Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Nurses

Well, everyone has heard me mention my drill sargent nurses: Cleo, AsaMina, Edgar Allan and Worthington. Tyson Parker doesn't do 'nurse' as he's way to busy trashing hubby's den to pay much attention to me. Which is no problem, the four taking care of me are quite enough for one little old me to deal with at one time.

In the following pictures two of the drill sargent nurses were caught in the act by my husband, who obviously is still learning to use my new little camera with the 200 pages of instructions, so the pictures are a tad blurry. AsaMina is on my shoulder about to be kissed. The nurses liked to be paid often, you know. Worthington is the little blond on my knee waiting patiently for his turn at payment for all the hard work he does nursing me back to health.

I'm making sure AsaMina is paid in full as the pile of sewing I'm attempting to slowly work on, made even slower by the insistance of the nurses on being 'paid' for their hard work often, is sitting just to the readers right in the picture. AsaMina loves nothing more than a good cheek nuzzle accompanied with one of my famous neck massages.

Then Worthington's patience is rewarded with a neck massage of his very own. He's also keeping a very watchfull eye on his Daddy. Daddy still makes the little guy a tad nervous.

Now, most of this "Mommy, love me, please." stuff is normal. What isn't normal and what Double Trouble (AsaMina and Worthington) have only done since my surgery is plant themselves on my knees and refuse to budge. In the following pictures you'll see what I mean. If I were to move with them planted and preening, they'd toppled and fall to the floor. Neither can fly. So, there I sit, letting them preen, not moving. It would be fine if it ended there. But, after a good preen, one is normally exhausted and must recharge ones little feathered batteries. So, then the pair fall fast asleep, leaving me stuck in that one position until their little batteries are recharged and their nap is over.

Cleo and Edgar Allan? Well, they don't sit on me, they just yell at me. When I get a crick in my leg and need to shift positions the pair watch me like hawks. Any move they feel I shouldn't be doing Cleo does her best impersonation of an ambulance siren. If I continue to move and not mind my nurse Cleo, Edgar Allan chimes in with his impersonation of a car alarm. I still think I should have had the little guy lo-jacked instead of micro-chipped! I also don't think I've ever come across such strict nurses before in my life! Honest, the four never paid that much attention to me and what I did before the surgery! Needless to say, I'm one seriously blessed Mommy Bird. Not only have I recieved and continue to recieve healing vibes and prayers from my friends and family, but I'm positive my nurses strictness has a lot to do with the fact I'm healing not only amazingly well, but amazingly fast, too.

Ok, the nurses say I have to shut the computer down now. Double Trouble needs another massage and a few more kisses. Must obey my nurses, you know

The Last Asha Chronicle- Part 14

Well, this is it, the last of the Asha Chronicles (at least for now). As the faithful readers may remember, Beavis, a very old Quaker parrot, ran away from home once before. He was depressed and saddened at not winning Bird of the Week. He assumed he had no friends and ran off to drown his sorrows on a serious Cheerio binge. He was found in a rehab facility run by the Bird Underground and convinced to come home. Well, after losing two more times to another bird for Bird of the Week, he ran away yet again. And, yet again, the Feathered Four went off to rescue him......

The Asha Chronicles Part 14
Yoda Beavis the Lost
by Timothy Graham and Julie Stilwell
March 4, 2008

