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        “I believe he is guilty. Definitely, without a doubt. I mean, just look at his face!”

              “No, dude. That’s the look of pure innocence. There’s no denying it! I don’t think he killed her. I think he’s being framed by Lucy over there,” Davis says as he points in the direction of Lucy.

              “Well, whoever did it is going to have to pay for it, that’s for sure,” I replied. “Because when Gerald finds out one of the dogs killed his bird, he is going to freak!”

              “I’m still sticking with my opinion. I think Jeremy is guilty, no matter what Davis says,” Henry adds.

              “It doesn’t matter who did it, what matters is what we’re going to tell Gerald when he gets home!” I started to panic, that bird meant everything to Gerald.

              As if ignoring my statement, Davis argued with Henry. “Lucy is guilty! I don’t know what you have against Jeremy, but we all know he is as sweet as a sugar, if not sweeter! He would never hurt anything, not even a beetle. Lucy, on the other hand, is a killing machine! She will kill anything and everything that gets in her way! I mean, for goodness sake, she’s a Rottweiler, whereas Jeremy is a, well I don’t know, but he’s tiny!”

              “Oh yeah? Well, that wouldn’t stop him, now would it? Jeremy could have hurt the bird. And he may as well have. That bird antagonized that dog so much, it’s a wonder he didn’t kill him sooner!”

              I didn’t know whose side I was on. Frankly, I didn’t care. All I cared about was how I was going to explain to Gerald that his bird was dead. As I was thinking of ways to tell him, his car pulled up.

              “Are you happy guys? Instead of thinking up what to tell him, you guys argued over which dog killed it!”

              “What to tell him? Easy! Lucy killed the bird!” Davis yelled out.

              “No, Jeremy did!” Henry exclaimed. They went back and forth as if they were four years old again fighting over who hit who and telling mom.

              As they were fighting, Gerald walked through the door, and to much of my dismay, overheard the conversation.

              “Lucy and Jeremy did what now?” He said, in a joking manner, that I knew would change in an instant.

              At the same time, they shouted:

              Henry: Jeremy killed your bird!

              Davis: Lucy killed your bird!

              All Gerald heard was the phrase “killed your bird”

              “Wait, who killed my bird?” Anger and hurt filled his voice.

              Davis chimed in. “Well, Henry here thinks the one to blame is Jeremy. However, we all know it was Lucy.”

              Henry muttered, “no we don’t.”

              Gerald heard Henry’s remark. “Well, if we don’t know who killed Mr. Squeekers,” (that was the name of his bird, I forgot to mention,) “then we must figure it out. He will not be taken out of this world without justice served to his killer,” he said in a somber tone, that if you didn’t know what was going on, you’d have thought we were talking about an actual human, not a bird.

              Now, you’d think he’d just leave it to us to decide, right? Wrong. He called over a group of friends, as if we weren’t enough.

              When they arrived, Gerald gave a speech that went a little like this:

              “Friends, I have brought you here today upon the death of my beloved bird, Mr. Squeekers. You will have the privilege to honor his death by coming before this court-er living room, I should say-as a jury today. We have two suspects. Henry, Davis, please bring them forward,” he motioned them to come forward with the dogs, and they obeyed. “Suspect number one. Lucy, a Rottweiler who can eat up our second suspect if she tried. Suspect number two. Jeremy, a umm-what kinda dog is he, Isaac,” Gerald asked me, as he was my dog. I shrugged my shoulder, because I didn’t even know. “Well, that doesn’t matter. All that matters is I need your help figuring out who killed my little baby. Any questions before we get started?”

              Nobody had any questions.

              Everybody went back and forth trying to decide who was the guilty party.

              “Well, I mean Lucy is a pretty big dog, she could’ve eaten that bird in one sitting!”

              “Agreed. Jeremy is so tiny, the bird couldn’t fit in his mouth.”

              “If I were a dog, what motive would I have to kill a bird?”

              “Dinner!”

              As everybody was talking about some stupid bird, I sat there contemplating myself. I know, it’s stupid. Who cares about who killed a dumb bird, right? But what else could I do? That’s when a thought had occurred to me.

              “Hey, guys? Has it even occurred to anybody that there’s no blood surrounding the bird, nor either of the dogs? They’re both light coated, blood ought to have gotten on their coats one way or another if they killed the bird,” I pointed out.

              Everybody was in deep thought at that moment, because just as I had thought, that hadn’t even crossed their minds.

              Gerald was the first to chime in. “Well, they could’ve just cleaned it up really good. I mean scientists say dogs are smarter than we think.”

              “Gerald, think about it. Are there any wounds or signs of injury on Mr. Squeekers?” Just saying his name made me cringe. I mean, who names their bird Mr. Squeekers? But that’s besides the point.

              Gerald took a moment to think. He looked down at his beloved bird, and sure enough there were no signs of injuries, nor any wounds.

              “Well, then how did he die?”

              A girl with pig tails chimed in. “Maybe he fell while he was flying?”

              This time a guy with his hat on backwards said something. “Or maybe he ate something on the floor that was poisonous and passed out?”

              “I still stand my ground that Jeremy did it!” Henry said, as he crossed his arms.

              “Henry, as much as you want to blame Jeremy, it was Lucy,” Davis stated, matter-of-factly, while patting Henry on the shoulder as if comforting him.

              “Oh my goodness guys, enough! Neither of the dogs killed the bird!” I shouted, my frustration getting the better of me.

              Gerald looked at me. “Well, either way. My bird is gone.” All of a sudden there was a look in his eyes, a look so thoughtful (and not the nice thoughtful, thoughtful as in he was thinking). He turned and pointed at Henry and Davis. “You two! It was you two! I should’ve known it all along, with all this blaming the dogs! Isaac comes home to the bird dead, not knowing what to think! You couldn’t pick up the mess in time, so you just blamed the dogs! Neither of you could stand the bird, because the bird always made a mess around the house. So you must have poisoned him!”

              Neither of them knew what to say, but you could see the guilt on their faces.

              “It’s true, isn’t it? All this time since we’ve been roommates you couldn’t stand that bird! The one day Isaac and I both have to work late, you decide to take advantage of the situation and just murder my poor innocent bird! How could you? After all I’ve done for you!”

              Finally Davis gathered the courage to speak.

              “Yes, we killed your bird. We poisoned him, you’re right. But, not with the intentions you believe. You see, Mr. Squeekers has been getting older by the day. And with the aging, he’s getting sicker. He was going to die eventually, Gerald.”

              “Yeah, we were just trying to take him out of his misery, we swear. Of course we got annoyed so much by that bird, but we didn’t take joy in what we did. We’re sorry Gerald,” Henry added.

              Gerald looked at the bird, lying dead on the ground, and glanced back to them. He nodded as if accepting their apology.

              “Well, I guess our work here is done then, jury. You may go home now. Thank you for coming.”

              I looked at everybody leaving the house. As crazy as a jury for a bird seemed, a lot of people showed up.

              When everybody had left, Henry and Davis burst out in laughter.

              Gerald, not amused, told them to shut up. That’s when they left the room and came back with a bird, alive and healthy as can be.

              “I cannot believe you bought that!”

              “No, you know I can’t believe you called a group of friends down to be a jury for Mr. Squeekers!”

              Still laughing, they hand Gerald the real Mr. Squeekers.

              “One day, I’m going to kill you guys and we’re going to need a real jury,” Gerald said, with a hint of a smile in his voice.

February 04, 2020 19:18

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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