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Fiction #209
(published January 13, 2005)
Gopal And The Canaries
by Papa Osmubal
Gopal was screaming loudly the glass window panes seemed to explode. He was in dire need of help. He was in a cage. Around the cage was a family of canaries. These must be giant canaries. Or perhaps Gopal got very, very small. Whichever is not important; what are we to know is the big difference in size: Gopal was too small compared to the canaries that were as big as cathedrals in the eyes of Gopal.

It was the birthday of the youngest canary fledgling. The caged Gopal is the gift of the canary family to the birthday celebrant. To have a man in the cage was a dream of many young canaries. It was a fad among them. One young canary would not stop pestering its parents until they bought it one. In school one would boast no end how beautiful its caged man was. The canary family roasted sausages and toasted bread which they slid into the cage very slowly and carefully so as not to scare Gopal.

"Beware," warned the father canary. "They are known to bite canaries when they get irritated and annoyed." They knew Gopal was irritated and annoyed because he would not stop screaming. But Gopal got tired of crying and screaming that he fell asleep. Then suddenly Gopal resumed his tantrum. This time is was its loudest. He woke without even getting enough rest because he felt someone grabbed his shoulder so tightly. Who would it be? The naughty baby canary that would not stop shaking Gopal until Gopal was all dizzy? The father canary whose beak was big as a double-decker transport bus? Then Gopal heard someone asked: "Why are you screaming so?"

Gopal heard the voice. It was a familiar voice. He turned and it was his mother.

"You were dreaming," said his mother. "I could hear you shouting from the garden outside."

It was a dream or better said, a nightmare. The cage was a nightmare. The canaries were a dream. The roast sausages and toasted bread were a nightmare.

Once recovered from the shock of the nightmare, Gopal said:

"Mom, can we free our canary?" Gopal asked.

"Yes, it was you who like to keep one. Your dad and I like canaries too that is why we do not like to see them caged." Said his mom.

"Now, I want it free," said Gopal.

"Your dad will be happy when he heard about this! But do not tell me you do not like canaries anymore." Said his mom.

"I like them still, I still like them very much!" Gopal explained.

His mom liked the idea of Gopal. But she was thinking what changed her son's heart.

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