The Murder of Tweety


Twelve years ago, I made a paper mache pinata.

It was a project for Spanish class, and it was one of those ridiculous assignments where neither parent nor child is entirely sure what the point is. But meaningless busywork never did stop me from being the straight-A student I was, and I immediately got some newspaper and glue and went to work.

Too late into the process I realized that I'd either blown up the balloon too much or had just used too large of a balloon in the first place, because I ended up with an oval that was twice the size of a normal human head. 

I debated about what to make out of it, because I knew I was limited due to the intense size and odd shape of my final product. In the end, I used white, blue, and a lot of yellow tissue paper to make a Tweety Bird head. To this day, my parents and I can vividly recall the uncounted hours we spent gluing yellow paper all over the gigantic balloon. I'm a perfectionist and insisted that we get the right look, so the paper had to be as close together as possible. And that head was large, so it seemed like to took forever.

It was also slightly disappointing, because after all that, the Tweety head was just sort of ugly and large and, I'll be honest, a bit frightening; but I turned it in on time, and my teacher hung it up in our classroom with the rest of my classmates' artistic, attractive pinatas. 

Eventually the time came to bring the bird home, and the question immediately arose about what to do with dear Tweety. Throwing him in the trash would obviously not do justice to the time it took us to bring him to life in the first place. But we couldn't put him anywhere he might be seen by anyone, especially after dark. 

So Tweety was attached to a rafter at the back of the garage, and there he hung for the next nine years. His bright yellow fur collected dust and, over time, turned his color to a pale yellow, almost white, proving that even cartoon birds eventually turn gray with age.

Occasionally I'd catch a glimpse of him back there, swaying peacefully back and forth between a bike and an old fishing pole with a sad look in his huge blue eyes, and someone would mention getting rid of him. But then my parents and I would remember the hours we spent that we could never get back, and we'd tell each other that the perfect time would come to pay homage to our hard work and give our wingless friend a death he deserved. 

That time came in the summer of 2008, when a semi-truck pulled up in front of the "for sale" sign that had been sitting in front of our house for almost a year. My family was moving to Texas, and we decided to fatten Tweety up with candy and then beat him to death with a baseball bat to celebrate our last night in our Illinois house. 

Unfortunately, we ran out of time to kill Tweety. It took us much longer than anticipated to get everything in order, so we packed Tweety in our suburban with the rest of our most prized possessions (everything we didn't trust with the driver of the semi), and headed sixteen hours south.

Upon our arrival at our new home, Tweety was unceremoniously tied to a rafter in the garage and left to the dust and old age. That was three and a half years ago. 

On Friday, Jordan and I arrived at my parents' house with our sleeping bags ready and our bags packed for the 2nd Annual Texas November Reese Family Camping Trip (I made up that name; we don't actually have shirts made up with a logo for that or anything). 

We had barely walked in the door when my dad approached with a suspicious grin on his face. 

"Guess what?" he asked.
"Ummm, I don't know... what?"
"Guess what activity we have planned for this weekend?" He paused. "We're going to kill Tweety!"
My sister burst out laughing. "And we're going to fill it with my Halloween candy!" she shouted.
"That's awesome!" I said. Then I turned to Jordan and explained what was going on so he wouldn't think he'd secretely married into a family of ax murderers.

When my brothers heard, they were excited as well, and the die was cast.
 Tweety's days were numbered.

We arrived at the campsite on Saturday morning and found the perfect place to hang Tweety--on a pole by the picnic table.  In his final hours, he protected us from campsite creepers (though we took him down at night, because no one wanted to get scared by the whites of his huge eyes). 

{Here he is watching Jordan carve some wood.}

The next day, we prepared for the assassination. 

First, Jordan carved a flap into his skull for sticking the candy. Poor Tweety didn't even put up a fight.

Then, we fattened him up with Reese's and Heath Bars and Snickers.

After that, my mom forced Jordan and I to take a picture together because we accidentally wore the same shirt. 

{Then I changed because I hate matching, which isn't relevant to this story except to explain why I'm wearing a different shirt in the following pictures.}

Then, the main event.
We gathered our materials: bat and bandana, which Jordan luckily had in his truck. 
And my brother found the perfect (thought slightly perilous) spot from which to hang Tweety.

 I was elected to take the first hit, and though Tweety had hardly made a squeak when Jordan knifed him, it was clear he wasn't going to go down as easy this time. (Or perhaps it's just a fact that twelve-year-old paper mache folds more than cracks when hit.)

 It took four of us to bring him down.
{Pictures courtesy of my sister}

During the beating, there were two injuries other than the holes we were putting in Tweety. Somehow, both Jordan and Austin ended up on the ground--Jordan because he got so dizzy he fell in the dirt and literally rolled down the hill until he could stabilize himself; and Austin because Daniel accidentally hit him in the eye with the bat.

When it was all over, there was nothing left but pieces of bird and yellow feathers scattered amongst my sister's Halloween candy.

{Side note: it's not as much fun to break open a pinata when you have to pick up the candy and hand it all over to your little sister...which probably explains why we stood looking at it instead of rushing to pick it up.}

We collected the various pieces of Tweety's head that we found lying around the campsite and threw them in the trash. There was no sadness, though, because we all felt that this murder, premeditated though it was, was justified and a long time coming.

As our last hurrah for our fallen fowl friend, we read snippets from the paper I used for the mache part. We also talked about Tweety being like a time capsule. Except who knew we'd keep him for 12 years? No one. As such, there wasn't anything cool inside except yellowed newspaper dated from 1999 and the broken balloon I'd blown up all those years ago.

And here's some food for thought: you haven't been on a successful camping trip until you've busted open a 12-year-old Tweety Bird head pinata.

So concludes the story of the murder of Tweety. 
May he rest in peace.
Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this is amazing. In the beginning, I was just hoping for one (possibly blurry) glimpse of Tweety. And you ended up giving me SO MUCH MORE than that.

This is quite possibly the best post you've ever written. The narrative is strong, the intro and set-up were good (I had no idea where this was going), the suspense was almost unbearable, the pictures are perfect depictions of the action, and the humor is abundant. Oh yeah, and Tweety is every bit as creepy as you described.

Well done, Reese.


PS Hit me up on Gchat about this. I have a question about the mechanics of the pinata itself.

Amanda said...

@AudraYou already know this, but I'll say it publicly. THANK YOU for your comment. This was the post that got deleted and I rewrote! Your praise makes it all worth it. Also, did you notice my use of "uncounted"? That was just for you (assuming you remember the discussion we had about "uncounted" vs "countless").


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I TOTALLY noticed it and thought, "Way to go, you didn't fall into the 'countless' trap!" I was proud.

Moments and Impressions said...

He was kinda scary no? Hilarious that Tweety didn't go down alone.

Anonymous said...

All I could think, after all that, is that I WANT YOUR T-SHIRT!!!!! Okie Dokie. So awesome. Fun!!!