Romance Non-Fiction posted April 18, 2016

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My date with the boss's son... Pete the 6'2 parakeet

Pete the Parakeet - A 70's Date

by Mary Wakeford

Contest Entry - Dating Disaster

I've been on several dating disasters and in all fairness, I owned the disaster on a few, such as the time I maced a guy I liked while he was driving a car at 45 mph. It seemed logical to my seventeen year old brain that discharging mace his direction would keep our date memorable, thereby endearing him to me. Epic fail. The macing is a story for another telling.

Now on to the head honcho's son, aptly titled "Pete the Parakeet."

I was an eighteen year old single, white female. A status assigned throughout my junior high and high school years...and then some.

My senior photo could be a Google image if you typed in awkward. Noah's tome describes awkward as 'causing embarrassment.' That pretty accurately summed me up. I suspect it came from eight years of parochial school and separated play grounds for the boys and girls.

The FanStory 'warming up' status currently defining my writing popularity was completely out of reach. 'Hot' or 'Exploding' would have been attributed to my prepubescent acne.

My disaster date was a newly appointed sheriff deputy five years my senior. Go big or go home. Giddy up.

"Pete" (name changed to protect the parakeet), was the son of the head honcho at a company that would eventually hold claim to twenty six of my corporate employment years.

Pete would often stop by my desk to make small talk before heading to the second floor to visit with his father.

I eventually ran out of excuses for turning down Pete's date requests.

My "I'm not able to's" were usually delivered with nervous stuttering and deafening gaps in conversation; sometimes involved the removal of wisdom teeth, one fake appointment at a time, and a fictional boyfriend once or twice. Pick your favorite. I imagined my sixth grade teacher, Sister Jeanne, shuttering with every clever fib. I was willing to risk a black mark on my soul to spare Pete's self esteem.

Months would pass before I caved and accepted a date, while reasoning his Irish heritage was a win-win and worthy of a chicken din-din.

It was the shiny silver handcuffs that dangled from civilian street pants worn on days off that sounded the alarm, genetics might be the only attribute currying favor on my compatibility chart of pro vs.con. Pete's con cup was runneth'ing over. The butt jewelry wasn't helping his case for romance.

I'll admit, I was struggling to define my type at that age, but I was pretty sure he wasn't it. My inners didn't flutter and my outers weren't overly excited at the sight of him either. Then there were those damn handcuffs.

I have a name for my honest and sarcastic inner voice, I call her Brunhilda which is fitting because she's a tad
bitchy with her constant negative blabbing inside my head. "Bruni" keeps me grounded, safe, and expressed concerns early on. As in the very first time she laid eyes on him.

If his 'old man' fired me for refusing to date his kid, she promised to not blurt stupid answers or launch the 'deer in the headlights' expression during re-employment interviews.

Surely her fingers were crossed when she offered that life line, because Brunhilda can't help herself when placed in stressful scenarios, such as employment interviews.

Trying to stay optimistic, I shushed her. In retrospect, that 'shush' could have been the pivotal moment when Bruni crossed over to the 'even darker' side.

Back to Pete the parakeet. In the unlikely phenomenon he would be successful in getting my inners and outers jumpstarted, his full Irish lineage carried the potential of bumping my future offspring to a solid 3:1 ratio. That got my pulse jumping by one.

You need to understand, the Irish are gifted with a pesky character trait, that being the ability to sustain a grudge over centuries. The one against the British for the potato famine of 1845 is genetically coded and was passed to me by my full-blooded mama bear.

Acquisition of a full blooded Celt into the family genetics would dilute my dad's English blue nosed Protestant DNA to a minority congress, and place the green party once again in the majority.

Brunhilda, being one to stir the pot, was hoping for a jungle fever infusion otherwise known as a "smoked Irish" to shake up the hazel tree and flush out the Archie Bunker types. Brunhilda is a real shaker upper'er.


It was confirmed. "Pete" would pick me up at 6:00 p.m. the following evening. My left eye started to twitch; Brunhilda was the main suspect.

I considered feigning tuberculosis the minute I opened the door to the glaring vision of Pete wrapped in bright green polyester pants stretched over his largesse badonka.

A matching chartreuse button down shirt tented his torso as if screaming for attention. It worked.

Shiny white patent leather shoes poking out from beneath his electrified legs added two giant exclamation points to my living Hell.

Brunhilda sent the two inch jaw drop signal to my face with a simultaneous reinforcement twitch to my right eye. My dad smirked when he saw it.

