Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Asha Chronicles Part 7

Wow, just when you thought the world was finally a safe place, the Feathered Four are once again called into action. This particular episode centers around the namesake of the Asha Chronicles, the emerald green Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot Diva herself, Asha. Hang onto your seat while you read it, wouldn't want you falling off the edge. Better yet, fasten your seatbelts!

The Asha Chronicles Part 7

by Timothy

February 15, 2008

Shadow Of The Wing

It was early afternoon and Asha was sitting on one of the many perches in her huge cage-on-wheels with her head tucked under a wing taking a nap. She was dreaming of BabyGirl’s recent Valentine Day’s party and the short time she and her new boyfriend Stubby had spent birdie-beak kissing under a lilac bush.
Asha was a beautiful Blue-Front Amazon parrot with the personality of a Diva, but she had found herself quite smitten with the young bird from Las Vegas and found her thoughts drifting back to the desert city more and more often. She was especially enjoying this current dream when she heard the door to her human’s bedroom open and the voice of her human companion calling her name.
“Asha!” he said. “You have to look at this! They printed your picture in Bird Talk Magazine!”
With the pet industry in the country reaching massive proportions, it seems that every possible companion animal had several magazines and newsletters devoted to their humans. Parrots were no different and Bird Talk was perhaps the most popular devoted to them.
Asha shook her head and fluffed her feathers in irritation at having her thoughts so abruptly torn from their formerly happy source. She gave her human a quizzical look and tilted her head slightly to the left in anticipation of what he had to say.
“Look, it’s your picture in Bird Talk!” he shouted. “Isn’t that great?”
He pushed the open magazine towards Asha and she saw that it indeed had a picture of her in it. It was a nice picture that captured her beauty and intelligence. “As if it couldn’t capture something that obvious,” She thought to herself.
Not wanting to appear too interested in the picture she began preening one of her flight feathers while her human went to find a treat to give her.
“Now the rest of the world will see how beautiful you are,” he said as he handed Asha a peanut.
Asha grasped the peanut in two of her claws as she expertly extracted the nut with her beak and let the hull fall to the floor or her cage.
“Big deal,” she thought to herself. “I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks as long as Stubby thinks I’m beautiful.”
Not far from where Asha and her human lived another Bird Talk subscriber in suburban Atlanta was looking over the same issue when she also noticed the picture of Asha. She was also taken by the beauty of the subject and showed the picture to her Blue-Front named Otto. Otto took one look at the picture and became enraptured with Asha. While birds did not share most of the frailities of the mind that humans possessed, there were still some of them who could be called anti-social. Otto was one of those. He lived in a nice home and had a loving human companion, but there was something dark in the bottom of his heart, and the photo of Asha called to that darkness and he immediately swore to himself that he would possess her, or no other bird would.
Otto waited until his human had left the room and then flew over to her computer. He accessed the Bird Channel web site and entered Asha’s name in the search engine. It quickly brought up her web page and he quickly gathered as much information on her as he could. He saw that she lived less than a hundred miles from his home and quickly decided that he would leave the next morning and fly to her hometown on a surveillance mission.
As Asha tucked her head back under her wing and blissfully went back to sleep and another dream of Stubby, she had no idea that she had just acquired the curse of all human Divas-she had a stalker.

