Former schoolteacher and current unemployment check collector, Ms. Trouse, claims that an evil-genius parrot, bought as a pet for her 5th grade class at Jack Kerouac Elementary School, cunningly usurped her role as teacher, ultimately leading to her dismissal. “That little bastard was out for my job from the start,” the disgruntled Ms. Trouse says with a snarl. “And nobody can tell me he didn’t know exactly what he was doing all along.”
The ‘little bastard’ of whom she speaks is Captain Moriarty (who also answers to ‘Dean’), a ten year old gregarious African Grey parrot with an IQ of 140. The Berkeley private school purchased him 13 months ago, hoping to educate students about exotic animals. “We wanted to do something unique and progressive,” said one administrator with dreadlocks and awful B.O., who looked as if he just crawled out of a cave. “Every class has a pet hamster or mouse. But how often do you hear about a genius parrot? That’s just f*ing rad, dude.” Ms. Trouse, however, begs to differ. “I was against the whole, stupid, hippy-dippy idea right from the jump. Especially when I heard the bird was a genius. And when they wheeled him into the classroom in that ‘danger cart’ cage of his, and our eyes met for the first time, I felt a chill go down my spine… That bird might just be the devil,” she shuddered.
The red flags, she says, showed themselves right away. “He had those kids wrapped around his creepy little tallon-fingers the second they laid eyes on him. They were mesmerized by his beautiful feathers; he’s a gorgeous lil bastard, I’ll give him that much. And smart; he was calling them all by name, in that garbled, walkie-talkie sounding voice, within the first 10 minutes. They couldn’t get enough of him. It was “Captain Moriarty This!” and “Dean That!” all day everyday from that moment on. The fact that he’s a total attention whore didn’t help matters.”
After quickly winning all the students over, Dean allegedly commenced his twisted mission to undermine Ms. Trouse. “I remember trying to teach the kids about American history, and he would interrupt me by making siren or car alarm noises anytime he wanted to correct me on a minor detail. Then he would go into these long-winded, rambling, poetic diatribes about history, then wrap it all up with a DEMAND to be let out of his cage. If I ignored him and went on with the lesson, he’d kick all his seed out of his bowl onto the ground, and proceed to tap his claws in the empty metal bowl, making that awful noise I can still hear in my sleep every second of every night…and he would sit there staring right into my soul, making burp and fart noises, until I would finally let him out.”
But apparently things only went from bad to worse whenever Dean was let out of the cage. “He would fly laps around the classroom and punk my head every chance he got,” Ms. Trouse lamented, “Once during a pizza party, he swooped down and snatched a whole slice right outta my hand midflight, and flew off with it in his beak. An hour later he crapped on me. I’m tellin ya, he’s wicked.”
Putting him back into the cage and covering him with a sheet apparently did nothing to cease the relentless abuse. “He just chewed a hole in the sheet right next to his perch and peered out at me with one eye, always watching me. I remember one time we were all alone, and I was grading papers, and I heard what sounded like my voice on a walkie -talkie say, “Let’s play with drugs and guns today, children!” I looked around, startled, and saw his beedy little eye watching me through the hole in the sheet. Then he said, “Your job is mine.” And he cackled the most horrific cackle I’ve ever heard in my life.”
But things really came to a crescendo at the school’s 2009 Halloween carnival, when Captain Moriarty, dressed in a court jester costume, held Ms. Trouse’s head underwater for a few seconds as she bobbed for apples. She says that when she finally managed to come up for air, she confronted the maniacal bird in the joker hat about trying to kill her. “There were lots of people around, but no actual witnesses, so he just denied it. He said I was crazy; imagining things. Over the next few days, he floated a rumor with the faculty that I had serious mental problems, and had tried to drown myself in the apple bobbing tub. He told them I’m a danger to myself and children. He even taught the kids to say, “Today Ms. Trouse let us play with drugs and guns.” I got fired right on the spot, and they said Dean would take over as teacher since the kids like him better anyway. His evil knows NO limits.”
Today, Ms. Trouse suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and plans to sue the school for both unlawful termination, and pain and suffering. At press time, she was still unsure about filing a discrimination suit against Captain Moriarty. “I kinda wanna just put it behind me, but who knows,” she said. “It would be nice to see that lil bastard punished, though.”
Captain Dean Moriarty could not be reached for comment.