This is it, the conclusion to Part 5 of the Asha Chronicles, the episode our very own Denise Felton added in her two cents worth with the most heroic invisible cat you'll ever meet! Won't give the story way, so read on!
The Asha Chronicles
By Julie Anne and Tim
February 11, 2008
It’d been a quiet few weeks for The Feathered Four, something which they were all grateful for. Cecil was still quite traumatized from witnessing the brutal murder of Sammy the African Grey and the anger of the other three of the team still raged hot, although, as the weeks had passed, the anger had begun to cool a bit. Asa had remained in touch with her teammates via Bird Channel, but none of them really had much to say.
It was a Wednesday morning and Asa’s Grandma was home, sewing, as always. She had quite the order to fill and Asa had done her job of picking out the fabric. Asa’s Grandma was a rather hopeless case when it came to color coordination and so if the humans would actually want to look at and buy her Grandma’s creations, the job for fabric picking fell to the co-owner of Diamondmeenuh Creations, Miss. AsaMina Sura, her one and only self.
Earlier that morning, before the speed sewing began, Asa’s Grandma logged onto BC for her. Asa had an odd message she was still pondering over as she watched her Grandma knot the thread to the lime green and gold floral fabric. It was from one of Edgar Allan’s BC friends, Poirot, about voting for his friends sibling cat Snickers to win Cat of the Month on The Cat Channel. This, in and of itself wasn’t odd since a lot of BCers had siblings with fur and often asked their fellow feathered ones to stuff the ballot box for them so their sibling could win the honor. Asa, who’d been a member of BC since the beginning, she was the 357th member, had never won nor had every had anyone stuff the ballot box for her, but she really didn’t care either. Although, she understood the drive to win for the others and often had her Grandma place a vote for those who queried, it just wasn’t important to her. It was odd, however, that she was asked and not Edgar Allan. Poirot and Asa really didn’t know one another and she never recalled leaving him any messages before either.
As she pondered this odd message this morning, her Grandma logged onto Cat Channel and found Snickers and read out loud, “Snickers, an invisible short haired tabby who loves catnip and Doritos, preferably at the same time. Snickers is the museum mascot in Little Rock, Arkansas, and loves all the people who work there because they leave out toys and treats for her and give the most fabulous ear skritches an invisible cat could wish for. Snickers was rescued from the Invisible Cat No-Kill Shelter.” Asa’s Grandma concluded as she scrolled to the top of the page to place their vote, “An invisible cat. Different, but then Diamond Sunshine hatched out of a sterile egg, so why not.” Grandma ended as she clicked out of Cat Channel and back onto BC.
“An invisible cat? Asa continued to ponder as she began to doze off in her Grandma’s ponytail. Her Grandma was sewing so fast it was beginning to make Asa a bit dizzy. “An invisible cat from a no-kill shelter? Wasn’t Bad Guy, oh, what was that humans name the owl sentenced to community service….Earl…..” Asa fell into a deep but uneasy sleep.
“Baby-Asa” came a very familiar voice.
“Daddy?” asked Asa with a huge yawn. Baby-Asa is what her Grandma and God-Mommy Dolly had called her egg before she hatched. The only one who called her Baby-Asa after she hatched was her father, R.B. Bird.
“Yes, Baby-Asa, it’s me. I need for you to listen to me, it’s very important.” R.B. Bird said as he appeared in a cloud just above where she was perched.
“Where am I?” asked Asa as she looked around and noticed her Grandma was gone, replaced by a mossy tree located in a deep, damp, dark forest in which Asa was now perched.
“You’re over the Rainbow Bridge.” R.B. Bird simply stated, his outline now visible above her.
“I’m dead?” she asked, totally perplexed.
“No, Baby-Asa, you’re very much alive, but there are things you and your friends need to learn before more critters cross over to the Rainbow Bridge before their time.” R.B. Bird said in his best impersonation of Splinters of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fames voice.
“Asha, BabyGirl and Cecil are coming over the Rainbow Bridge, too? How do we…did we…get here if we’re not dead?”
“That’s not important, my child. What is important is to pay attention and listen. Those you seek will come to you in human form, only you will remain in your earthly form. Watch and listen. So much is depending on you, my Baby-Asa. Go forth from this forest to the west. Your journey will begin there.” R.B. Bird ended, still using his impersonation of Splinters voice, and disappeared.
