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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 361 words
By Tricia L. Bernard

Frazzle Framp


Long before the day he found himself suddenly forced to take in his neighbor’s parrot—because even a grumpy old man cannot say no to a little girl with a bright pink bow in her hair—he had narrowed his once-expansive life into the four walls of a dim study and a routine consisting primarily of reading biographies and doing crossword puzzles. The CNBC business channel tuned in on the television screen across from him was muted, of course, because he liked quiet. Muted, that is, until 6 p.m., when Squawk Box came on.

Against the grey tones of the man’s apartment, Leo Miro’s bright feathers made a striking contrast, but if the man noticed, he certainly did not comment.

On the afternoon that the professor and his daughter knocked on the man’s door, panicked because they had just found out that birds may not fly in airplane cabins and they had a flight to London leaving in three hours, the old man reluctantly agreed to watch the overly noisy bird until they returned.

As soon as the door closed behind the harried pair, Leo Miro screeched, “Nice job! Nice job!” at an ear-piercing key, and the man flinched, grumbling, “Frazzle Framp,” under his breath as he padded his way back to the study.

Intent on keeping to his plan for the day despite Leo Miro’s inconvenient arrival, the man reached up and took a book down from the very top shelf.

“You can do it! You can do it!” Leo Miro screeched, as he swooped down and settled onto the back of the sofa as if waiting for the man to join him. “Frazzle Framp,” the man said again.

At dinnertime, the man knocked over his glass of milk. “Dumb, dumb, dumb,” he said.

“Frazzle, Frazzle, Frazzle Framp,” Leo Miro screeched, and the man smiled for the first time in a long time.

By the end of the week, the two were breakfasting together, the old man carefully slicing up little sections of grapefruit and smothering them with honey, announcing, “No greater love hath any man,” as he placed Leo Miro’s dish gently in front of him.



Publisher’s Note:

Even as this charming story makes me chuckle, I would like to caution our readers about feeding unpasteurized honey to their small pets. The naturally occurring bacteria and fungi in honey usually are not harmful to most people over the age of two, except for the elderly or immunocompromised; but they can be toxic to human infants, and to all ages of birds and other pets weighing less than 20 pounds.


Tricia L. Bernard
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is a New Jersey native transplanted to North Carolina via Spain. She writes to uncover gems of truth hiding in plain sight that can inspire, delight, or sometimes even transform a life, mostly hers. For fun, she likes to read about psychoneuroimmunology.

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