Author's Note: I got this idea from Nutty Nerd's oneshot, "The Seychellois Fish Slapping Dance". It's hilarious!


Ivan's Pet Store Problem

February 25, 2011 (Ottawa, Canada)

Ivan Braginski and his two sons, ten-year-old Ludwig and five-year-old Gilbert, walked into a pet store. It was Gilbert's fifth birthday, and Ludwig and Gilbert were both crying; Gilbert was crying the hardest, while his big brother was trying to make him feel better. Ivan looked furious and held a bird cage with a blue parrot inside.

"It's okay, Gilbo," Ludwig said gently.

"I dun like God anymore," Gilbert said while sniffling in Ludwig's jacket.

Ivan heard Gilbert. "I know, son." He walked up to the register, where a man with shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes was working. "Hi, I want to make a complaint."

The man, Francis Bonnefoy, wasn't paying any attention; instead, he was talking on the phone to some lover of his. "I know. I love you, too."

"Hello, Miss?" Ivan said crossly.

Francis stopped what he was doing. "Listen, mon cher, I've gotta go. Of course I'll call you back. Je t'aime, Iggy."

"Don't call me that, you wine-loving frog!" Francis' lover, Arthur Kirkland, shouted from the other end of the phone.

Francis laughed and hung up, then spoke to Ivan. "What do you mean 'Miss', monsieur?"

"Sorry, I've got a cold, da," Ivan said.

"You've got a cold, Dad?" Ludwig said, his arm now around his baby brother's shoulders.

"I'll be alright, Lui," Ivan said with a smile. His smile faded when he turned back to Francis. "I want to make a complaint."

"Sorry, but we're closing for lunch," Francis replied.

"Never mind your stupid lunch, Frenchy!" Ivan said. "I want to make a complaint about this parrot I bought half an hour ago from this very store! You know…it's my youngest son's birthday today. He's five years old."

"Oh, really?" Francis asked. He leaned over the counter and looked at Ludwig and Gilbert. "Which one's the birthday boy?"

"He is, duh," Ludwig said, glaring at Francis while pointing to his still crying brother.

"Well, happy birthday, mon petit enfant!" said Francis. "You know, you shouldn't be sad, you should be happy—"

"Stop talking to them and pay attention to me!" said Ivan. "Now, I said that I bought this parrot half an hour ago from here, da. It was supposed to be a present for my son."

Francis took a look at the bird. "Oh, that's the Norwegian Blue. What's wrong with it, mon ami?"

"I'm not your friend, stupid," said Ivan. "Now, I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it. Kolkolkolkolkol."

"Non, it's resting, look," said Francis.

"Now look here, my good man," said Ivan. "I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now."

"Non, non, it's not dead," said Francis. "It's resting."

"Resting?" Ludwig exploded.

"Oui," Francis replied. "Remarkable bird, the Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage, non?"

"Forget the stupid plumage," said Ivan. "It's stone dead."

"Non, it's resting," Francis said.

"Alright, then," Ivan said. "If it's resting, I'll wake it up, da." He opened the cage. "Privet, buddy! I've got some food for you when you wake up, buddy parrot!"

Francis hit the cage. "See? It moved."

"No, it didn't!" Ivan said. "That was you pushing the cage!"

"I did not!" Francis argued.

"Yes, you did!" said Ludwig.

Ivan took the parrot out of its cage. "Privet, buddy! Buuuuuuuuddyyyyyyyy!" He banged the bird on the counter three times. "Buddy parrot, wake up! Buuuuuuddyyyyyy!" Then Ivan tossed the bird up in the air, and it landed with a thump on the floor.

"Azure!" Gilbert cried.

"Don't look, Gilbo," Ludwig said and turned so that Gilbert wouldn't be facing his dead present.

"Now that's what I call a dead parrot, da," said Ivan.

"Non, non, it's stunned," Francis said quickly.

"What?" Ludwig said disbelievingly. He rolled his eyes and went back to comforting Gilbert, making sure he didn't look at the dead animal on the floor.

"Look, sir, I've had just about enough of this!" said Ivan. "That parrot is definitely deceased. And when my eldest and I came here and bought it half an hour ago, you assured the both of us that its lack of movement was due to it being tired after a long-ass squawk."

"Yeah!" said an angry Ludwig. Nobody upset his little brother and got away with it!

"It's just pining for the fields," said Francis.

Ludwig turned around, still keeping Gilbert facing the front window. "Pining for the fields? What's that even mean?"

"Why did it fall on its back the minute Lui and I stepped through the freaking door?" asked Ivan.

"Th-the Norwegian Blue prefers lying on its back," said Francis. "It's a beautiful bird, lovely plumage—"

"I took the liberty of examining that parrot," said Ivan. "And I discovered that the reason it would be sitting on its perch in the first place was that it had been nailed there."