Asa, still very confused and bewildered, did as her father had asked and took off toward the west. She’d flown for about 13 miles through the woods, dodging dangling damp slimy moss and grotesquely bent entwined branches before daylight finally became visible before her. Asa stopped to catch her breath on a bit of slimy moss on the last branch of the last tree on the edge of the forest. She listened intently as she perched. Somewhere off in the distance she heard music playing. Odd music as it was from Pink Floyds The Wall being played on what sounded like Ukulele’s. Asa shook her head, but the lilting strains of the song didn’t dissipate. She took flight once again and headed toward the music, due west.
It wasn’t much further when she came upon a small medieval town. Sulfur Crested Cockatoos dressed as jesters with argyle socks in vivid shades of violet, cobalt and emerald green danced in the streets with the Ukulele’s as they played the psychedelic rock. Asa also noted several humans roaming around. One, although very unfamiliar, looked extremely familiar at the same time. She flew closer and landed on the wooden arm of the porch swing the human sat upon.
“Asa, you’re here! Fantastic!” Said the voluptuous and curvy blond with her long flowing hair highlighted with pale blue streaks. “It’s odd being human, but I still feel very much myself, just more ‘diva’ if you know what I mean.”
“Asha?” Asa asked the curvy blond adorned in a low cut silken emerald green gown that hid none of her curves, just accentuated them beautifully.
“It’s me. Totally Diva me.” Said Asha with a toss of her blond tresses.
“Why am I still a tiel and you are a human? How on earth did you get changed? How on earth did you get here?” Asked Asa almost too quickly to be understood.
“Sit on an ice cube, Asa and chill! Rosalie contacted me while I was napping. Dads team is losing again. First he fell asleep, then I did. Then I woke up here.” said Asha in her most Diva like tone with a smidge of Marilyn Monroe tossed in.
“BabyGirl and Cecil? Have you seen them?” Asked Asa as she tried to process her best friend as a human.
“Nope, haven’t seen them. Rosalie told me to wait here, so here I wait.” said Asha simply.
“My Daddy Bird got a hold of me. Grandma was making me dizzy with her speed sewing again and I dozed off in her ponytail and woke up in a really nasty slimy forest not too far from here. My Daddy Bird told me to come here, but didn’t say why. I think he’s watched too much Ninja Turtles, to tell the truth.” Asa offered as her explanation to why she was here in this medieval town.
The Sulfur Crested Too’s began to play Elton Johns Crocodile Rock on their Ukulele’s as an enormous and muscular male human approached them.
“Asa, it’s me, Cecil.” said the six foot nine inch extremely muscular human male. “You’re still a tiel?” Cecil added as he sat beside Asha on the porch swing. The swing groaned a bit under the added weight, but didn’t break. “Asha, is that you?” he asked the Diva he’d just sat down next to.
“It’s me and I have no clue why Asa’s still a tiel either. Have you seen BabyGirl?” Asha asked and she eyed every inch of the stud muffin to her left, only momentarily forgetting Stubby was waiting for her back home.
“No, all I saw was Asa’s father, R.B. Bird. He brought me here. He said I needed to be as big as I am inside. He told me I’d need it later on. Boy is that one scary dude, Asa! I’d hate to meet your Dad in a well lit pet store!” Cecil explained as an orange winged Amazon flew up to them and landed daintily next to Asa.
“Howdy y’all.” BabyGirl greeted in her best southern drawl.
“You’re still a bird, too?” asked Asha, Asa, and Cecil simultaneously.
“Yeah.” BabyGirl began as she abruptly realized that two of her flock mates were human, “You’re not birds, you’re human?” she added puzzled.
“Yeah, we don’t get it either, but it is what it is.” explained Cecil.
“Who brought you here?” Asa asked BabyGirl.
“Rosalie. Didn’t she bring you here, too?” answered BabyGirl
“No, my Daddy Bird brought me and Cecil. Rosalie brought Asha, however.” Asa explained.
“We’re all here, now what?” asked the voluptuous and curvy blond Asha.
The answer to their questions didn’t come from one of them or from where they expected. It came, actually, from the least expected of places, Sammy the African Grey. The Sulfur Crested Toos began to play the Hokey-Pokey on their well worn but well tuned Ukulele’s as they danced past The Feathered Four and up the street, apparently to get the holes in their argyle socks darned at the local sock shop, as Sammy the African Grey flew up and landed on the porch railing before the four bewildered friends.
