I try to be impartial, but this is my favorite of the Narbonic bonus stories, both for the story itself and for Irony’s adorable artwork. The bird is Dr. Narbon’s henchman, Pericles Misanthropie, whose only other appearance is a mention in “Lovers and Madmen,” a prose story I offered as a bonus in the Narbonic Perfect Collection Kickstarter campaign. Since I like it so much, here’s the relevant passage:
Helen considered telling him about Pericles Misanthropie (an uncle of Dave’s amnesiac friend, she was pretty sure), who had been her mother’s henchman for so long that not even he could remember what he’d looked like when he’d been human, and how after spending several years as a large African grey parrot he had taken the elder Dr. Narbon aside for a discreet chat and asked if perhaps she could see her way to providing him with some kind of companionship, preferably female, although he didn’t want to imply that there’d be any, you know, hanky panky, at least not right away, because when he’d been a man he’d been a respectable man and besides, he’d had a look down there and he wasn’t remotely sure how you got started, when you were a parrot.
Dr. Narbon, in an uncharacteristic fit of generosity, had agreed to help him out, and had in fact gotten really into the project, but the first parroty thing she made for him was completely inappropriate, and the beta model wasn’t much of an improvement, and soon the entire town was infested with flying, squawking organisms of varying levels of discernable parrotness, all of them confused and angry. Which might not have been so bad if Dr. Narbon hadn’t fitted so many of them with cybernetic air-to-ground missile launchers and laser cannons. That was the third time they’d had to move that year. Pericles quit shortly afterwards, although it might have been because of a dispute over back pay. The Misanthropies were an old henching family, and in their worldview being turned into a parrot was a tolerable job hazard, but being docked for sick leave was unnatural.
Helen considered telling Artie this, but what she said was, “You’re superintelligent. You figure it out.”