We were asked to make a house call for an older housebound woman to trim her birds’ nails.
"Of course!" I said.
"Of course!" Erika said.
As we approached the address we had been given, the paved road ended.
Each house was more run down than the one before.
The evening grew darker.
The woman who opened the door was not - as she later admitted - housebound. Her husband sat on the couch by the front door quietly laughing.
“Could you get the birds?” I asked.
“Oh hell no,” she replied.
Undaunted, we entered the closet.
Inside, the two meanest Macaws we have to this day ever met were glaring down at us.
We gently wrapped each bird in my (favorite!) jacket and trimmed their nails. The time between taking off my jacket and wrapping the first bird was over thirty minutes.
When we emerged, Mr. Evil Bird Liar said, "Nice! Them birds have sent me to the emergency room!" He held up his fingers, demonstrating that they were all still there.
"When should I have you back?" Mrs. Evil Bird Liar asked.
I looked her in the eye and said evenly, "We are not coming back."
And we haven't.