As I clenched my jaw shut, I scanned Greenland with my non-twitching orb for the ever present handcuff accessory.

To my relief, the silver bracelets weren't dangling from any of the pulsating parakeet green polyester belt loops. I hoped his mother hadn't contributed to Pete's preening. Brunhilda couldn't believe his mother would let him out of the house looking like that. Even my parent's eyes were watering from the assault on their pupils.

Once the fear of rape and strangulation by an oversized leprechaun passed, I conceded defeat with grace and suggested to my grinning parents that I'd be home in fifteen minutes. Wishful thinking.

We headed out with Bruni incessantly chatting it up about what she really wanted to say to this overgrown elf. She may have even dropped the F-bomb. Shocking.

Just to continue the humiliation, I glanced at his shoes again as we headed to the car and wondered if he was getting his haberdashery tips from Pat Boone.

Brunhilda snickered before belting out the lyrics to "You Light up my Life", off-key. Debby Boone would have been insulted.

As I was being escorted to the car by the giant glow worm, the disturbing movie Soylent Green came to mind. It seemed an option. Bruni wondered if the movie's euthanasia chair had handcuffs.

I was also pretty certain the neighborhood party lines were firing up simultaneously as we launched. Not so much about the obvious greening of the hood, but that Mary was actually going on a date. So what if the guy resembled a parakeet. It was a start. Baby steps. Irish baby steps, potentially.

I would have loved to have been an acrosternum on the wall to my parent's conversation after our departure and the laughter they must have shared in stark contrast to my inner freak out.

Pete opened the car door, adding a second tally to his pro column.

As I settled in, I caught a glimpse of my parents spying not so stealthily from the kitchen window. I imagined them feeling coy as their grey toppers bobbed back and forth while jockeying for a better line of vision around the tree-scape.

I knew dad was giddy having witnessed Pete's display of chivalry. Within five minutes he had already outshined my last date, circa 1975.5. That guy rolled up in a beltless beater and honked. Once. He never saw twice, or me that night.

Dad rule #65783. Otherwise known as "Honk, Idle & You are Not Dating my Daughter" was an enforceable infraction.

That places my last date before 'green' at pre-1975. I'm getting depressed just writing this. Brunhilda reminded me I was a late bloomer, short with the added burden of kankles,
Too shy, and loaded with zits in high school. Not many guys were looking for that package.

I felt better immediately as I felt my forehead for bumps.

As Pete headed for the driver's door of the soon-to-be rolling greenhouse, Brunhilda quipped I should do a quick search of the glove box and console for the missing cuffs. I ignored her obvious profiling attempt and fastened my seatbelt as I whispered Jesus, Mary and Joseph, a go-to-phrase I learned from my mom. Mom would invoke it during times of stress, trauma or when she burned dinner.

I followed the interjection with my favorite go-to, "What the foooook have I gotten myself into?" I closed strong with a quick call out to St. Patrick for an intervention about the time Pete's seatbelt clicked.

Brunhilda whispered she was praying for an intervention in the form of an apparition--for a potato truck to come out of nowhere and slam into the car. Left side.

We drove away with Bruni riding shotgun announcing it would be a MiracleGro if this relationship blossomed beyond 9:45, while I fantasized about dating a guy with an Ansel Adams black and white sense of style.

Brunhilda wasted no time in sharing a Sally Struthers line from an All in the Family episode, "Once you go black, you'll never go back." I admonished her for being inappropriate. She retorted I sounded like my mother.

I can barely remember the details of the date some forty years later, other than it was a solid fifty-five minute drive from home already placing my fifteen minute 'time share' out of reach.

The venue was a fancy restaurant in Tempe, near the ASU campus. Pete stood out like an unripe banana as we shared a candlelit table among the Ansel Adams types and their long legged, kankle-less women.

I was thankful for the anonymity the fifty mile distance provided. Jesus, Mary and Joseph had delivered MarMar a Hail Mary, just as a starched linen napkin slid from my lap. My kankles made the save just before it made contact with the exquisite flooring. Brunhilda hooted "Woot Woot, SAVED BY THE KANK'S!!"

Our first and last date came to an end, awkwardly, a few hours later on my parent's front porch, and with it any hope of a 3:1 future offspring ratio in favor of Ireland.

I thanked Pete for dinner. He followed up by suggesting a second date, which I immediately declined as Brunhilda squealed "YOU GO GIIIIRRRRLLLL!!!"

He swooned in for a kiss. I pivoted left, both eyes now twitching, and reached for the door handle. LOCKED! Shit!!!

