The start of football season reminds me of a time when my old pal Mingo had a brief but fateful romance.
We hadn’t seen much of Mingo for awhile. This led us to suspect there might be a woman involved. Guys often drop off the radar when there is a new woman in their lives, partly because they don’t want their friends to scare the woman away.
Our suspicions proved correct.
We learned this when Mingo invited Skippy and me to his place to watch a football game and meet his new girlfriend.
This seemed a grand opportunity for us, and we arrived at the appointed time.
Mingo made the introductions and busied himself setting up a round of drinks and putting out some snacks.
Mingo, the new girl Whitney, her name was and Skippy sat on the sofa, and I took my place in the recliner.
I noticed that Anne Bonny, Mingo’s Amazon parrot, was uncharacteristically quiet.
Mingo had acquired the bird when his friend Asher Mendelbaum moved back to New York. Anne, named after the great pirate Anne Bonny, was a social bird who was usually quite chatty.
On that day, however, she wasn’t saying anything, and seemed to be glaring at Whitney, if it is possible for birds to glare.
The rest of us made polite conversation as we waited for the game to start.
Mingo had been telling us how he and Whitney met, and how wonderful she was.
Apparently, this was too much for Anne.
“Oy vey,” the bird commented from above, rolling its eyes.
Whitney jumped, and whirled around to look at Anne in surprise, while Skippy and I tried not to laugh.
Mingo quickly tried to change the subject to avoid embarrassment.
About that time, the game started, and that engaged our attention.
Presently, the cat, Ezekiel, entered the room. Having awakened from a nap, he had started to patrol the house.
He noticed the snacks on the coffee table and hopped up to investigate, overturning a tray of cheese and crackers and sending it crashing to the floor.
“G%D D*@N Cat!” Anne exclaimed from her perch, which appeared to startle Whitney more than the falling tray.
Skippy and I couldn’t help laughing that time, which drew a censorious glance from Mingo, who was still hoping to make a good impression.
I began to wonder if Whitney was a good fit for Mingo if she was that jumpy.
Ezekiel was unconcerned about Anne’s remark, because he was used to the bird scolding him. He went about his business as usual.
The game continued. Mingo distributed another round of libations, and things seemed to be going along smoothly.
Then, the Vikings received a punt at about their own 2-yard line, and the player who caught the ball began sprinting down field.
“Run, you b%#@%*d!” cried Anne, adding her voice to the shouts of encouragement from the rest of us. Anne was a sports fan, and enjoyed a good game as much as anyone.
Whitney didn’t say much after that.
When halftime arrived, she looked at Anne, and then at Mingo.
“I don’t know if I can be with someone who has such a rude bird,” Whitney said, her voice flat. “I can’t condone that kind of language, and I can’t help wondering where she learned it,” she added, giving Skippy and me a hard look as she did so.
“Anne is usually a pleasant bird,” Mingo replied. “I’m sure you’ll like her once you get to know her.”
“I don’t want to get to know her,” Whitney retorted. “She’s rude and vulgar. And another thing cats don’t belong on tables.”
“Yente,” Anne interjected.
“What does that mean?” Whitney snapped as Skippy and I rolled about on the floor overcome with hilarity.
“I’m sure she doesn’t know what she’s saying,” Mingo said, trying to placate Whitney.
“I’ll make it easy for you,” Whitney said coldly. “You have to choose between me and the bird.”
“Well,” Mingo replied after a lengthy pause. “Anne is part of the family.”
“Fine,” Whitney said, flouncing out of the room and slamming the front door behind her.”
“Mazel tov,” Anne said, looking after her.
Skippy and I roared with laughter, and Mingo managed a wistful smile.
“And you thought you were going to have to worry about us scaring her away,” Skippy observed.
“Are you sorry she left?” I asked Mingo.
“Well,” Mingo replied thoughtfully. “If she was prepared to go after my pets and my friends, and try to dictate how they should behave, I figure it was just a matter of time before she came after me, and that just doesn’t seem like a good way to start a relationship.”