Well, here it is, the fourth adventure of The Feathered Four. This particular 'episode' was written by Tim with idea inputs from me. Tim was in journalisim for 20 years and his writing show's his skill beautifully. Although he and I always seem to be on the very same wave lenght, I have a tendency to be more detail oriented and he's more to the point oriented. In my opinion, our two styles blend beautifully together.
The Las Vegas idea was totally Tims. But, my best friend, and the creator of Elsie, lived in Vegas just before she passed away. Dolly and I were the best of best friends for about 9 years. She was friends with my first two tiels, R.B. Bird and Moana (his biological sisiter). Dolly, on December 13, 2001 became a God-Mommy to her very first tiel, AsaMina Sura. Dolly is also the one who named AsaMina, 'Asa' and her 'Mina' is in honor of Dolly, who was as Italian as Italian can be. So, when Tim approached me with this Vegas idea, I added in my two cents worth, Dolly and her history with one of The Asha Chronicles main characters, my AsaMina Sura, and below is the end result. I hope it makes you smile.
Flight of Feathers Part 4
by Tim Graham
Feb 25, 2008
What Happens in Vegas……
One of the main methods the Feathered Friends kept in contact with each other were the blogs at the Bird Channel. Each bird had their own web page complete with pictures and the opportunity to send messages back-and-forth to the other birds on the channel.
One of Asha’s biggest friends on the BC was Beavis. Beavis was a Quaker from Virginia who was more than twenty years old. Beavis was small like most of his breed, but he was a fun-loving bird who liked to go by the nickname of Yoda. Beavis was much respected by the other birds in the community for the wisdom garnered from such an advanced age. Asha-for instance-was the oldest for the Feathered Four at nine.
One sunny day Asha-a Blue-Front Amazon- went on line to talk to her friends when she noticed that she had not heard from Beavis in several days. She checked his site and saw that he not been online for almost a week. Asha began to get worried. Twenty was pretty old for a Quaker and Asha’s first concern was that her friend had passed over to the Rainbow Bridge, where all pets go to await being reunited with their human companions.
The problem kept gnawing at Asha until one day when she knew her Daddy was going to be away from the home for the day, she took off north and flew to Virginia to find out what had happened to her friend. Asha got the advantage of some good tailwinds and soon arrived at Beavis’ hometown of Virginia Beach and landed in the front yard of his human companion, Joyce.
Asha had never tried to communicate directly with humans before so she wandered around the outside of the house hoping to see some sign of what had happened to Beavis. Soon she peeked in a window and saw Beavis’ mother sitting in front of an empty cage with tears in her eyes. She got up and walked out of the room but as she left she dropped a piece of paper to the floor. Asha squeezed through a small crack in the window and glided over to where the paper lay on the floor.
“Dear Mom,” the note began. “I don’t want to hurt you but I was so upset over not being named Bird of the Week that I just have to do something. I know that if I stay here I will just turn into a mean and vicious bird and you do not deserve that. I have left for Las Vegas where I will live out the remainder of my days gambling and doing other bad things. Love, Beavis.”
Asha was horrified. She had heard many humans talk about what an evil place Las Vegas was. She did not want a friend of hers to go to a place like that. She decided to return to Georgia and call together the Four Friends and lead them to Nevada and rescue her friend.
When the other three members of the group had arrived Asha showed them the note.
“Why, that Bird of the Week contest is just a silly popularity poll,” squawked the Orange-Wing Amazon BabyGirl.
“The worst part is that it is all for the egos of the humans,” said Asa, a cockatiel. “The birds could not care less for the most part. I’m surprised that Beavis got so worked up over it.”
“Well, what’s done is done and we need to do something to rescue him,” said Asha. “Las Vegas is no place for a parrot like Beavis. There is no telling what the humans there would do to him. I’m really worried,” Asha turned her head from the others but it was clear that she was crying.