“I can’t believe I’m here. King of all budgies. The one and only Sir Cecilot trapped like I just snarfed at Claussen and got locked up for a time out!” Cecil complained both melodramatically and a bit to loudly.
“Shhhhhhhhhh!” scolded Asha and BabyGirl at the same time. “You wanna get us caught and trapped in quarantine for the next six months?” Asa ended. “Be lucky that Granny still had Worthington’s travel condo from when his breeder shipped him to us and it still had all the stickers and papers on it for getting through customs.”
“Yeah, and be lucky it isn’t smaller!” Cecil complained again.
“I can’t believe we’re going to Scotland to bring Beavis home!” said Asha. “I wonder how Buddy did it?” she added as she thought of the African Grey from Wall, NJ who not only helped them catch the Yuppie Killer, but also helped them rescue Asa’s flockmate Ralph from the waiting room of the Rainbow Bridge. Buddy was a world traveler and had traveled everywhere, including and most recently the moon.
“There just wasn’t room in here for him to fit, too. We’re just lucky Cecil isn’t as big as his personality and especially that he’s not as big as that attitude and ego of his!” said BabyGirl and she tried to stretch her left foot, which had gone to sleep from being stuck in the same position for so long.
“Watch it, Orange-Wing!” Cecil threatened.
“Yeah, yeah, king of all budgies and so on!” BabyGirl rebuked back.
“Ok, come on; let’s keep a level set of head feathers here!” Asa said as she pulled her tail out from under Asha’s talon. “We need to quick complaining and be thankful for what we have, including each other. Then we need to remember we’re on this uncomfortable mission to rescue Beavis and talk some sense into his old head and get him to come home once and for all.” Asa scolded her Feathered Friends.
“Yeah, it’s just been nearly 12 hours in here and I guess the close quarters are just getting to all of us.” Asha apologized.
“Dolly’s great-Uncle Guido will be picking us up at the airport. Dolly and the Underground forged all the papers he’ll need to just take us to his home in Orkney without us getting stuck in customs and quarantine for the next six months. From what the European Underground has been saying, Beavis is currently living in a place called Skara Brae. I looked it up on Granny’s computer and it’s a human thing called a Neolithic settlement that was built in 3100- 2500 BC. It’s a very old place and there are ten homes there that we will have to search for Beavis.” Asa said as she went over the information she’d stored in the files of her little grey brain cells.
“How far is Skara Brae from Guido’s?” Asked BabyGirl.
“Not too far. Guido will take us there so we don’t have to search too long for it. Then, so we don’t spook Beavis, he’ll leave us to our job.” Asa answered.
“We might as well get some rest. Time will go faster if we sleep through this trip than if we continue arguing with one another.” Said Asha as she tucked her blue, yellow and green head under her wing and closed her eyes.
Her fellow Feathered Friends joined her. They all knew they’d need their rest for the mission that lay ahead.
The Feathered Friends slept so soundly that they didn’t notice the plane had landed until the Delta Pet Express guy jostled their carrier as he moved the crate with the Shih Tzu that sat belted beside them, “Got the four tweety birdies that Guido Guirino guy is picking up.”
“Yeah, take ‘em down to the ticket counter, the Guirino guy will be waiting to take them from you.” the other baggage handler instructed the first.
“What about the customs papers?” the first asked as he unbelted and lifted the carrier with the Feathered Friends in it.
“Guirino has them and they’re all in order, just take the tweety birdies to the ticket counter, direct. All livestock is under its own special section. They have to get to their new owner untraumatized or the airline will get sued.” the second baggage handler said as he carried the Shih Tzu, who was quiet due to being heavily tranquilized for the plane ride, out the hatch door of the climate controlled and pressurized section of the baggage compartment.
The first baggage handler carefully carried the Feathered Friends, who sat wedged side by side, like stuffed birds in the little carrier Asa’s Granny had given to them to get to Scotland in. It was a good 10 minute walk to the Delta ticket counter where Dolly’s great Uncle Guido was waiting for them. He greeted them warmly the moment the baggage handler and packed carrier came into view.
“Oh! My beauuuuuuutiful baby birrrrdie’s!!!!” Guido cooed quite loudly. “Oh, it eees to good to see you! Dolly ‘as told me so much about you I feel I’ve known you all me life! Wait till my Rose Mary sees you beauuuuuuuutiful babies!”
“I need to see your identification and the papers for all four of the tweety birdies.” said the baggage handler as he placed the full carrier down on the ticket counter.
“Not a problem. Ere they are Sir.” said Guido as he handed the stack of customs forms, health certificates, Asa’s micro chip information, and his personal identification to the baggage handler.
“Uncle Guido! Love you!” said Cecil, clear as a bell in English as he clung to the travel carriers door like one of those stuffed Garfields with the suction cup feet that so many Americans liked to display in their cars rear window.
“Ah, little Cecil! Eet must be nice being so small while stuck in such a full carrier, eh?” Guido said sweetly to the only male member of the Feathered Friends.
“Love you!” Cecil warbled again in English.
“Beep!” chimed in Asa, understanding that Cecil was trying to help get them through customs by showing the baggage guy that they knew Guido and he was not some evil bird napper.
“Tickle Tickle. Antidisestablishmentarianism.” said Asha, the Diva of the Feathered Friends, not to be out done.
“Kissy Kissy Uncle Guido.” said BabyGirl.
“Ah, my tweety babies! Uncle Guido loves you too! And Asha, such a long and impressive word!” Guido cooed as he tried to stick a chubby index finger through the carriers door to lovingly skritch Cecil’s head.
Asha considered puffing up at the compliment Uncle Guido had just paid her, but she realized there just wasn’t room in the carrier for such displays of emotion.
“Well, all is in order and the tweety birdies are not only yours, but obviously happy to see you, too. You’re clear to go Mr. Guirino.” The baggage handler smiled as he stamped and handed Guido back a slightly smaller stack of papers.