I defined awkward again as I fumbled for a key in the cavernous abyss of my oversized purse, stress pimples bursting forth and kankles shaking, lending further confirmation of my less than stellar dating modus operandi.

As the glow worm retreated to his car, acrosternums were circling the porch light in a kamikaze frenzy as I imagined the neighborhood party lines firing up for a second time that evening.

I contemplated the locked door fiasco as I readied for bed, surmising my mom was intent on pulling out all the stops with the delay of entry, otherwise known as 'stall 'til she falls [for him]' maneuver.

As I applied Clearasil to a new crop of stress pimples, I conceded my mom's imbedded Harrington potato grudge DNA had been activated with the flicker of hope for an Eire majority in the family tree.

Hey, I get it. I was boyfriend-less ages 1 through 18 and for the most part, dateless too. Mama bear was vying for any hint of significant other potential given parakeet Pete's lineage.

My Irish rose mother was lending her best effort to the impossible. As I turned off the bathroom light and headed down the hallway to my room, Brunhilda quipped, "You missed one". I responded to the slight with my bird finger in full extension as the Clearasil started to heat up my new crop of zits, minus one.

As I settled under the covers, I understood Mom's desperation--she feared I'd be single at forty and the proud owner of half as many cats. Mom was not a cat person.

It seemed to me, Jesus, Mary and Joseph were wringing their hands as well.

A few decades would pass before MarMar, or the environment, would ever go green again. Brunhilda made up her own little ditty just as I was about to succumb to slumber:

"Once you go green, you just want cuss and scream!!
Vamoose, scram, skedaddle, get out of my dream!!
Then you settle for single status and get all fat-sie
As you collect lots and lots of black and white cat-sies."

I suppressed the flinch as I rolled over in an attempt to hide my own burgeoning fears. The last thing I needed was the little bitch smothering my Ansel Adams dreams with her off key singing.

The next morning, at 8:03 sharp, inquiring minds at the office were dying to hear a play by play of the big date. Mum was the word. Brunhilda was dying to spill the green beans, but I had a good job and was intent on keeping it. I left it at "Next up." Brunhilda meowed.

Life played out, once again proving God has a sense of humor. I wasn't fired and "Pete" eventually took a bride.

The bride would eventually be hired at her father-in-law's office. Yes, you read that correctly. She was an interesting bird herself, and did not use tact or discretion in blabbing the details while oversharing their sexual exploits as young married's to the varied collection of 'drop jawed' associates taking turns with the salt shaker. The lunch room owned a lot of eye rolls, and many well deserved LALALALALALALALALA's.

Gallons of virtual bleach were needed for the walls exposed to her ever flowing TMI.

Brunhilda called her a blurter of the worst kind and broke out in song every time she entered our 'scorn the porn' zone, blaring the lyrics to Loretta Lynn's hit, in a somewhat modified version, "Outta my head and stay in HER bed" repeatedly in attempts to stifle the erotic details being spewed over pounds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

You should know the handcuffs were a recurring theme in their adventurous and 'arresting' behind the scenes activities. Brunhilda just hollered, "I KNEW IT!!!!!!"

Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Mary & Brunhilda all demanded ear plugs, along with most every other employee. Mr. HeadHoncho and in-law to Junior's 'hot & messy Mrs' employed his own set of BOZE ultras. Who could blame him?

I heard through the grape vine a few years later that they added a little pea to their pod. My guess is their gene pool ratio was diluted to a 3:1 ratio. Irish still claiming the majority with Nymphomanian owning the minority.

I am also happy to share I went on a perfect date two years after the green eclipse. He is still my perfect date. We've added four peas to our pod. The Harrington DNA was again diluted and greatly enhanced over our nearly four decades together as German and Scandinavian were added to the mix with our quad of peas. He never honked, or idled while dating me, and mom loved him so much she shushed the green gene, once and for all.

I do own three cats. They are not green, but they do like ham. One is named Sam. Brunhilda thought that was lame and called me out about fibbing about the cat name...
No Sam.
I am.

DATING DISASTERS contest entry


This is a true account of a 1975 date. The courter's name has been changed out of courtesy. Although I've taken liberties with the exaggeration of the green, it was extremely hideous, even for the mid-70's. The handcuff's were the real deal, as was the oversharing bride.

"Pete's" father was a kind, intelligent, and extremely successful man and in retrospect, handled the situation extremely well. I would go on to receive several promotions under his reign.

Thank you to ShutterStock for the complimentary use of their image for this story. These feathers accurately match the color of the clothing worn by my date.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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