“Don’t worry pal,” said Cecil, a budgie. “We’ll get your friend out of that place and back home where he belongs.”
“Thanks you all, I knew I could depend on you,” Asha said with a smile on her sharp, black beak.
The four took off together and headed due west to Las Vegas. Asha had checked a map before leaving, and was glad that they would not have to fly over something called the Rocky Mountains. The Feathered Friends were tough birds, but that might have been more than they could have hoped to achieve. After a couple of days flying over the heartland of America, the four reached the deserts of Nevada and soon sighted in the distance the lights of Nevada.
“Wow!” said BabyGirl. “That is bright! And there are so many different colors. I didn’t humans could make something so beautiful.”
The four spend the remainder of the night in a small woods park on the outskirts of town. They all noticed that there were very few trees in the area. It was obvious that they would have to do the majority of their perching on buildings and not trees.
“I suggest that we try to blend in with the community,” said Asa. “Maybe we could try to get some jobs and try to find some clues of where Beavis might be. And we can stay with my human God-Mother Dolly. She lives here and makes the best spaghetti noodles you’ve ever tasted.”
“Well, I will certainly give a ‘talons up!’ To that idea,” said Asha. “I’m as hungry as a vulture. I could slurp noodles all day!”
The four headed to the home of Asa’s God-Mother who welcomes then with open arms and soon had a pot of noodles on to boil. They quickly told her of their mission and she agreed to help them as much as possible.
“If you want to get jobs the best places are the casinos,” Dolly said. “They should be able to find positions for four parrots as talented as you are.”
They set out from Dolly’s the next morning and headed for the area she had called ‘the strip’.
“There are plenty of casinos here,” said Cecil. “Where do we start?”
“That’s easy,” quipped Asha. “We’re birds. We start at the tallest one and work out way down!”
“They picked the tallest building they could see and headed for the top floor. They spied a garden on the top of the building and an older man with a full head of blonde hair man lying on a couch next to a swimming pool. Asha pointed her head in his direction and the four landed next to the reclining man.
“Hello sir,” said Cecil. “We were wondering of you knew where four young parrots new in town might be able to find a job?”
The man looked quite shocked to have a parrot address him in such a manner but quickly gathered his wits and said with a smile: “I might have jobs for you. What can you do?”
“Well, Asha is our Diva while BabyGirl is pretty good with her hands,” said Cecil. “I’m pretty good at communicating with people and Asa is just about the cutest thing in the world,” he finished with a blush.
“Well, I’ve had auditioned many people for jobs, but this is truly a first,” said the man. “I might just have to turn this into another television series,” he said as he reached for a telephone. “Hello, this is Trump. Send up the manager.
“Asha, you I’m going to have work in our chorus line tonight. BabyGirl I think you will do well as a dealer at the blackjack tables. Asa, you can work as a receptionist at the front desk and Cecil, you might as well help her out. I can tell I’d have a hard time keeping you away from her anyway,” he said with a wide grin.
Another man had arrived and asked: “What can I do for you Mr. Trump?”
“There four parrots are now on the payroll,” Mr. Trump said. “Take them down and get the paperwork started.” He turned to the four friends and said: “Just to make it official, You’re Hired!”
What followed was a hurricane of activity as the four friends put their claw-prints to as long series of forms, most of which had to do with something they were unfamiliar with called ‘taxes.’ They were then whisked off to separate areas where they were fitted for clothes and given training for their jobs. They were finally able to get together again in a coffee shop at about 5 p.m.
The other three had to marvel at the outfit Asha had been fitted with. Since she supplied all the feathers needed, her uniform consisted mainly of jewels of many different colors. They all contrasted with her natural green, yellow, and blue feathers to cast off a rainbow that shifted hues as she moved from underneath one different colored light to another.
“Hubba, hubba!” gasped Cecil! “That is one nice outfit! It’s a good thing your Daddy isn’t here or he would lock you up and never let you out!”