Uncle Guido carried the carrier snuggly in both of his arms and nestled next to his barrel of a chest to his aging Citron waiting for them out in the parking lot with Rose Mary, his wife.
“Rosie, here are our nieces and nephew.” Guido said with obvious pride in his voice as he handed the packed carrier to his plump wife before getting into the Citron, starting the motor and heading for home.
“Such beautiful babies.” Rosie cooed to the Feathered Friends as they drove out of the airport parking lot.
After a good two hour drive, they arrived at Orkney on the west coast of the mainland of Scotland. Rose Mary lovingly and tenderly carried the carrier into her and Guido’s little stone house, closed and bolted the front door, and opened the carrier. While the Feathered Four buzzed around the main room for a good five minutes, stretching their very stiff wings, Rose Mary set to work preparing feast of noodles and tomato gravy, fresh veggies, fresh fruits and a dish of multi flavored nutriberries Dolly, Asha’s Dad, Cecil’s Mom, BabyGirls Mom and Asa’s Granny had all shipped directly to Guido and Rose Mary in advance, along with a huge tub of Stitches Spicy Popcorn. Well exercised and nearly over fed the Feathered Friends took up residence on various parts of Guido and Rose Mary’s bodies and settled down for a good nights rest.
The next morning Guido took the Feathered Friends to the Skara Brae Settlement and left them there, alone, to search for Beavis, after of course, lavishing skritches and kisses on each one for good luck.
“Well, guess we start here and then work our way through each house till we find Beavis.” BabyGirl began.
“Probably the smartest thing to do so we don’t miss the little guy. Beavis is not a whole lot bigger than Cecil and those green feathers of his will blend nicely with all the moss.” said Asa as she waddled forward toward the door of the first decaying stone house.
The Feathered Friends wandered from dark decaying cold room to dark decaying cold room and found nothing but bugs, moss and a lot of dirt. The second of the ten houses in the settlement was the same as the first, nothing but dirt and bugs.
“I sure hope these homes don’t have secret tunnels or anything.” said BabyGirl with a shiver. “All this dirt is wreaking havoc on my feathers! Bud won’t even recognize me when I get home!”
“Your feathers! Mine aren’t even green anymore! I’m nearly the same color as Asa is!” Asha, the resident Diva, complained lightly.
“And, what is wrong with brown feathers?” asked Asa, knowing her best friend had nothing against brown feathers, if they were naturally that color.
“Diva’s and dirt just don’t mix!” Asha explained as she puffed and fluffed a bit of the dirt loose, exposing three green feathers.
“Wait….” began Cecil in a hushed tone. “I feel something….er, maybe someone?”
Asa, Asha and BabyGirl each stopped dead in their tracks and listened.
“Yeah, someone or something is in here with us.” said Asa.
“Sorry, spectral birds we know from the Rainbow Bridge is one thing, but I don’t do ghosts! Especially old ones from a million years ago!” BabyGirl said in a hoarse whisper.
“Baaaaaaaaaaa.” came a disembodied voice before Asha could put in her two cents worth. “Baaaaaaaaaaaa.” it said again.
“A sheep?!” asked Asa to no bird in particular.
“Aye Missy, I am Meghan. My flock and I live here and you’re trespassing on our land.” the disembodied voice explained.
“Please accept our apologies for trespassing. We didn’t know these homes were still occupied. We’re just here to bring a friend of ours home, Yoda Beavis….” Cecil began before the disembodied voice of the sheep named Meghan interrupted him.
“Aye, I know the one you speak of, baaaaaaaa. He is in the fifth house, the one owned by Ailis and Fiona, the spinster twins, baaaaaaaaa.” said the disembodied voice of Meghan the sheep.
“Ghosts?” asked BabyGirl simply.
“We lived long ago, Green One, we baaaaaaaaaa, are all ghosts. Baaaaaaaaa. Beware the twins, aye, they do not like visitors nor do they baaaaaaaaaa like trespassers. Keep your wits about you and be prepared to answer baaaaaaaa their riddle to reclaim your friend, baaaaaaaaaa.” Meghans disembodied voice ended and the icy chill she’d brought with her disappeared.
“If this was anyone but Beavis I’d be outa here!” said BabyGirl.
“That Quaker is in more of a pickle than my brother Claussen!” Cecil said as he waddled toward the front door of the house and into the fresh sea air.
“I think I’m going to have to Ninja some sense into that guy!” said Asha as she picked up a small rock with her talon and tossed it a couple of inches in front of her.
“Yeah, then after all that knocking sense into him, we need to refill his head with how much he’s hurting his family and friends by disappearing like this again.” Asa said emphatically.
The Feathered Friends waddled for about five minutes as they made their way slowly and cautiously across what passed for the town square of the Neolithic settlement Skara Brae and down a small side street to the fifth house. At the threshold of the nonexistent front door, the Four paused as they felt the icy presence of the twins Ailis and Fiona, but saw nothing.
“May we help you?” came a disembodied voice from somewhere just the other side of the nonexistent doors threshold.
“We’ve come to take Beavis home.” said Cecil bravely.
“Beavis? You want the little one called Beavis?” a different ghostly voice asked with a hideously happy chuckle.
“Yes, we’ve come for Beavis. Now, please let us enter so we can take him home.” Cecil bravely added as he stood up as tall as his tiny 41 gram body would let him.
“Never!” screeched the first voice.
“He’s our supper!” screeched the second voice.
“Ok,” began Asha “You let us have Beavis or I’m going to Ninja me some ghost!” Asha said as she stepped forward one step so she was side by side with the little budgie that saw himself as bigger and stronger than Hercules.
Both ethereal voices laughed with delight at the thought of more for supper that night before one of them added, “Please, come on in.”
Cecil, without a second thought, stepped over the threshold and into the lair of the ghostly spinster twins. The other three followed Cecil without hesitation. Inside the dark dank main room to the fifth house, the home of Ailis and Fiona for many, many centuries, the Feathered Friends stood tall, brave, and very close together. They still could not see their ghostly hosts, but they could feel their icy presence.
“Where is Yoda Beavis!” Cecil demanded in his biggest and most intimidating voice to the invisible twins.
