by Jennifer Coolidge (A Devotee)
The Agony Ibis is shrouded in mystery,
As I walk into the restaurant, I see him straight away, his radiant feathers catching my eye; he sits, poised.
I have to take a minute to catch my breath; seeing him, there, in the flesh, is a little overwhelming, but the aura of confidence and kindness that he exudes settles me. This bird has guided me through many points in my life; the highs and lows, the awkward pubescent transitions, the existential crises of my twenties.
He cocks his head to the side and smiles, sipping from an espresso martini before settling it on the table with a carefully clipped wing.
Some people say you’re like the Conchita Wurst of birds. Have you been watching Eurovision?
Oh darling, many more say that Conchita Wurst is the Agony Ibis of people. And yes, I designed the costumes for Belgium using my own signature Ibis theme.
Who did you vote for in Eurovision?
I voted for Belgium, of course. In case you didn’t notice, they were actually Ibis-coloured to honour and commemorate the years of service I undertook in the Belgian army; of course, I’m from Austria immediately, but I truly believe that their 0 points was well deserved. Fuckers.
Thoughts on the Mexican cartel drug wars? Are you pro legalisation?
It’s pretty hard to snort cocaine with a beak. Of course, the upside of that whole ‘bird’ thing is that I have a cloaca.
What brought you to Australia?
Much like Mary Poppins, I decided that you needed me (if you look carefully in photos, you’ll find me perched upon the shoulder of Frances Abbot whenever she’s having a bit of a cry about life- that is to say, frequently) and flew here with the assistance of a sassy umbrella. They’re the black friend of the avian world.
Best memories of France?
Plucking a cigarette from the hands of Ernest Hemingway as a young chick. Of course, I was peer pressured into it by the other Ibis chicks (you have no idea how cliquey they can be).
Do you think you’ll ever return to Berlin?
The Berlin Wall never affected birds. I know that’s not really relevant, but I just wanted to remind you that birds don’t have wars, and therefore are better than you.
How long will your dreidel be this year at Oktoberfest? How much of those slender legs will we get to see?
My beard is longer, German devotee. You’ll see all of my scaly, backwards bending knees and a fair bit of feather too.
As we close our interview, we take the time to discuss the finer points of historical romance fiction (he is hoping his crowd-funded novel will be published later this year) and walk to the door of the cafe. We say our goodbyes and the agony ibis gracefully takes wing, presumably to his home in the largest waste disposal site in the state.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, darling.