- Times, 8th March 2003
Is it just me or is this really romantic? Is it just a function of my sexual deprivation that I found this incredibly moving?
I swear I had a tear in my eye reading that. That is the sweetest most romantic thing I have ever heard. Forget Romeo and Juliet or some love that crosses an ethnic or religious divide, this is a love that transcends species! Honestly, come on, would it not be a tremendous ego-boost at the very least if something from a different species fancied you? I would be so flattered. The Times recommends keeping behind a sturdy fence if an ostrich develops a crush on you. I wouldn't do that if an ostrich fell in love with me. How could you? How could you resist those big ostrich eyes gazing at you lovingly? Her long willowy neck winding about you, the sensual feel of feathers brushing your cheek...No, I wouldn't reject her, I would be proud of her love, and I would damn well love her back, and, yes, if she wanted to mate with me, why the hell not as long as love was involved?
...Of course society would never understand. People would brand our love unnatural, they would try to separate us. We'd have to go on the run together. Outcasts and fugitives, every man's hand against us, we would be hunted everywhere...Zooming across the country together in an open-topped car, holding up petrol stations and post-offices to support ourselves, me shooting at people and the ostrich pecking and flapping at them...being cornered in shabby motel rooms by agents of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds...'Why can't they just leave us alone?'...We would know that as a final resort we could commit suicide, go out together hand-in-wing...
Somewhere along the way we would get married. Just stick a wedding dress and a very long veil on her and completely brazen it out with the priest. 'What are you staring at? Something wrong with my fiancee?'
But we could never have children. No, because they would be bullied at school. They'd be like these weird monsters with ostrich bodies and long necks and my head on top, and all right-minded citizens would instinctively beat them to death with rakes the second they saw them. Their first day at school the teacher would go: 'Holy Christ!...Er, I mean, hello there, er, children, everybody, we have a new member of the class, this is Michael Junior, and as you've probably noticed he's a bit...different, but, er...I want you all to make him feel welcome, and, er...Timmy, could you go and ask the caretaker if I could borrow his rake? Or a flamethrower.'
And the kids would be apt to get stroppy with me when they grew up. 'Jesus God, Dad! Look at me! I don't know who I am! You have denied me my ostrich heritage...You short-necked bastards exploited my people for generations...Herded us on reservations...Mother was just your chattel and you took her...You had your fun and now you keep her chained in the backyard...' 'I had to...the neighbours...the landlord...' 'Jesus God, Dad, what must I do to you?' Over and over for hours on end, and I'd be unable to take him seriously because he'd just be this earnest angry head swooping at me on a very long neck.
No, so we could never have kids, and it would probably never work out between us. Eventually she would be captured and taken away from me, and I would spend the rest of my life mourning her and desperately trying to recapture that level of passion and intensity. I would find myself drawn to slightly ostrichy-looking women. I would be on a beach one day and I'd see a long-necked woman doing exercises, bending over so her head was almost in the sand, and for one moment I'd think, 'It's her!'...Yes, I'd pursue this woman and marry her, then try to mould her to my warped desires, it'd be like Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in the second half of 'Vertigo', I'd try to change her so she resembled my lost love. Try to get her to wear feathers and stuff.
"I've bought you a present, dear."
"Oh? What is it?"
"It's...a pair of novelty bedsocks shaped like bird legs..."
"I knew it! I'm not her! Let her go! Move on, you ostrich-fucking freak!"
"Can you do the Birdy Song dance, you?"
"No, fuck off."
"Go on, please...I bet you can't. You can't do it, can you?"
"Piss off. I want a divorce."
9th March 2003