“You really think you have any power over us?!” came the disembodied voice of Ailis.
“Yes we do!” chimed all four of the Feathered Friends at once.
“Aye, these are very stupid little feathered ones, huh Fiona?” Ailis said impishly.
“Aye sister, very stupid.” Fiona wickedly answered.
“Listen, just let us have Beavis and we’ll be gone, ok?” Asa tried to reason to no avail.
“To heck with this, “said Asha as she began to waddle toward the only other visible room from the main room.
“STOP!!!” bellowed the twins simultaneously.
“No, we’re going to find Beavis.” Said Cecil as he and Asa followed Asha toward the other room.
“I’ve got your friend!” said Fiona as she clamped icy invisible fingers around BabyGirls’s body.
“Oh no you don’t!” shouted Cecil as he suddenly became airborne and began buzzing around the room doing is best to dive bomb and bite the invisible twins.
“No one messes with my family!” Asha and Asa, so different in appearance, but so like minded in thought, said at the same time as they also took flight and began dive bombing the icy air.
“I got one!” warbled Cecil as he felt his body go in and then out of an icy cold spot in the room. “One of them is about 5 feet tall over where BabyGirl is frozen!”
“Found the other!” shouted Asha as she went though the second icy cold spot in the room.
“Take that!!!” shouted Asa as she did a loop-dee-loop through both twins phantom forms.
“Stop!! Stop!!! That HURTS!” cried Fiona as she let go of BabyGirl to swat uselessly at Asa, Asha and Cecil.
“Where’s BEAVIS!” cried Cecil as he buzzed through Fiona’s invisible form.
“Ok, ok!! Aye, stop flying through us and we’ll tell you.” Fiona and Ailis cried at the same time.
Reluctantly the threesome landed on the floor, Cecil automatically trying to preen BabyGirls feathers strait for her. She was fine, a bit shaken, but fine.
“Thank you Cecil.” BabyGirl said sweetly and she kissed the top of the little blue budgies white head in gratitude for his heroics.
“We’ll tell you, but you must answer our riddle first!” said Fiona.
“That wasn’t the deal!” said Asha as she readied for flight and buzzing the twins again.
“Aye, you figure the riddle, you’ll find your friend.” Ailis said, all fight and fright gone out of her disembodied voice.
“All right, give us the riddle. I’ve had six years with Granny and her weird puzzles, this shouldn’t be too hard.” Asa said confidently.
“Aye, brave little soul you have.” Fiona said to Asa and then added, “The sad little lost soul you seek be morose where the whiskey flows free from the fruits of the earth. Moss and slime he do amass to life, he soon be no more.”
Cecil whistled softly, “Asa, are you sure you can do it?”
“I just have to think like Granny.” Asa said as she began to immerse herself in thought.
“Fruits of the earth could be a garden?” Asha offered.
“Whiskey is kept in a liquor cabinet.” BabyGirl offered.
“Aye, the little ones will be our supper before long!” Ailis whispered to her sister.
“We need to find a root cellar, a door that leads to the basement of this place.” Asa suddenly said, then explained triumphantly “Way back when they didn’t have electricity they kept food in clay pots and stuff underground to keep them cool and fresh. Beavis must be trapped in underground where they used to store whiskey and canned foods.”
“Like in that shed behind the Byron Depot?” asked Asha.
“Yeah, just like that.” said Asa as Fiona began to reach her invisible hand toward her to kill her for her supper, but, remembering the long since forgotten sensation of the pain the Feathered Friends flying though created, she withdrew.
The Feathered Friends began waddling toward the fireplace where a ghostly rug lay. In books, the trap door was always hidden under a rug. Asha and BabyGirl reached for one of the rugs corners, but grabbed nothing but air.
“Ghost rug?” said Cecil in astonishment.
“Apparently.” answered Asa.
“Look, it’s disappearing!” said BabyGirl.
“And, there is the door!” said Asha happily.
“Let me at it!” said Asa as she stepped forward and began shredding and splintering the rotted wood creating a hole more than large enough for a small dog to crawl through with room to spare.
Fiona and Ailis, realizing they’d been beaten, and fearing the Feathered Friends, disappeared taking the icy chill of the room with them. The Feathered Friends flew through the opening and, with just the light from the dimly lit main room above them pouring in, they alighted on the back of an old chair and listened to the stale air as their eyes adjusted to the darkness.
“I hear him breathing.” whispered Cecil.
“Yeah, over in that corner.” Asha said as she pointed a talon to an area just in front of her.
“Beavis?” asked Asa, hoping dearly it was him and not another ghost looking for dinner.
“How did you find me?” Beavis asked in a weak voice.
“Your friends and the Bird Underground.” Cecil explained.
“I don’t ever want to go home again!” Beavis whispered plaintively.
“Why not?” asked Asha as the four made their way over to the weak little green feathered body perched on an empty whiskey bottle that was nearly fossilized into the stone floor.
“No one likes me. I have no friends. No one will vote for me to be Bird of the Week and I just don’t want to be where I’m not wanted.” Beavis whispered sadly.
“You know Beavis, for such a wise old bird, you’re really dumb!” said Cecil.
“I just don’t get it!” Asa said as she tossed her wings up in the air. “What on earth is such a big deal about Bird of the Week?! I have been a member of Bird Channel for 1 year, 3 months and 21 days according to BC’s records. I am the 357 member of BC and only had 336 of the 4172 friends who’ve visited my page vote for me. But, I have more friends than my Granny could imagine with her over active imagination! Beavis, you’re the 7178 member of BC and in the 1 month and 21 days you’ve been on BC you’ve had 4027 friends visit and place 717 votes! In a MONTH!!!” Asa exclaimed, completely exasperated at the whole Bird of the Week competition.
“Yeah, and when a zillion years pass and BC is no more you’ll have something so much better than all those who think Bird of the Week is a good thing. You’ll be in my memoirs! My Dad and Asa’s Granny are writing the story of our adventures together and you’re part of those stories.” said Asha, equally as exasperated with Beavis’ running away.
“Long after BC is gone, books will remain. Just look at the bible.” Cecil added. “And Shakespeare! Asha’s memoirs and our adventures will become legend and with you in the stories, so will you!”