“Thank you, Asha, for rescuing my body and giving me a funeral and honoring me so. Thank you all of you for all you did for me. It’s because you’re hearts are so pure that I’ve asked R.B. Bird and Rosalie to bring you here over the Rainbow Bridge. I need to ask you to do all of us over here and those not meant to be here just yet, a big favor.” Sammy began humbly.
“Is this what it’s always like here? Some birds turned to human?” asked Cecil in a deep masculine voice.
“No, Cecil, it’s not. What you see here is what we here over the bridge have created for you. You can’t see the real thing till it’s your time and that won’t be for a very long time for any of you.” Sammy explained, before continuing with his story and favor, “My human, Earl, is doing as Oppenheimer, the owl judge, commanded him. He is working at that no-kill shelter, but he’s also still harming the animals and has killed many that were going to be adopted into good loving homes to live out what would have been a long happy life.” Sammy paused a moment to preen a wayward itchy feather on his back before continuing, “Earl has broken into the drug cabinet at the shelter many times, taken the drugs and needles and euthanized a dozen cats, twenty one dogs, and sixteen birds. Earl needs to be taught a more permanent lesson and that’s where we over the rainbow bridge need you to help.”
“How?” asked Asha, still a bit confused at the scene playing out before her.
“I’m leaving that up to you and what you feel is best to remedy the situation. Asha, you’ve appeared here, over the rainbow bridge, as a human bombshell because that is your gift to this group, your beauty and your muscle. Cecil, you too, are here in human form so you can see for yourself your gift to this group, your strength, not just in your size, but in your mind. It’s your mind and your ability to use human speech that help this group fight immorality and win. BabyGirl and Asa, you arrived here in bird form, not human form because you already know your hearts and we didn’t feel you needed to see for yourselves the gifts you bring. BabyGirl, you’re the muscle in the group and Asa, you are very much your father and are the brains of the group. Listen to your heart, your father will guide you.” as soon as Sammy ended he vanished.
A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets appeared from around the corner of the clock and doll fix-it shop each playing a lute and singing one of the Dixie Chicks number one songs, ‘Goodbye Earl’“…She held Wanda's hand as theyworked out a planAnd it didn't take 'em long to decideThat Earl had to dieGoodbye EarlThose black-eyed peasThey tasted all right to me EarlYou're feelin' weakWhy don't you lay downand sleep EarlAin't it darkWrapped up in that tarp Earl?” sang the Rainbow Lorikeets as they toddled past the Feathered Four and down the street toward the Fruit and Veggie Saloon.
“Time to Ninja us some bad guys.” said Asha the bombshell deviously as she rubbed her gracefully long fingers together like she was trying to wash the evil off of her hands.
“Time to Ninja us some bad guys!” chorused Asa and BabyGirl gleefully.
“How do we get out of here?” asked Cecil logically.
“AsaMina Sura, baby girl.” Grandma cooed as she offered Asa her finger, “Grandma needs to make dinner and you need to go in and eat some of your Mush.”
Asa obligingly stepped up onto her Grandma’s finger and let her Grandma kiss her back one too many times as she carried her back to her cage, then closed her door, and left the room to prepare dinner.
“Need to get to the rest of the crew.” Asa said as she easily opened the door to her cage. Her Grandma only locked her in if they had a lot of company or she left the house. Asa’s Grandma had also left the computer on, so it was fairly easy for the 93 gram bundle of sleek cinnamon brown feathers to log herself onto Bird Channel and leave Asha, Cecil and BabyGirl messages to meet at the old barn where Oppenheimer the old barn owl lived.
When Asa arrived at the barn she was almost surprised to see three parrots there to meet her. Asha was her usual green-feathered self while Cecil as resplendent in his sky blue coat. BabyGirl was similar in appearance to Asha except she was a little smaller and had more blue around her face.
“You look surprised to see us Asa,” Asha said with a knowing smile.
“It isn’t that I’m surprised to see you, it’s just that I’m surprised to see you in this form. The last time I saw you, you looked more like Marilyn Monroe than a parrot,” Asa said.
“I know, and Cecil was quite a bit different too,” Asha said with a grin directed at the budgie. “I always knew you had a large personality, but Dad’s favorite basketball team could use you in a big way.”
Cecil just grinned and scratched at the floor of the barn. It always seemed that he got a little tongue-tied when he was in Asa’s presence.Just then the four heard a deep and distinguished voice from a corner of the barn.