Cecil had on a black-and-white uniform similar to the ones which Asa and Baby-Girl wore.
“Guess they figured these lilies didn’t need any gilding,” Cecil said with a smirk.
“My first show is at 7 p.m.,” said Asha, trying hard to ignore Cecil’s crack. “I hope you all will be able to come and watch. I’m as nervous as can be! I’ve never performed for humans before.”
“Don’t worry,” said Asa. “They’ll be looking at the human females you’ll be working with. You’ll do fine! Anyway, I got a chance to call Dorothy and she said that she will contact the parrot underground here in Las Vegas and see if they have heard anything about Beavis.”
“Parrot underground?” asked BabyGirl. “I’ve never heard of a parrot underground. What is it?”
“It is a group of humans who love and respect parrots and try to help any who are in need,” said Asa. “They try to get parrots out of abusive homes and help any who are wandering around homeless like Beavis must be.”
They split up and went to their separate jobs. Asa and Cecil helped at the receptionist’s desk at the front of the casino while BabyGirl got ready to deal out hands of Blackjack. BabyGirl was surprised when one of her first players was a blue-front Amazon just like Asha.
“What are you looking at?” he asked. “You look like you have never seen a parrot play blackjack before.”
“Sorry,” said BabyGirl as she dealt the cards. The humans had been forced to trim her claws to keep her from scratching the cards. She noticed that the design on the back of the cards was an eagle. ‘Dang vermin think they are such a big deal.’ She thought to herself. ‘Nothing but vultures in prettier clothing.’
“Actually one of my best friends is a blue front,” BabyGirl said, “and to be honest, by now I should have learned to never be surprised by anything.”
The parrot player busted on four cards and looked up at BabyGirl.
“Who is this friend on yours?” he asked. “I haven’t met many blue fronts here in Las Vegas.”
“Her name is Asha and if you hurry you might just be able to catch the start of her show in the auditorium,” said BabyGirl. “By the way, what is your name?”
“It’s Stubby,” he said as he left the table.
“Hey,” BabyGirl said to herself. “He was pretty cute. Too bad he didn’t like orange wings, I’d have played a few hands with him!”
Stubby got tired of trying to dodge the feet of hundreds of humans and finally took wing and flew into the auditorium where the show was just beginning. There wasn’t much to hold his attention until a line of chorus girls came out. The middle one-a tall redhead human who was so obviously top-heavy that it was a wonder she did not fall on her face-had a parrot sitting on her shoulder. But it wasn’t just any parrot, it was a blue-front Amazon bedecked in more jewels than you could find in the Tower of London.
“Oh….My…..God!” gasped Stubby. “That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life!”
Stubby’s attention was glued to Asha as she continued through the act which consisted of her slowly peeling off pieces of the human’s costume until she was as naked as the local laws would allow. The line of girls then exited the stage to loud applause and whistles and one parrot who flew behind them and followed them to the dressing rooms behind the stage.
Stubby quietly kept to the shadows and followed the tall redhead until she reached her room.
“That was a great job Asha,” the woman said. “That was quite a twist to the usual striptease we do.”
“You’re welcome Joyce,” said Asha. “I was pretty nervous at first but the audience seemed to like it and that helped.”
“Well, you keep cool there while I take a shower,” said Joyce. “Those lights are hot!”
Joyce walked into the bathroom just as Stubby stepped from the shadows.
“I hope I’m not bothering you but I saw your show and I just had to come and see you,” stammered Stubby. “You’re fabulous!”
“Why, it’s no bother,” Asha purred as she looked over the male parrot. Stubby was a handsome young blue front with obvious intelligence showing from his eyes. He didn’t have as much yellow highlights as Asha did, but she told herself she had to give him points for courage.
“What are you doing in Las Vegas,” Asha asked.
“I live here,” Stubby said. “What about yourself?”
