Title: Counting Parakeets
Author: H. Lewis-Foster
Length: 4,005 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
Pete is a doctor. He’s working the night shift, and desperately needs to get some sleep. But he hasn’t a chance, with Ollie, a chattering parakeet who’s decided to perch on Pete’s gate post. He finally cracks and follows the bird to a classy house on the far side of town, where he finds Ollie’s owner, Andy, hanging upside-down.
Delightful as Andy is, Pete’s too tired to be tempted by the performance artiste, who promises to keep Ollie under control. But Pete’s curious to know … What does a performance artiste do exactly? There’s only one way to find out.
This is a cute little story, which the blurb mostly describes well. Pete is starting to get really annoyed with the bird that has shown up on his garden fence, given that he needs his sleep. Finally he just can’t take it anymore and is determined to find out who owns the bird and give them a piece of his mind. He follows the bird in his car into a very high-end part of town, to find the bird in a pool house, behind a large mansion. That’s when he finds Andy, a performance artiste. Andy apologizes for the bird’s behaviour and invites Pete to his show.
Pete is a bit of a snob and judgmental to boot. He’s sure a show like that is for weird people, but he finds himself showing up despite his certainty that he’s going to hate it. Only he’s surprised to find “normal” people there, including some other medical personnel from the hospital. It’s seems Andy is kind of a Cirque du Soleil type acrobat, and Pete is quite impressed with his muscle control. Andy then invites him back and perhaps it’s the beginning of something good.
I was a bit torn by Pete. I felt for him and his frustration with having a yappy bird keeping him awake, his fit of pique chasing the thing was funny. Then I was annoyed with his snobby attitude about what Andy did, but I figured at least he gave it a try and was willing to change his views about it. Andy was fun and came across as kind of a free spirit, but as it’s Pete’s story, you don’t find out too much about him as a person, just some of his background.
It was a cute story without a lot of angst and a very mouthy bird. I have to say I’ve never really heard a parakeet talk, although if you are looking for parakeet facts, my friend (who owns three – who don’t talk) posted some interesting facts. Apparently the bird with the most vocabulary has over 1,700 words, so maybe there is an Ollie out there bring folks together.