“Yeah, and you’re old enough to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records! None of the other birds on BC are old enough for that honor! When you get in that book you get on TV specials, you’ll be famous! You’ll get your talon prints in the Gorman’s Chinese Theater! You’ll get your own memoirs written and published. Good grief, you’ll be so famous you’ll forget BC even exists!” BabyGirl added in her normally enthusiastic tone.
“And, then there is your Mom and flock.” Cecil added somberly. “You have no idea how much they love and miss you. It was them AND your BC friends flockilies that paid for our plane fair to Scotland to come and bring you home. You have no idea how loved and special you are.” Cecil ended very sincerely.
“They really love me that much?” Beavis added in disbelief.
“Yes, you stupid wise bird!” Asha said lovingly.
“What about Fiona and Ailis, they won’t let us leave.” Beavis said, still weakly, but with a smidge more strength that he had before due to the pep talk from his friends.
“Cecil took care of them.” Asa smiled as Cecil fluffed a bit with pride at Asa’s compliment.
With a deep sigh, Beavis slid off the nearly fossilized whiskey bottle and slowly followed the Feathered Friends out of the root cellar and out of the haunted Neolithic settlement into a field of lush green grass to check Beavis over and make sure he’d make it to Uncle Guido and Aunt Rose Mary’s home.
Beavis, although, quite weak due to lack of food, water and sun light, never mind the icy chill he’d been living in for who knows how long, he made it to Uncle Guido’s where Aunt Rose Mary had a feast fit for the entire BC flock AND their flockilies laid out on the table for them. Beavis didn’t hesitate, he dove right in and ate all his little green Quaker body could hold, then he added in a bit more for good measure. Full to the eyeballs, he curled up on the nape of his new Aunt Rose Mary neck and fell into the sweetest sleep he’d had in a long time.
The next morning, after another filling feast for breakfast Guido made a startling announcement, “Little ones, I have a big surprise for you!”
“Tickle Tickle?” said Asha unnecessarily. Guido, being a member of the Underground, knew the birds could talk, but he obliged Asha with a ‘tickle tickle’ on the back of her neck, to which she responded by nearly melting into a puddle of happy feathers.
“Sean Connery,“ Guido continued as he continued to give Asha skritches with one hand and Asa with the other. “is here, in Orkney leading a tour through the ruins you just rescued Beavis from. Eee is one of the main members of Friends of Scotland who helps to raise money and awareness in the interest, history and traditions of Scottish culture. Eees wife, Micheline is also here. She ees a friend of my Rosie’s,” Guido explained to the Feathered Friends and Beavis as his wife skritched Beavis and Cecil into their own little puddle of happy feathers. BabyGirl opted out of the love fest to try and remove the rest of the dirt from her lush emerald green feathers. Guido continued, “and she and Sean agreed to take you on their private jet back to the states and to your families.”
“No being squished by large green bodies?” queried Cecil.
“Hey! Who you calling large!?!” Asha and BabyGirl demanded at the same time.
“No one.” Cecil quickly added innocently.
“I hope not.” said Asha deviously.
“No, no tiny little travel condo, eee-sept to get you through customs and onto the plane.” Rose Mary chimed in.
The very next day Sean Connery and his wife Micheline picked up the Feathered Four and Beavis all crammed into the tiny travel condo from their Uncle Guido and Aunt Rose Mary and took them to their private jet at the Islay Airport and then home.
During the trip Connery seemed a little uncomfortable in the company of five parrots until Asha piped up: ”You know, my Dad says that all the other Bonds were a bunch of crap!” Things went very smoothly after that. The jet dropped the birds off at Dulles Airport in Washington D.C., just a short flight from Beavis’ home in Virginia Beach.
“That Sean Connery is sure a nice guy,” said BabyGirl.
“Yeah, Dad is going to love the autographed Walther he said he would FedEx us,” said Asha.
“Why the long face Beavis?” asked Asa.
“I feel really stupid,” the elderly Quaker said with a sigh. “You would have thought I had learned my lesson when you all went all the way to Las Vegas to rescue me the last time. But no! I let it all get to me again and this time I ran all the way to Europe. Mom will never let me come home this time.”
“We’ll just wait and see about that,” said Asha.
The five parrots flew silently to Virginia Beach and perched on a tree branch of the tree in Beavis’ front yard as Beavis waddled up to the front door and rang the bell.
The door was quickly thrown open by a woman who had obviously been crying. “Beavis! You’re back!” she shouted as she scooped up the small bird and began to do what Asa called a ‘happy dance’. “Inca and the rest of the flock have missed you so badly.”
“But what about you, mom, have you missed me?” Beavis said in a low voice. “I’ve been very stupid and caused you a lot of trouble. If you want me to stay gone I guess I could find somewhere else to stay.”
“Don’t be even more stupid!” she said. “You know I love you. You know how many times your loving face has carried me through hard times. Why just last year when Joe the Sparrow died, it was your cheerful voice that carried me through. Just promise me you’ll stay for good this time. Besides, I don’t know how many years The Great Spirit will allow you to remain here with me. I want to spend every minute I can with you.”
“I promise I won’t leave again,” Beavis said. “I really do.”
Beavis’ mom looked out into the yard and said: “I know you are out there somewhere you crazy birds! Come on down here and show your faces!”
The Feathered Four fluttered down and gathered in a semi-circle around Beavis and his Mom.
“These four have been to the ends of the Earth just for you,” she said. “With friends like this you are Bird of the Century!”
“Hey, how many points do you get for that?” asked BabyGirl innocently.
“Way to kill the mood bird brain,” Asha said as she slapped BabyGirl on the side of her head with her wing.
“Come on in you all,” said Beavis’ mom with a laugh. “I think I can whip up a batch of Spicy Pop Corn in no time!”
“For that, I’ll definitely stay home!” said Beavis as they all laughed and gathered in a group hug.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sewing Withdrawl!!!

