To clip a bird’s wings for the sake of keeping them in a cage was thought by Nigel to be a barbaric act. Yet here he is was in the hoarded home of a serial wing clipper. It smelled of woodchips and birdseed. The kind of familiar pet store smell, that makes the nose want to stop working, stop smelling. It halts the olfactory senses and begs the body to go outside and get some fresh air. The warm air hung in the room, filled with incessant tweeting and the vibration of little bird feet clinging from bar to bar of their cage. The rustle of the feathers, shaking them open and loose. Multiplied by at least 27 birds, the sound was deafening. Nigel would have to free them all. The man in question was not home, which frankly made it all the easier. Limping over to the first cage, he found the latch and laid his hand on it. But where would the birds go once they’d be freed? He had to open a window, a door – both. Dragging his left foot slightly behind his right, he made is way over to where he had entered, taking a nearby stack of books and propping the door open. Once secure, he made his humble way across the room, but struggled opening the window. It felt like it hadn’t been opened in years. Quite stuck. Nigel closed his eyes and pushed upwards with all his might, straining. He budged. Just enough where there was a crack. Suddenly, he heard a car door slam. His heart jumped into his throat, blood pulsed in his ears. Was he home so soon? Nigel tried to talk himself down. It could just be a neighbor. The reverberation of the street isn’t always accurate as to where the sound is coming from; It could have been the next street over. Nigel’s hands started to sweat. He could feel each individual bead form in pinpricks on his palm. He would have to start releasing the birds, hoping they’d find the front door, and deal with the window later. He took the nearest cage and opened it. “Come on, little fella. Don’t you want to be free?” The yellow and green parakeet looked at him with beady eyes and lightly chirped to him.
“Nigel, what you are you doing? These birds can’t fly.”