The next day the weather was relatively warm and Asha was spending the day on her screened porch. She had spent the last couple of hours viciously attacking a piƱata in her cage and was tired from the efforts and bored with her human being absent. But being a prey animal at heart, she automatically kept a close eye on the surroundings and eventually noticed a strange bird perched on the roof of a nearby house.
Asha was very familiar with the flora and fauna of her neighborhood and this bird did not resemble anything she had ever seen in middle Georgia. In fact, although she could not get a good view due to the distance involved, it looked all the world like a Blue Front Amazon parrot.
The first thought that crossed her mind was that Stubby had for some reason decided to fly all the way from Nevada to surprise her but she quickly discounted that idea. She had just blogged him on the internet that morning and he could have never gotten here in that short of time. It could be BabyGirl, one of her Feathered Friends, but this bird looked larger than her and she was an orange wing. She thought of other blue fronts she knew like Ben and Echo but she didn’t think they would come and visit without telling her. And they certainly wouldn’t just sit on a nearby roof and not drop in.
The more she looked at the strange parrot the more uneasy she felt. Then the strange bird took flight and slowly made its way in Asha’s direction. It circled her hours and then flew off into the distance.
“Glad to see that one gone,” Asha said to herself. But she couldn’t shake a feeling of fear in the pit of her tiny stomach.
Over the course of the next week Asha saw the strange parrot at least three more times. It was always just at the furtherest range of her vision. All it would do was sit and watch her for a while and then fly off. Every time she saw the bird the more menacing it appeared. She finally broke down and contacted the other members of her group and asked them to visit her.
The Four Feathered Friends gathered the next day on Asha’s porch and she told them the story of the menacing parrot. The four of them took flight and scoured the area surrounding Asha’s home but could see no sign of the stranger. They gathered back at the porch and put their beaks together to try to figure out what was happening.
“It would seem that you have a stalker,” said Asa. “I guess that is the price you have to pay for becoming famous.”
“A stalker?” Asha said in shock. “I thought only humans had stalkers. Why would another parrot do that? What would they want, my autograph?”
“No, it is usually much more serious than that,” said BabyGirl. “I remember hearing about that Latina singer a few years ago who was murdered by a stalker. And then there was that tennis player who got stabbed by a crazy fan. This is serious business.”
Just then the four heard the sounds of wings overhead and a rock fell on the roof of the porch. All they could see was the flash of wings heading into the distance.
“Well, whoever it is, they are pretty crafty,” said Cecil. “They were here all the time and we never saw them.”
Asa had flown up to the roof and came back with a rock. Asha noticed that a note was attached to ti and she quickly pulled it off with her beak and read it to her friends.
“Call all the help you want and it won’t help,” the note read. “You will be mine.” The note was signed Otto.
“Otto,” questioned BabyGirl. “Do any of you know anyone named Otto?”
“No,” said Asa. “But I think it’s time we put the Parrot Network to work on this one.”
The Parrot Network was an underground organization of parrots around the world which worked together to aid members of their kind who were in trouble. The four friends had made use of one of the network members named Dolly in their recent Las Vegas adventure.
“I’ll get word to Echo and he’ll put the word out on his radio network,” said Cecil. “He can find out if anyone knows this Otto.”
“But what will we do in the meantime?” asked BabyGirl. “We can’t leave Asha her by herself.”
“Come on guys,” said Asha. “You all are getting a little too dramatic here. All this bird has done is fly around and drop a rock on my roof. We have no reason to believe that he wants to harm me in any way. Maybe all he wants to do is look at me for a while and then he’ll get tired and think of something else to pass the time.
“Anyway, you all can’t stay here forever,” Asha reasoned. “You have your own homes and families. Your humans will miss you and how will you explain this? You go on home and I’ll be just fine.”
The other three were reluctant to leave, but bolstered by Asha’s brave front, they finally agreed and headed to their various homes. But as Asha watched them fly off into the distance, she didn’t feel as nearly as brave as she had let on. In fact, she was terrified for the first time in her life.
The next day Asha was pacing back-and-forth on top of her cage trying to convince herself that she had nothing to be afraid of when her human entered the room.
“Hey honey,” he said. “You got a package in the mail. It must be from that boyfriend of yours in Las Vegas. You better watch out or I’ll get jealous,” he said with a smile as he handed her the package and left the room.
Asha tore open the package and then recoiled in horror. It contained a small Teddy Bear which had had its head tore off. There was a not attached which said: “You don’t need those other birds. I’m all you need.” And it was signed Otto.
Asha was now seriously worried. She flew to the computer and got in touch with Echo. Echo said he had passed the word down the network but nobody had any information on a parrot named Otto. She thanked him for his help and then contacted Stubby in Las Vegas. She had not wanted to burden him with her concerns previously, but now she poured out her heart. Stubby said he would try to get there as soon as possible but he had just checked the Weather Channel and there was a massive winter storm over the Plains States and he would have to fly almost to the Gulf of Mexico to get to her house. He said he would get there as soon as he could but Asha knew it would take at least two days for him to cover the vast distance between their homes. She thanked him and turned off the computer and tucked her head under her wing. Nobody could see, but more than a few tears flowed down her feathered chest as she cried in silence.
Asha was awake all night listening for nay strange noises. More than once she decided to awaken her human and tell him off the situation but she didn’t want to worry him. She realized that this was a parrot problem and had to be solved by parrots. Just before sunrise she heard a scratching sound out on her porch but she was much too scared to go and see what it was. After her human got up and made her breakfast he wheeled her cage onto the porch. She looked around to see if there was any sign of the noise she heard and then she saw something scratched on the floor.
“You are mine or you are dead,” it said. Asha’s human hadn’t noticed anything but she gave a piercing scream when she read the words.