"Well, of course it was nailed there," said Francis. "Otherwise, it would've muscled up to those bars, then BOOM! It would've flown away, mon ami."

"I'm not your friend!" said Ivan. He dropped the cage on the floor and picked up the bird. "This parrot wouldn't move if I put four thousand volts through it. It's demised."

"Non, it's not," said Francis. "It's pining."

"It's not pining, it's passed on!" said Ivan. "This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone to meet its maker."

"It went to Bird Heaven!" Ludwig said.

"This is a late parrot!" said Ivan. "It's stiff, and bereft of life, may it rest in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would've been pushing daisies. It's run down the curb and joined the Choir Invisible! This is an ex-parrot!"

"Well, I guess I better replace it, non?" Francis said.

Ludwig sighed and turned to his little brother. "I swear, Gilbo, if you wanna get anything done in this country, you've gotta do it by running your mouth till the break of dawn."

"Matthew, do we have any parrots, mon fils?" Francis called. A little boy of about five and a half came running up to Francis.

"We ran out of parrots, Papa," Matthew said.

"It's true, Pops," said Francis' nine-and-a-half-year-old son, Alfred.

"Sorry, mon ami," said Francis.

"Oh, I see. I see what's going on here," said Ivan. Boy, he'd never been so pissed off in his life! "I get the picture."

"What about a slug?" Francis asked.

"Does it talk?" asked Ivan.

"I dun want a slug," Gilbert said.

"Not really," Francis replied to Ivan's question.

"Well, it's hardly a replacement, da?" Ivan asked rhetorically.

"I'll tell you what," said Francis. "Go to my brother's pet shop in Quebec. He'll replace it for you."

"Really?" asked Ivan.

"Oui," said Francis.

"Alright, then," Ivan said. "Come on, boys." He held the parrot in one hand and was holding Gilbert's hand in another.


A similar pet shop in Quebec City, Quebec

A man with a mustache was standing behind a counter. This pet shop looked very much like the one in Ottawa. The man had shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes, like Francis.

Ivan, Ludwig, and Gilbert walked into the shop. They looked around, surprised at how similar this store looked to the one back home.

Ivan saw a bird cage on the floor, in front of the counter. He picked it up and dropped it. "Uh…excuse me…this is Quebec, isn't it?"

"Non, monsieur, it's Winnipeg," the man said.

Ivan sighed. "Come on, kids."

"That's inter-city rail for ya, Gilbo," Ludwig said.

When Ivan and his children walked out of the shop, the owner patted his mustache.


Ivan, Ludwig, and Gilbert were now back at the train station. They walked up to a man at the complaint department. The man had blond hair and blue eyes, and he looked Finnish.

"I want to make a complaint," said Ivan.

"I don't have to do this, you know!" the man, whose name was Tino Väinämöinen, said.

"Huh?" Ivan and the boys asked.

"I'm a qualified brain surgeon," said Tino. "I just do this 'cause I like being my own boss."

"Excuse me, but that's not relevant, is it?" Ivan asked.

"Well…no, not really," said Tino.

"Well, I want to make a complaint!" said Ivan. "My sons and I got on the Quebec train and now we find ourselves deposited in Winnipeg!"

"Uh, sir, this is Quebec," said Tino.

"What?" Ludwig and Gilbert said in surprise.

"So…the pet shop owner lied, da?" Ivan said.

"Well, you can't blame Via Rail for that, can ya?" Tino asked.

"If this is Quebec, then we'll return to the pet store," said Ivan. He and the boys marched back to the pet store, while Tino looked on, confused.


A little later

Ivan and the boys walked into the pet store. They walked to the register, where the owner was.

"I understand that this is Quebec," said a very cross Ivan.

"Oui," said the man.

"You told us it was Winnipeg," said Ivan.

"It was a pun," said the man.

"What? A pun?" Ludwig said.

"Non, non, not a pun, it's a…what that word?…palindrome," said the owner.

"It's not a palindrome!" said Ivan. "The palindrome of Quebec would be Cebeuq, which isn't even a word, or a city, by the way! It didn't work! I'm Russian, not stupid."

"And my brother and I are German-Russian, not dumb!" Ludwig said.

"Okay, what do you want?" the owner of the pet shop asked.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to take my inquiry any further," said Ivan. "This is getting too silly! Come on, boys, we're going back home."

"Coming, Dad/Coming, Daddy," Ludwig and Gilbert said. They ran to catch up to their father, and the three took the train back to Ottawa. Ivan gave the bird a proper burial, and got Gilbert a hamster instead. Gilbert named his new pet Poofy, because the hamster looked like a poofball with its fur all puffed up.


Author's Note: Translations:

mon cher- My dear (French)

Je t'aime- I love you (French)

mon petit enfant- my little child (French)

mon ami- my friend

Non- No (French)

Oui- Yes (French)

Privet- Hello (Russian)

mon fils- my son (French)

Papa- Dad (or Daddy) (French)