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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Terry Spheres lost his wife to cancer in early 2020, he didn’t know if he’d ever find love again. But by the time the pandemic came along, Spheres knew he couldn’t go it alone, so he got himself a roommate: a cockatiel named Orson Tracy. 

“Having Orson as an emotional support pet was pure bliss,” said Spheres of his first couple of life-changing months, but almost overnight, tragedy struck again. “He went from singing and talking all the time, to being almost mute. The silence was deafening, and the only time he showed any real life was when I played Depeche Mode records.” 

“I knew we had to do something, for both of our sakes,” Spheres added, wiping away a tear.

Very fortuitously one night while Terry was listening to the “Murderers In Our Own Beds” true crime podcast, he heard an ad for a CBD company specializing in an array of products… including a CBD-infused throat spray specifically for pets struggling with vocal issues. 

“I almost leapt out of my La-Z-Boy!” remembered Spheres excitably. “When we tried it, at first he was just whispering… which sounded kinda creepy in the middle of the night, if I’m being honest. But we kept at it, with a spritz of CBD after breakfast and another one before bedtime. And one morning, sure enough, I woke up and Orson was singing ‘Personal Jesus,’ in full, from start to finish. He used to sing modern music all the time, but this was different: his voice completely changed, and now, he sounded like Pavarotti. I was floored.”

Spheres immediately started recording Orson’s operatic versions of songs by the Smiths, Metallica, Tool and Reel Big Fish. The videos went viral, but things really picked up steam when someone sent a link to a producer at NBC. “When ‘America’s Got Talent’ asked us to come on, I was afraid, because I don’t like crowds,” said Spheres, “but I was assured that due to the pandemic we’d be performing over Zoom. So we went for it.”

And the rest, of course, is history. Orson Tracy famously belted out a version of “Personal Jesus” for the debut performance that brought Simon Cowell to tears and rendered Howie Mandel as the dumb, mute animal.

It was a breakthrough that led to a third place finish, and dozens of offers — not just for recording and performance opportunities, but as the next, great CBD spokesanimal. “I’m trying to figure out our next move, but I love Charlotte, and I don’t know if Vegas is a great idea. It’s really hot, and I… uh, Orson, that is… has a bit of a gambling problem,” joked Spheres. “But it’s just nice to have options. Not too long ago the only one seemed to be sweet, sweet death — now we’re getting gifts and offers. Everyone has been so nice. And I owe it all to Orson.” 

Spheres started to tear up a little, before Orson broke the silence with a loud, rich baritone. “You got that right!” said the colorful bird, as the room burst into laughter. 

Orson Tracy’s debut album “Songs of Feathers and Emotion” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Sub Pop Records.

Johnny Sparkles is a Hawaii-born and based journalist, and stand up comedian whose debut album “Homeless Romantic” is available all over the internet. Twitter: @sparklesknows

Disclaimer: This Article Is a Joke

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