Her human rushed back to the porch to see what had happened and he found Asha cowering in terror in a corner of her cage.
“What is wrong honey,” he asked in concern. “Did one of those mean neighbor dogs try to get at you? You don’t have to worry, they can’t get in here.” He looked around the porch and, seeing nothing out of the way and not noticing the writing on the floor, he left to get ready to leave. He and his wife were leaving for the weekend to attend a funeral out of state.
Asha was almost paralyzed with fear. She had never felt this way. She had faced down humans pointing deadly guns at her in the past without turning a feather but now she was almost out of her mind in fear of this unknown parrot.
“Get a grip girl,” she told herself. “Deep breaths and try to get control.”
Eventually her heartbeat got under control and she flew around the house making sure that all the doors were locked. She then went back to the porch to try and figure out how Otto had gotten in to leave his message. Eventually she found a small hole near the floor where he had apparently been able to chew through the screen and get inside. She tried to push a chair over to cover the opening but was not nearly strong enough. She was beginning to feel panicky again as she knew she would not be able to close the door leading from the porch into the house. Where could she go to be safe?
Then she heard a low laughing sound behind her and she turned to see a parrot hanging onto the screen of the porch just three feet away from her. She had never seen him before, but deep in her tortured heart she instinctively knew it was Otto.
“Hey pretty girl,” Otto said. “Do you want to come out and play?” He then chuckled and flew off.
Asha was about to pass out in panic when she heard the doorbell ring. She flew to the front door and looked out the peephole and saw just about the strangest thing she had ever seen. It was and African Grey parrot in a bird-sized trench coat and a hat.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Asha asked through the door.
“My name is Knuckles and I am here to help you if you’ll let me in,” came a gravelly voice.
Asha threw caution to the wind and opened the door and let the bird in, quickly slamming the door behind her.
“I heard through the network that you were in trouble little girl and I thought I would come and lend a hand,” Knuckles said as he quickly looked around the room. “I hear you got an unwanted friend?”
The words came out of Asha in a flood as she explained what had happened to that point. Knuckles listened quietly and when she was finished he gazed her straight in the eye and said: “Don’t you worry little girl. This guy may think he is pretty tough, but he ain’t nearly as tough as he thinks he is.”
Something about Knuckles made Asha feel better and she soon could feel at least a small part of her usual confidence come flooding back into her.
“Thank you Knuckles,” she said. “What do you think we should do?”
“We sit tight and wait for him to make the next move,” he said as he removed the trench coat and hat and laid them on a sofa. “We got him outnumbered now. As long as we stay together and keep calm we go the advantage on him.”
“If I may so bold as to ask,” Asha said. “What is it with the trench coat. It isn’t that cold outside.”
“Oh that,” Knuckles said with a smile. “I’m a big Humphrey Bogard fan. I guess I’m trying to look like Sam Spade. It’s silly, I know. But it kind of makes me feel a little more confident.”
Asha smiled as she realized that she instinctively liked the Grey.
“Hey, no problem. It looks good on you,” she said with a grin.
The two settled down and talked and played word games to keep themselves alert and awake and night came on. Knuckles would fly around the house occasionally to see if he could catch sight of Otto, but he always returned empty-handed. The two had set-up shop in the kitchen of the house where they could see out into both the front and rear yards.
All of a sudden the two heard a loud noise from the porch.
“That must be him trying to get inside again,” whispered Asha. “What should we do?”
“Well, we don’t split up, that’s for sure,” said Knuckles. “You come with me and let’s go see what that noise was.”
The two waddled down the hall that led into her human’s bedroom. The porch was off that bedroom. Asha heard a scratching sound from above and suddenly a book fell off a shelf and landed squarely on Knuckles’ head, knocking him unconscious.
“I thought I told you not to be going around with other birds,” Asha heard Otto say. She looked up and he was standing on the shelf where the book had come from. “Do you know what happens to birds who don’t do what they are told?”
Suddenly Asha was filled with a fierce feeling of anger and disgust. She had been doing nothing but acting afraid of this parrot the whole time. Now was not the time for fear, it was the time for action.
“No, but I do know what happens to scum like you,” she said as she flew up at Otto, claws first.
The two fought for what seemed like minutes but was really just a few seconds. Asha had the upper hand until she slipped while trying to grab a piece of molding and Otto hit her on the side of her head and she fell to the floor. He quickly pounced on top of her and held his claws to her face.
“Say your prayers little girl,” Otto said with a sneer. “Your cover girl days are over,” he said as he raised his claws to strike.
But the strike never came and as Asha looked on in shock a knifepoint suddenly appeared in his chest and he fell over as his blood spurted all over the semi-conscious bird.
Almost in a daze Asha heard a familiar voice say, “Hasta Le Vista asshole.” And over the dead bird’s body she saw Stubby standing in the hallway with the handle of the knife in his claws.
“Sorry,” he said with a smile. “Those headwinds were a bitch.”
The rest of the night was a blur as Asha fell sobbing into Stubby’s arms and he comforted her. Knuckles work up soon after and felt awful for letting Otto get the drop on him but Asha and Stubby both did their best to make him feel better.
“If it hadn’t been for you I would have never had the time to get here,” said Stubby. “You saved my girl’s life and I’ll always be in your debt.”
Knuckles said he would take care of Otto’s body. He said the network would arrange to have it returned to his human with a suitable story that would cover up his crime.
As Knuckles left he turned back and, smiling at Asha, tipped his hat and said: “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
“Well, I better get going,” said Stubby as Knuckles flew off. “My human will be worried if I’m gone for too long and the weather going back won’t be much better.”
Asha looked into his dark eyes and smiled.
“I really don’t know what to say,” she said quietly. “But I think you know what I want to say.”
Stubby leaned over and picked up one of his tail feathers which had come out during the fight.
“You keep this as a sign of how I feel for you,” he said as he lightly brushed Asha’s beak with his. He then turned and started flying west to his home. But from now on they both knew that they would never really be apart.

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