who ever thought a parrot’s last words would remind you of the robert olen butler short story “Jealous Husband Returns as Parrot,” (Tabloid Dreams)? or of words you might say to a family member before parting?
Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”*
He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said.
* ETA: the guardian UK reports the last words differently:
“You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you,” [Dr. Pepperberg] reportedly told Alex when she said goodnight to him on that final evening. “You’ll be in tomorrow,” replied Alex.
either way, it’s maudlin and affecting.