He was the first pet that I actually owned, though Butterscotch was really mine in heart.
I had always wanted a tropical bird that could talk, but I couldn't afford a parrot. I used to go to the pet store and look at all the birds, and one day they had a bird I could afford! The truth is that he was a very unfriendly bird, and the store was trying to get rid of him - so he was $50, actually cheaper than the cage he came in. When you walked up to the cage he would hiss and lunge at you. He had quite a beak.
He never learned how to talk, and he demolished some of my training gloves with his powerful beak, drawing blood a few times. Eventually he learned who I was, and we became very close. At night he used to fly over to my bed and curl up next to my head where we would fall asleep together.
One of the proudest moments in my life was when I brought him back to
the pet store a year later to have his wings clipped (he was a tenacious
bird, so this was a somewhat futile exercise as he would still manage
to fly). The woman behind the counter opened his carrier box with a
towel ready. The moment he popped out, she quickly covered him with a
towel and then pulled out each wing to clip away. When she was done,
she noticed that he wasn't fighting and she lifted her hands off the
towel. A look of concern washed her face when the bird under the towel
didn't stand up - I'm sure for a moment she thought she'd killed my bird.
She lifted the towel away, and Joe popped his head up, wondering what
all the fuss was about. She started to pet him and he responded happily,
and the woman said, "this is the kindest bird I have ever seen!"
After a few seconds of thought she stopped and startedly yelped, "I remember this bird!" as she recalled that it was the meanest bird they had ever sold.
Joe was a great bird and I miss him terribly, but sadly he died the first weekend in October, 1989, triggering what seemed to be a series of curses during the first weekend of October for many years to come.
Daveola of GD & MH