Enough is enough. As I sit here on my creaking old sofa, watching endless Batman repeats on the telly, I realise that I don’t have an original thought in my head. And that situation is hardly satisfactory for a budding blockbuster author.
Forget Batman and his fellow hackneyed super-adventurers. I figure that I should set my sights somewhat lower and yet still utilise the creative writing gift that God obviously gave me.
In a weakish lightbulb moment I decide that my first attempt at writing an action story shall feature a protagonist based on someone I know really well, well enough to tweak his buttons and transform him into something just as ordinary but who now has the ability to take on the baddies.
Surely, my potential adoring readership will appreciate a hero with whom they can identify.
I decide to base my crimebuster character on my friend and neighbour Roy, a truly humble guy who is a shelf stacker by day and my drinking buddy at The Palm Tree pub most evenings. He is going to be transformed by yours truly into a — wait for it — righter-of-wrongs parakeet named Budgieman.
How Roy is to be turned into an avian version of himself I cannot be bothered to figure out so my fabulous story is going to start with my friend already having made the transformation.
But then someone takes a match to my lightbulb moment. Reality takes over and my protagonist assumes control over his creator.
There’s a hammering on my front door. It’s a 5ft 10ins budgerigar and he’s both frightened and furious. ‘Dave, look what’s happened to me!’ he screams, and he flies past me into the house, yelling: ‘You’ve got to help me.’ Without admitting liability, I tell my feathered neighbour to calm down.
Valuable minutes are lost as my wife Rose and I search frantically for a pet transporter box big enough to take our friend to hospital.
In the meantime, the poor guy in a frenzied panic has flown into the airing cupboard and cannot be coaxed out until Rose whispers under the door: ‘Who’s a cheeky Roy, then?’
After failing to find the phone number of the RSPCA, I bundle Budgieman into my car and schlep him off to hospital. The triage nurse attends to us immediately and reckons that my poor neighbour has fallen victim to a rare form of avian herpes called chirpees. He is admitted to the emergency unit and a ‘Nil By Beak’ sign placed over his bed.
I’m desperately trying to tell the doctor that Budgieman is my own creation but he doesn’t listen. Instead, he rules out surgery and prescribes a course of intense physiotherapy which includes the use of such apparatus as an extra-large ladder, a big bell and a massive mirror.
At least Roy’s condition appears to be tweetable. But, as I settle back to watch The Penguin try yet again to thwart Batman, I swear I shall never give up my literary ambitions.
David Silver was a reporter, sub-editor and columnist on various newspapers in Greater Manchester, England. He retired in 2002 and from 2011-2016 wrote a light-hearted column for The Courier, a weekly newspaper for UK expatriates in Spain.