Part of the difficulty in potty-training Bast was that I was unable to read his body language. Now I know him well enough, and he knows me in turn, that we can have simple exchanges of ideas and communicate easily, but in the beginning, there wasn't a very clear difference between the "I want to go play outside" dance and the "I'm about to shit all up in this place" dance.
One morning after stepping out of the shower, I misread his nervous prancing. It turned out that, no, he did not want to just go outside and sniff every blade of grass between here and the Mississippi, he really *did* need to go out for business. Of course, I didn't realize my error until he'd hunkered down in that distinctively vulnerable dog squat and laid the first half of a big o' fudge dragon on my white carpets. I yelled, dismayed, and scrambled to get him collared and leashed to finish outside. In my haste, I flung open the door before I clipped his leash.
Poor Bastas, already nervous in a new home and now concerned that I was mad at him, understandably took off out the door like a rabbit. While Bast is one of the fastest creatures I've ever seen, his fearful escape was somewhat hampered by the fact that he wasn't done pooping, and so instead of his usual graceful lope, he scuttled off like a big, black crab with a broken-off turd hanging out of the back of him like some nutty-brown banner streaming in the wind.
Clad only on my bare feet and silken bath-robe, I took off down my balcony after him. It was early in the morning and in an effort to not shout and wake my neighbors, I kept calling after him in that bizarre whisper-shout, the kind you hear moms use to chastise their kids in church - "BASTAS. NO, BASTAS, COME BACK. BASTAS, I'M NOT MAD JUST C'MERE."
As Bast reached the stop of the stairs leading down to the courtyard, two things happened - first, he finished his dookie dash, stood up straight, and met my eyes with a shocked expression; second, I remembered that I had left the front door wide open and my conure was free-flying in the house. We both reached our decisions simultaneously.
Bast, fearful that I was after his brown gold, dashed forward, snatched his shit log, and tore off down the stairs. I whirled around and ran for the front door to assure that my parrot was still inside and secure her in her cage. I scooped her up, put her safely away in her cage, and turned to find Bast standing in the front door watching me, as if sad I hadn't continued to chase him across the neighborhood half-naked and whisper-shrieking at him to drop the turd.
He came back empty-mouthed. I never did find out what happened to that turd.