Redbird was once my best friend, greeting me each day at my dismal work cubicle, a beacon of happiness as he chirped loudly around the office each morning after a St. Louis Cardinals win. Cub fans despised my red friend in the same way that I adored him, anonymous death threats scribbled in angry letters on my notepad, even murder attempts. More than once I rescued a barely breathing Redbird as he hung over my desk, a noose tight around his throat.
Then one sorrowful day almost two years ago, Redbird disappeared, kidnapped by desperate Cubs fans at the beginning of October. I shuffled numbly around the office that day, unsure of how to find my tortured friend, waiting for a ransom note from his captors. I only had one hint of what had happened to him, a savage scrawl in red across my desk top —
“You will never ever see your loud friend again!”
A week later, pictures of Redbird on a trolley car in San Francisco were sent to me, then at the Oakland A’s stadium. Another week passed and Redbird was on a float in a parade in Minnesota, then with beauty queens at a county beauty pageant. Toronto. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Brazil. His captors had brainwashed his bird brain. Redbird looked deliriously happy.
A year ago I lost my job. I thought I would never hear from Redbird again. But today, I saw pictures of Redbird on Facebook, frolicking with bikini clad babes, flirting with pretty tour guides, drinking, gambling. Redbird is living the life I never had.
He’s a winner. A product of a baseball culture that produces the best of the best. Redbird knows how to celebrate, a veteran of many October celebrations. I know now that he simply is a bird that has flown the nest, happy to have known me, the luckiest bird in the world. I am happy for him.
I may never see him again. And if I see him throwing confetti at Wrigley field this October…. I will kill him.