“Tell you what,” said Asha. “It’s a long story and it will be a while before my next show. Why don’t we grab some fruit juice somewhere and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Stubby agreed and that is where, a couple of hours later,that the other three friends found them when they went off shift. Asha introduced him to her friends and it was obvious from the gleam in her eye that she had quickly become quite smitten with the local parrot.
“Stubby said he can help show us around as we look for Beavis,” she said.
“Well, maybe he can help us find the Open Wings Ministry,” said Asa. “Dolly called and said that the word was that there was a parrot there who was from out of town. They said that he was apparently working off a cheerios jag. It might be Beavis.”
“Wait, a second,” said BabyGirl. “What is a cheerios jag?”
“Some parrots have a weakness for breakfast cereals,” said Asa. “Must be all the sugar. My Daddy had a weakness for Cheerios. He’d eat all he could until he would about explode. Sounds like this parrot has the same problem.”
“Let’s get going,” said Stubby. “Just follow me and we’ll be there in about ten minutes.”
The five parrots landed in front of a storefront in a section of Las Vegas that had not seen its better days in many years. They could see ‘Open Wings Ministry’ scripted on the window so they went inside. Asha explained to the lady at the front desk that she was looking for a friend from out of town who might be staying there. After describing Beavis the receptionist left the room and came back with a man in a white coat who sat down with the friends.
“It sounds like you r are describing our new resident,” the doctor said. “He just came to us this morning. Apparently he had been keeping company with a street pigeon down on the strip. They were allegedly crushing cheerios and snorting them. Pretty hardcore stuff. The pigeon brought him here when she couldn’t wake him up this morning.”
“Will he be all right?” asked Asha, close to tears. “We’ll do whatever is necessary to help him. Does he need blood? I’ll be glad to donate.”
“No transfusions will be necessary,” said the doctor. “But it might not hurt to see a friendly face. Why don’t you come with me and we’ll see if he is awake enough to have some company.”
The doctor led Asha down a long hallway and then left into another corridor before stopping in front of a small door with 139 stenciled at the top. He opened the door and Asha was almost overwhelmed with the smell of alcohol and bleach. She could see a small body nestled in the bed. It was definitely Beavis, although it was obvious that he had lost weight and his previously bright green and white feathers had lost most of their sheen. Asha and the doctor stood beside the bed for a couple of minutes until Beavis stirred his small body and turn his head their way. Immediately a smile came to his beak.
“Asha, is that really you?”
“It’s me Beavis,” Asha said with a quaver in her voice. “How’ve you been?”
“I was just dreaming of you and the good old days swapping blogs on the Bird Channel,” Beavis said. “That seems so long ago….”
“Not that long old friend,” Asha said. “All we need to do is get you better and then take you back to your momma and things will be just like they always were, you just wait and see.”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about why I came here and I know I was just being stupid,” Beavis said. “I don’t care who those stupid birds name Bird of the Week. It’s the love of my mom and friends like you that really matters. Heck, I’m twenty years old. That’s ancient for a Quaker. I don’t need to be wasting even a single day worrying about stuff like that. I need to be living.”
“We better be going,” the doctor said gently as Beavis’ head lolled over and he went back to sleep.
On the way back to the reception area Asha was thinking about what Beavis had said. The first nine years of her life had been spent going from one human home to another. Some had neglected her and some had just not known how to live with a parrot. But now she had a wonderful Forever Home with her daddy. She had started hanging out with a group of fellow parrots who had opened her eyes to the wide world around her and to some of the bad things that were happening in that world every day. And they had been able to, in their small feathered way, do some good and help make things better. If it hadn’t been for their help she would never had her eyes opened to those things and she would not have been able to save her friend Beavis from death. And if it hadn’t been for them she would have never met a certain blue front who she hoped would become a very important part of her life.
So it was when she got back to the reception area Asa asked: “Well, how are things?”
“Things couldn’t be going better,” Asha said as she wrapped her green wings around Asa, Cecil, BabyGirl, and Stubby. “They couldn’t be going better at all.”