Sure, we all know that Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer-winning author whose author wife, Elizabeth Dewberry, just left him to become one of media mogul Ted Turner's girlfriends, prompting him to pen the nuttiest email of all time. But how familiar are we all with his award-winning work? Maybe some excerpts from this short story, which first appeared in the New Yorker in 1995, would be a good primer. It is about what you think: a man turns into a parrot, is purchased as a pet by his wife, and is forced to watch her cavort around the house with her new lover.
Here's our second-favorite passage:
I was jealous in life. I admit it. I would admit it to her. But it was because of my connection to her. I would explain that. When we held each other, I had no past at all, no present but her body, no future but to lie there and not let her go. I was an egg hatched beneath her crouching body, I entered as a chick into her wet sky of a body, and all that I wished was to sit on her shoulder and fluff my feathers and lay my head against her cheek, my neck exposed to her hand.
And here's our favorite:
And then the cracker [as the parrot has dubbed the lover, who is also described as having "a thick Georgia truck-stop accent" ] comes around the corner. He wears only his rattlesnake boots. I take one look at his miserable, featherless body and shake my head. We keep our sexual parts hidden, we parrots, and this man is a pitiful sight. "Peanut," I say.