Well, as most of my faithful readers know, March 11, 2008 I had a radical double mastectomy. You name it, they removed it except the lymph nodes under my arms. I got the pathology report back on March 14 and if I was allowed to do a happy dance, I would. Not one single cancer cell!!! There was calcification and fibrocystic changes, which for me considering a previous surgery in 1991 removed 11 lumps and all but tissue and lymph nodes, finding such things wasn't a good sign. Basically what it came down to was that I'm pre-cancer bordering on cancer, but haven't produced tumors yet. My calcification and fibrocystic change was cells that hadn't decided what they wanted to be when they grew up yet. My surgery was well timed, a huge relief and a major blessing.

Currently I've got no bandages on, but am still stapled literally from arm pit to arm pit. My staples come out on March 26. Until then I'm to be resting and not doing too much moving around. For someone stuck in the house as much as I am, you'd assume I was a certifiable perch potato who watched the soaps and talk shows. Personally I hate both, leave on PBS during the day for my tiels (AsaMina watches Super Why, Word World, and Between the Lions with her little eyeballs glued to the screen as they are her favorites), and watch the news from 5 to 6 in the evening. Beyond that I have to find something to do to keep busy. Needless to say, these past two weeks have tried my imagination quite a bit.

Right after surgery my Flocktalk friends had a virtual bird party, which kept me quite occupied for two days. Then I became involved in a 'Where's Waldo' version of a game on Bird with a couple of more friends. In between that I went fabric shopping on the computer and was also blessed with three fat quarters from Denise and a couple of yards of fabric from another friend. Today I went pattern shopping on the internet (I'm still trapped in the house for another week or two!).

