'Attila, my little budgie.'
'Oh,' I said, 'I'm not very good with living things. Plastic flowers die on me. The Wellies even fell off my Bear and he got pneumonia and died.'
"Oh," she said, 'I don't think you'll have any trouble with Attila, 'cos he loves people. He loved you, I could tell. And all you have to do is feed him, bath him and talk to him.'
'What do you talk to him about.'
'Oh, just tell him about what's gone on during the day,' she said, 'the news or anything like that. He likes to hear news. Read things out of the newspapers.'
I thought, 'Oh, my God, what's happening here?' All I wanted was an uncomplicated relationship with a quickup the drawers and down the pub.
But I gave in. 'Okay,' I said. And I took the budgie and looked after him for a fortnight.
Now, I'm being totally honest when I say that I would never, ever hurt any living thing on purpose. I looked after that budgie as if it was one of my own. I came in from work, I talked to it, I fed it well. I gave it everything I had - egg and bacon in the morning, meat, two veg and gravy at night. And you know, it never ate it. Just turned its nose up at it. I even bathed it. I felt stupid getting into the bath with a budgie, I can tell-you that, scrubbing it down, then drying it with a hair dryer and rubbing its little crutch
  dry. But I did everything I could. I even ripped up bits of newspaper and put it in it's cage so that it had something to read, and do you know what it did? It died out of spite! Definitely. I could see what was running through its mind. It just said one day, 'Right, I'm going to knacker your chances with me mistress:' And he just lay down in the cage and finito benito, the wooden overcoat job, 'Come on, Death, let's have it. Thank you very much.' Wham, ham, thank you mam-gonsky. As far as the David Attenborough stakes were concerned, it was scoring zero on the livometer.
I came home from work and found it there. I tried everything I could. I tried giving it the kiss of life with a pea shooter over its beak. I tried steaming it fresh over the kettle. I even tried the rubber bands ug the jacksie and the propeller on the nose but-it just kept divebombing the floor. In the end I thought there's nothing for it... I'm going to have to get another one.
Now, bear in mind that this was Christmas. I thought, 'Well, you can't walk through the streets of Manchester with a dead budgie sticking out the top of your pocket.' So I got an old Woolies carrier bag and stuck the budgie in. the paper bag and went down the street. On the way, with it being Christmas Eve, the town was going crackers; all the people were in the pubs from the offices getting drunk and insulting the
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