Having achieved Flamingo Fame there wasn’t much left for Kevin to do on Friday except stand still for the pats and cuddles that rained down upon him from the many students with whom he is now on a first name basis.
Everybody continued to be delighted with Kevin, including the school crossing guy who finally asked for a photograph. Except, that is, for the principal who demonstrated great enthusiasm on day one but perhaps has softened on the whole shamozzle as the week has gone on. She apparated next to us more than once and said things like “you’re still a flamingo I see”, no doubt hopeful this general distraction may soon come to an end.
As we were leaving the school on Friday afternoon a teacher walked over to us and said Kevin had made her first week. She was new, just a month in Darwin, and Kevin had helped keep her smiling all week. She said that she was previously unaware of this Northern Territory tradition but that she liked it very much. We explained we were also new and we all agreed, if not a tradition yet, Kevin should become so.
Kevin waddled home, pleased with his week’s work; a little twisted and saggy but still most recognisably a flamingo. Over Frosty Fruits on the way home Milo, ever the accountant, noted that I had promised him a week and that technically I had only delivered four days, given the Tuesday start. My mind on the apparating principal, I rejected Milo’s position, noting the spirit of the deal had been satisfied if not the precise details.
Given this argument has worked with our eldest son exactly zero times over the 8.5 year span of his life, it was not entirely surprising to see it a) not work and b) drive him into a spontaneous decline. Sensing the moment, acknowledging the very positive week we had just had, and recognising the overarching objective of Kevin’s adventure in the first place, Nicole (my wife) adroitly stepped to the plate and agreed to wear Kevin for a final fling on Monday. The children cheered, Kevin looked up from his deflated pile, shrugged his shoulders and said “why not?” Because that’s the kind of flamingo Kevin is.
So on Monday, Nicole donned the luminescent flamingo and wore it very well. The jockey legs were still miserable and flimsy, but they were perhaps slightly better proportioned to her body. It’s still unlikely anybody really thought she had ridden a flamingo to school, but it’s more possible. We did enjoy some renewed honks from passers-by, some fresh positivity from the stew of drop-off parents, and new smirks from the boys’ teachers.
Most importantly Milo and Monty were satisfied that Kevin’s adventure had come to an end. He was gently hung on his hanger, hugged once more and flung into the cupboard. So, perhaps now there really are only 510 more Kevin journeys to go.
Although as a wise friend of mine, and father of two older boys, pointed out – if he were to try to take his more grown up boys to school dressed as a flamingo tomorrow, they would never let him take them to school again. So perhaps this is Kevin’s future; as the years drift by, the boys’ attitudes to us and the public wearing of inflatable exotic birds shift, he might morph from a comforter, an ice breaker, to a threat. If you don’t go to school today I will dress up as Kevin and walk next to you! And Kevin will be pulled out of the cupboard, mouldy, patched up with emergency electrical tape, and we will shake him at the boys as a cautionary tale, as we hustle them out the door.
Either way, Kevin is family now and his story is not yet done.
Rest well Kevin. Great work this week.
Kevin’s final journey
Rest well Kevin