Tomorrow I begin a little sewing for myself, as I'm no where healed enough to make stuff I'd sell. I want to be 100% for that. Besides, two of the fat quarters Denise sent me found a project to belong to. This first one will be
a dress with the little top part out of the light green fat quarter and the sleeves and skirt part out of a deep forrest green cotton. I just couldn't see making something out of the fat quarters that I was to give away or sell. There is so many healing hugs and healing vibes loaded and woven into each little piece Denise gave me, I had to be selfish and keep it for myself. Plus, due to the surgery and Worthington telling me I have terrible fashion sense, I've cleaned out three quarters of the clothes in my closet and, of course, must replace them....or some of them! This is the second fat quarter from Denise.The black and gold fat quarter will be the little top part of this shirt with the solid black cotton as the bottom of the top, sleeves and insert in the front. The third fat quarter is currently meditating and trying to find it's destiny. Thank you again Denise!
My original purpose for fabric hunting, aside from boredom, was to complete what I'd begun for my wheelchair. Originally I'd planned to make a couple of covers for the seat and back so they could be removed and changed due to mood or laundry. These two fabrics are future wheelchair covers.

And, lastly is a fabric that I like....I don't like.....I like.....I don't like.....I get the point. I thought it'd be more red and less orange, but it's more orange than red and doesn't go with my red wheelchair frame. BUT, all is not lost as hubby likes the fabric and it does go nicely with the electric wheelchair with the cockatiel grey frame (the orange in the fabric is 'ear patch' orange, the color of a cockatiels ear patches), so it'll be the cover for that wheelchair.
Hubby did say this looked like brothel fabric. I didn't bother to ask how he knew that and just went with it. But, tomorrow I'll begin the process with the pink and red paisley fabric and work on my first of two wheelchair covers. I promise to work slowly and carefully and not stress myself. But, if I don't get creating soon........

