A houseful of animals can make even the simplest of tasks a lot more interesting - like making a sandwich.
As I untie the bag of bread, I hear the familiar swoosh and feel the slight breeze that signals the arrival of Loki the cockatiel. She lands on the cupboard and peers down at me. With his usual 2-second delay, Bailey the lovebird buzzes into the room and lands with an indignant shriek, as though he can't imagine why she'd leave him behind. He'll never understand that he means less to her than food.
As I spread the peanut butter, Carmen the canary also flies in, chirping like a squeaky door the whole time. Carmens seems to be unable to fly silently. She lands as far away from me, and Bailey the boss, as possible.
As I cut the bread, Loki can stand it no longer, and she practically falls off the cupboard to land on me.
"Get off." I say sternly, and she hops onto the counter, thrilled to be right beside the sandwich.
"That's not what I meant," I say with perhaps a hint of exasperation. "Down, Loki."
At last she jumps to the ground, and I throw a piece of crust to her. I expect to hear Bailey buzz past, as he is the smart one and loves to watch Loki do all the work and then take her reward.
Instead, I hear the squeaky-door, and turn with astonishment to see Loki and Carmen eating comfortably together. Well. This is a new friendship.
Bailey shoots past me like a fighter jet, landing so hard he has to bounce a few times so as not to fall over. He runs over to Carmen with his hilarious indignant clown-walk, caused by his oversized feet. Carmen leaps back as he charges and shrieks, doing that weird angry whine unique to lovebirds. He'll never attack anyone but he can throw a fit like nobody's business.
"I don't think she's trying to steal your girlfriend, Bailey," I say, but of course he doesn't listen.
Carmen flees to the cupboard, but Bailey is too angry now to calm down and enjoy the bread. He turns on Loki, who has been ignoring the drama because she loves her humans but the other birds can go jump off a cliff as far as she's concerned.
Bailey yells at her and she hisses back. She may be a wimp but the one thing she'll defend is her food.
They open their beaks and assume intimidating poses.
I eat my sandwich, watching with amusement and knowing that Bailey would never hurt his beloved, and that Loki's pathetic little beak is harmless.
Sure enough, Bailey attacks the ground, whining and stomping in frustration. Loki gives him a little shove. I wonder if it's ever occurred to her that his beak is the size of her head.
Before they can get into an actual tug-of-war with the food, there is a loud thumping noise. They both look up just in time for the giant bunny to slide across the slippery floor, almost right into them. Loki takes off with a scream, while Bailey falls to the side, taken by surprise.
Alice the bunny inhales the bread like the Hoover vacuum she is, then she thumps away before Bailey can recover his senses and tell her off.
Bailey blinks, stunned, and stares at the spot where there had been food only moments ago. He looks up at me hopefully, but I spread my empty hands.
"All done." I say.
Disappointed, he flies up to his regular perch to sulk. It's tough being boss of this motley crew.