“Welcome my four friends,” said Oppenheimer. “I am so sorry that I had to go to these great lengths to gather you again, but the need is great.”
“We heard what has happened,” said Asa. “We had hoped that Earl had learned his lesson but it appears that some humans have harder heads than others.”
“I know we all agreed to try to rehabilitate Earl, but I think that now we need to end this once and for all,” said Asha with a cold fury in her voice. “It was bad enough what he did to Sammy, but now he is continuing to send animals to the Rainbow Bridge way before their time.”
“I’m afraid that you may be right Asha,” Oppenheimer said with a deep sadness in his voice. “I’ve talked to many others both here on Earth and over the bridge and we have reluctantly agreed that Earl is too big of a threat. Many of the animals he has euthanized could have found wonderful Forever Homes just as you four have.”
“You all are probably right, but I can’t help but remember what my granny once told me,” said Asa. “If you keep trading an eye for an eye everyone ends up blind.”
“Before my Dad took me in, the family that previously had me was ready to take me to a shelter just like the one Earl is working at,” Asha hissed. “I could have been one of the birds he stuck a needle in. I saw that Rainbow Bridge was a nice place, but I’m not ready to go there yet and while I have breath in my body, I’ll not see another helpless animal make that trip before their time. Are you with me?”
“We’re with you!” The other three said in unison as they took flight out of the barn door.
“Such courage and passion in such small bodies,”Oppenheimer said to himself as he shook his large and distinguished head. “And humans think of them as ignorant pets. Fly Free Feathered Friends!”
As the four friends flew towards the shelter Cecil turned to BabyGirl and whispered: “Hey, have you ever seen that human movie Star Wars?”
“No, why?” asked BabyGirl.
“That Oppenheimer sounds just like the character they called Darth Vader,” Cecil said.
“Oh, was he the hero?” she asked.
“No, that’s what worries me,” Cecil said.
When they arrived at the shelter they split up and scouted out the surroundings. After a few minutes they gathered together on the limb of a poplar tree and compared notes.
“It looks like we are lucky,” said Asa. “It is night and it appears that Earl is here by himself. But we need to figure out what to do next because it looks like he is about to euthanize another animal.”
The four flew to a rear window that looked in a small room. They could see that Earl had strapped a large Siamese cat to a table and was about to inject the hissing animal with poison.
“We have to do something quick,” said Asha. “Can you get that window open Convicts Chick?”
“Not for a minute or two, it must be specially locked since this is the room with the chemicals,” Asa said with panic in her voice. “Can you chew through that concrete Cecil?”
“The concrete is no problem, but there is plenty of rebar and that is a tough job,” Cecil said between mouthfuls of concrete dust.
“Wait!” shouted BabyGirl. “Look, something strange is happening.”
The four looked on as Earl suddenly stopped short of injecting the terrified cat. His hand jerked back and, obviously against his will, he injected himself with the poison and fell to the floor. His body jerked a couple of times and then he lay deathly still.
“What the heck did we just see?” asked a puzzled Asha.
Suddenly the wispy form of a short-haired tabby cat appeared before them. “Hello friends, my name is Snickers and I am the mascot at the museum by the River Walk in Little Rock, Arkansas. I am an invisible cat,” the spectral form said as if she introduced herself that way all the time.
“You’re the one who sent me the email,” Asa said with wonder in her voice. “Did you do that to Earl?”
“Yes I did,” said Snickers. “I had tried many times to stop him from murdering my friends, but when you arrived your courage and great hearts gave me the strength to reach out and do what had to be done. I could tell that killing a living creature was repugnant to you, no matter how you blustered,” she said with a wink at Asha. “So when I saw I had the strength to do it myself I took action.”
They then heard the whisper of large wings as Oppenheimer took his place on the limb beside them. “You see now the good you can do in this world,” he intoned. “Not only can you right wrongs yourselves, but you can give others the strength to right them too.”
Oppenheimer then turned to Cecil and said with a smile. “As for you little one, Darth turned out to be a good guy in the end!” The great owl took wing as Snickers disappeared from view.
“Well, I guess we better do something with that body,” said BabyGirl. “But aren’t there are going to be a lot of questions about what happened to him?”
“I don’t think so,” said Asa. “As one of my granny’s favorite songs goes ‘it turned out he was a missing person nobody ever missed.’”