Sunday was a sad day. My friend Biggles the budgie died. Both he and my other budgie pal Paolo had come down with a severe bacterial infection. The trouble with birds is that they are too tough and macho for their own good. If they are sick they hide it because sick birds in the wild are likely to be attacked by other birds. The trouble with that is that humans only realise that their birds are sick when they are on their last legs. So on Saturday morning when my male staff uncovered Paolo and Biggles' cage and found them looking very sorry for themselves he feared the worst and took them both down to the vet - Auntie Cara, who had only the day before given Badger his enema. I think Auntie Cara now suspects that my male staff is stalking her, because just lately he seems to be spending more time with her in her surgery than he does at home.
Then, early on Sunday morning the phone rang, waking Badger and I. I thought I was having a nightmare because my male staff padded stark naked into the living room and picked up the phone. It wasn't pretty. Badger was dry heaving so much I thought he might have to go back to see Auntie Cara again. My eyes are still sore from the sight, but I'm sure my vision will return to normal soon. I've made a mental note to sleep with my fur over my eyes in future in case it happens again. Anyway, Auntie Cara was on the phone and she had bad news. Poor Biggles had died in the night despite Auntie Cara's best efforts. He was just too sick.
So, later on Sunday afternoon my staff went together to the vet surgery to collect Biggles' little body. They brought him home wrapped in an old tea towel and encased in a shoe box. Then we were ushered outside into the garden for the funeral. My female staff held Badger and I while my male staff dug a small hole beneath the evodia tree where two other budgies are buried. All seemed well until my male staff unwrapped Biggles' body, but then the sight of him, his usually bright green feathers slightly dulled and his tiny eyes closed now forever made my staff's eyes leak. Funny, death seems to do that to humans. My male staff's eyes leaked when his mum died too. My staff gently stroked Biggle's tummy and then my male staff lowered him into the little hole that he had prepared. Then he filled in the hole, which made his eyes leak even more. He mumbled something that sounded like "Fly free little one." I thought that Biggles might have difficulty doing that, buried as he was under a foot of clay.
Later, back in our cages Badger and I were discussing how we'd miss Biggles' circuits around the living room. He always flew in a clockwise direction for some reason. Then often at the end of the circuit he'd land on my male staff's shoulder before hopping back into his cage to either scoff his dinner or attack his mirror, both of which he did with enormous enthusiasm. I think Badger was a bit confused about the day's proceedings. "Why," he asked me, "did my male staff put Biggles in a hole in the ground? Had he been transformed into a mole while he was at the vet? Does this mean we won't be seeing him as often from now on?"
"Yes Badger, that's right." I said. "He's a mole now." Badger shrugged and went back to inhaling his basil.
Now Paolo is back at home and it's the responsibility of Badger and I to keep an eye on him. If he starts to look a bit poorly we're under instructions to wheek at the top of our voices. Trouble is we do that whenever we want food and my staff have yet to learn the difference between a "Paolo looks poorly" wheek, and a "Give me some basil" wheek. Consequently every time either one of us makes the slightest noise my staff come running in to see how Paolo is. Naturally we take advantage of this and put on our best starving cavy look. Humans have a small, primitive brain and are notoriously difficult to train.
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the thought of Biggles burrowing away under my feet.