Little Big Apple Story, Part 3

All illustrations for this story were developed in vector software and painted in Essentials.

PART 3, My pal Bobble

Jumping ahead a few months, New York City was enduring the throes of winter. Dingy snow from the previous storm was still piled along streets. Inside my apartment the steam radiator kept things toasty during the day, but at night the heat was often off in the building. Like clockwork at 6 o'clock the next morning, the super fired up the furnace. The steam created a chorus of clangs and hisses throughout the building as warmth flowed for another day.

Bobble and I had become pals. He was not a lackluster birdbrain at all. In fact, it surprised me that his tiny skull packed so much intelligence and personality. To aid in keeping him healthy, the door on his cage remained open. This gave him the freedom to come and go at will. The little guy flew laps inside the apartment for exercise and for the joy of being a bird. After making several rounds, he returned to his cage panting and a bit drained.

When I called his name and held my hand high, he began bobbing his head in an excited fashion. He would then launch into the air and fly over to perch on my finger. Immediately he began entertaining me with his growing repertoire of sounds. His best was one he learned while I was gone during the day, fire and police sirens. To learn that, he had to hear it many, many times. That spoke volumes about my neighborhood.

Each night after work, I covered Bobble's cage with a tablecloth. Grandma had given it to me as a going-away gift. She was a beloved member of the family, but her gift ideas were a mystery. An example is the accordion case she gave me for my 16th birthday; just a case, no instrument. If ever I become interested in learning the accordion, there will be a handsome container for it. My parent's attic contained many jewels like this.

Grandma's tablecloth remained unused because my apartment had no table; TV trays served that purpose. But the cloth proved handy after Bobble came aboard. The cover helped him rest when I stayed up late doing homework. If he could not see outside his cage, he could not see me. In his mind this meant the fun giant was absent, and nothing would take place more exciting than a wing-tuck and a snooze.

On some weekends sleeping late occupied the top of my to-do list. However, Bobble was an early bird. If he remained covered long after sunrise, he would start pecking a bell in the cage. Who can sleep through that? He learned the bell was key to getting the cover removed. After this, sleeping late became only a fantasy. If I ignored the bell to steal a few extra winks, it soon sounded as though Santa had entered the building. A guy needs to have some control over his life, so the bell from hell stayed.

We took showers together. Bobble learned this trick by himself. On morning while I was bathing, he flew into the bathroom and perched atop the curtain rod. He seemed to enjoy the steam drifting his way. I let him hop aboard my finger and held him closer to the spray. The little dude went bananas fluffing his feathers and letting the water soak in. It was not long before he was wetter than the Hudson River. This was a bird that loved water. From then on, he joined me often at the shower.

Before winter was over, a heart-stopping event...(Tragedy, cont. in Part 4)