In which Mini Mansions
singer-guitarist Tyler Parkford recalls childhood adventures with dead birds.
By TYLER PARKFORD
Birds have always fucked me up. I remember a pigeon exploded
in my face once when I was 10.
I used to hang with a bunch of kids at this little burger
joint in Long Beach near a busy
highway. There were always tons of birds trying to steal our french fries.
Everyone would try to throw food in the street to see how close the birds would
get to the oncoming traffic. None of them were stupid enough to take a chance.
They’d always scramble away to safety at the last minute.
Weeks went by and nobody got even close to killing one of
them. I always would just watch. One day they all threatened to squash my
cheeseburger if I didn’t participate. I threw a piece of fried zucchini in the
street just as this huge truck was approaching. A pigeon flew over to grab it
but accidentally tripped on something and exploded under the front wheels of this
truck. All I saw was a gust of feathers shoot out at my face and this
low-frequency “pop” sound like a handgun. I guess that was the sound of all the
air in the bird’s lungs getting rapidly pushed out.
When the feathers cleared we looked down at our burgers and
saw that they were covered in bird guts. One of my friends started to cry but
everyone else thought it was funny. For the rest of that day I was completely
mortified and didn’t say a word.
That night I woke up in a sweat and ran to my parent’s room.
I told them I couldn’t go to sleep since I’d killed a bird. My dad told me to
put on my clothes and get in the car. We drove to where the pigeon exploded and
he gave me an empty pizza box. The bird was completely flat by now.
“Scrape it off the street, Tyler.”
I had to peel the thing slowly off the asphalt with my
little fingers and put it in the box. It smelled like tires and grass and
looked like a feathered football that just got deflated.
“This used to be alive ‘til you blew it up, Tyler.
I want you to put your hand on it and think about what you did.”
Cars whizzed by and strangers slowed down to see what I was
doing. After a few minutes my dad took the bird away from me and I threw up all
over his sneakers.
That was the first bird flu. The second didn’t happen ‘til
years later when I was in high school. There was this new kid who didn’t talk a
lot and was kind of a jerk to anyone who tried to befriend him. It was a
boarding school so everybody stayed in their rooms and had to sleep, eat, play
and shit during specific times. One day I found this dead pigeon in the bushes
and put it under the guy’s bed sheets when he was out taking a shower. It was
after “lights-out” and I heard him screaming at the top of his lungs: “Who did
I walked outside and saw that this kid was completely naked
and pounding on everybody’s doors holding this dead bird. He came up to me and
I could see that he was crying. “Did you put a bird in my bed? Did you put a
bird in my bed? Did you put a bird in my bed?”
He kept saying it like he was in a trance. I told him I
didn’t and he just walked on to the next room. I think he transferred later
that year. To this day I wish I had the balls to apologize to him or at least
put a face on such a horrible gag.
Mini Mansions’ self-titled
debut CD is out now on Rekords
MINI MANSIONS – “KIDDIE HYPNOGOGIA”