cities all over the world. in search of tall buildings. In the process she met a bald eagle who lives atop the Washington Monument. He wanted to settle down which I thought was a great idea because Sam was eligible for early retirement and a hefty pension but Fannie finally decided she wasn’t meant for the domestic life.
In London she protested the prohibition against feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square and chained herself to the statue of Lord Nelson and started throwing bird seed. She was in Tokyo taking a geisha class when the earthquake and tsumani hit. As soon as she heard she flew into action without even taking her geisha makeup off. She eventually solved the problems with the nuclear reactors by organizing a billion pigeons to fly over and seal the reactors with pigeon poop.
It was nice to see the sisters together. Fernie has been working the state fair circuit since her husband Falafel was killed in a tragic woodworking accident. He got his wing caught in a Delta floor-mounted planer and nothing was left of him but a pile of feathers. Fernie runs the funnel cake stand at the Texas State Fair where fried foods are her specialty. The only problem with having Fernie visit is all the grease and powdered sugar in the kitchen.
I sent Beaven to Garland yesterday to get them and bring them home. He is in the dog house with the flock from the start because he referred to them as “penguins.” Then they started fighting so he put their box in the trunk of the car.
As soon as he got home I realized what the fuss was all about. Somehow an older flock had gotten mixed in with this year’s birds. Or maybe they just came home to roost. But there were the flock from 2004: Wesley, Calvin, Luther, Ronnie Gene, and Betty Sue. That flock always had problems getting along. They get into loud theological arguments over Faith vs Works at the end of which Betty Sue usually slugs someone with her bible. She packs a pretty mean wallop because it’s in one of those quilted cases with a handle. When she winds up and delivers it’s a real live gol-durned Come to Jesus meeting right there.
But that left the new flock and I had never met them. They’re pretty cowed right now but it did get them to tell me their names: Phillip, Phyllis, Phoebe, Philemon and Philbert. They all met each other in pharmacy school. So the problem of finding them jobs seems solved.
Fannie insists that I find homes for the birds.
So, here’s the deal: To adopt one of these birds, make a donation to the youth by writing out a check payable to FPC Garland. Give it to me on Sunday or mail it to my house. Don't give it to Pepa-she is busy this Sunday and... well, this activity hasn't actually been approved yet--(as of 6 am Wed morning. But I have high hopes.). If any hands get dirty they should be mind. Lord knows, I will have shoveled a ton of flamingo poop by Sunday.
Specify which bird you want. I only have the ten so it's first come, first served. I will do a background check to make sure you have room in your house and can provide transportation if they need it. Usually they fly to work, though. But they’ll need an initial bird seed supply until they get their first paycheck.