Shadrach’s Tale

Once upon a time, Betsy purchased three little boy zebra finches.  She named them Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. She wasn’t trying to be sacreligious, by the way. She just liked the names.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego seemed happy enough. But since they were the latest in a long line of birds of various kinds for Betsy, she knew that what made a boy zebra finch the happiest of all was a girl zebra finch.  So she purchased three little girl zebra finches and named them appropriately.  Then she started moving birds into different cages, pairing them up.

Because Betsy also has four cats, all of whom view zebra finches as a tasty luncheon snack (dramatically demonstrated on one unfortunately occasion), she took the birds into the bathroom to move them and closed the door.

Meshach and Abednego were moved into their new cages with no problems.  Soon they were snuggling in their newly arranged marriages.  Then it was time to move Shadrach.

Shadrach got loose and was soon flying around the bathroom like a big moth. Since he had lived in a cage his whole life, and he was very small, his muscles were not that strong.  But panic lent him speed and agility.

I should pause here to say that the shower in the Palatial Horvath Estate’s magnificent bathroom is one of those pre-formed fiberglass deals. So the corners of the shower stall are squared off, leaving an open space between the corner of the wall and the edge of the shower stall.

I think you can see where this is going.

Shadrach, panicking, flew higher than he had ever flown before. He smacked his little head into the wall and…

…fell between the corner of the shower stall and the corner of the wall.

All the way down into inky darkness.

Heart in her throat, Betsy listened for any signs of life and heard none.  No fluttering.  No chirping.  Nothing.

“Well,” she thought. “He’s dead.  That sucks.”

And, although it made her very sad, she went about her business.

The next morning dawned. Still no sounds of Shadrach.  Betsy took a shower, still feeling sad.  Then later in the day, Betsy’s sister came to visit.  She went to use the bathroom. When she came out, her face was a mask of horror.

“I hear chirping,” she said.  “Coming from under the tub.”

For a moment Betsy and her sister stared at each other.

“It’s Shadrach. We can’t just leave him there,” Betsy said.  Her sister agreed.  But what to do?

Well, they did what you would have done.  They pulled apart the fiberglass shower enclosure all the way down to the tub.  They put the cage with Shadrach’s little arranged bride in it in the bathroom and went away to rest.  When they came back, Shadrach was clinging to the side of the cage.  Chirping.

Then, after Shadrach was safe in his cage, they put the whole shower back together. And it is still water-tight. After using Great Stuff and a whole lot of caulk.

Shadrach was known forever afterwards as “Shadrach, the little f-word”  And the f-word he was known by was not “finch”.

Years passed and eventually Shadrach and Meshach were the only two finches left.  They were 12 years old, which is a goodly age for a finch.

Shadrach died the morning Betsy was leaving for the RWA conference.  She misses him.

But he was still a little f-word.

 

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