If she had been sober, I don’t think she would have been able to do it. If she had all of her mental and physical facilities working to their full, uninhibited capacity, I don’t think she would have made it that far. Yet somehow, blind drunk, barely able to stand, she snuck past security and then scaled the eight foot high fence, without killing herself.
Karen liked birds, sure. She certainly didn’t dislike them. But I don’t think she ever really thought that much about them. Why on earth had she ended up here?
The gates were already open by the time Karen was first spotted by a keeper. It was a Summer Saturday so the zoo was already pretty full.
“Hey! Hey! You! Get out of there!” the keeper screamed. Karen lay dazed in the centre of the main aviary, caked in mud and lined with discarded plumage from above. She looked like she’d been tarred and feathered. “What are you doing in there?!”
“I’m mad for the birds, so I am,” she slurred. “I’m… bird mad, me.” Bird Mad Girl, the internet quickly dubbed her. Bird Mad Girl, she would forever be known as from here on in.
She couldn't remember when it started, but it started early in her life. She was poor and very grateful for the distraction, the fantasy. She wasn't sure if it was the movement that first attracted her, the power, the grace, it could have been anything. She was hooked, that much was for sure.
Everybody that knew her, or had ever talked to her (or had seen what she wore) knew exactly how she felt, even before the media coverage.
Realistically it was only with the birth of the internet, and the information now freely available to her, that a problem arose. There is a point in time when fandom becomes obsession, and obsession becomes a problem. It is a problem like hers that can land one in trouble. With the Police. And the Courts.
Her problem meant she was now detained in a safe place. It was well-decorated (of course) with posters and pendants, and she was allowed wear her special t-shirt. But her other activities were restricted. She was no longer allowed out at night. Or in Boston. Or within one mile of Larry Bird. Of course, that's not to say he was ungrateful of the attention...