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Asha Chronicles--Part 13

Below, my ravenous reader, lies Part 13 of the Asha Chronicles. This story is based on a picture I've had for 14 years that just needed it's 15 minutes of fame and obligatory 1000 words. Now, I'm pretty sure there is way more than 1000 words below and I also know I'll leave this episode up for about 4 days before uploading the next adventure, so my above discription may be a tad inaccurate. What's not inaccurate, however is that you'll need at least one box of tissue at your side, ready and waiting, when you read this story. If you've ever been owned by a critter, dog, cat, bird, lizard, etc, well, just read on.......
At the end of this little story is a very special the story and the picture will take on a whole new meaning.......

The Asha Chronicles Part 13
Ease Their Pain
Timothy Graham and Julie Stilwell
March 4, 2008

Asa again woke from a fitful sleep.
It was that dream again, the same one that had been haunting her for the last two weeks. The image of the two cockatiels with their backs to her and their wings spreading over each other’s shoulders in a loving embrace had become seared in her mind.
But why was the same dream coming to her every night? And why these two birds? She did not recognize either one of them but still they kept coming back to her night after night. She thought about trying to awaken her Granny but then she heard a noise to her right and she turned. There she saw the vision of another cockatiel with its wings outstretched to her in supplication.
“Help them! Help them please!” the spectral bird whispered.
That was quite enough for Asa as she immediately fell off her perch and landed at the bottom of her cage with a resounding ‘thud!’ That was enough to awaken every other bird in the house and the resulting chaos ended any chances for bird or human to get more sleep that night.
The next day Asa emailed her friend and fellow member of the Feathered Friends Asha in Georgia. Asa tried to explain what had been happening but, not truly believing it had really happened, had a hard time getting the point across to her friend.
“You must have come across some bad pellets,” Asha said in an effort to calm her friend. “We’ve all had some of these visions in the past when we were on a mission. We’ve seen Rosalie and others who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Maybe it is something like that.”
“Yes, but we knew who they were and we know why they were contacting us,” said Asa. “I don’t recognize any of these birds and have no idea why they would be trying to contact me.”
Later that day Asa was engaged in her favorite activity-chewing one of her toys into sawdust-when she heard a rustling behind her. She turned and there was the astral vision from the previous night.
“Help them! You have to help them! You are their only hope!” the vision said plaintively and disappeared as quickly as it had come.
Asa shook her head and tried to gather her thoughts.
“This is totally crazy,” she said to herself. “Maybe Granny can help.”
Asa waddled into her Granny’s work room and climbed up on her shoulder. Her granny was busy sewing a shopping sack for her online business but she was never too busy to pay attention to Asa.
“Beep!” said Asa. “Beep, beep!”
“I sure wish I knew what you were trying to say,” said Granny. “Do you want to help me sew?”
Asa jumped down to the floor in disgust. “Humans!’ she said to herself. “They can’t understand anything!”
As she waddled from the room she turned and saw the vision again, this time hanging in the air behind her Granny.
“Help them!” the astral cockatiel said. “Help Cherry and Ralph!”
Playing a hunch, Asa waddled back to her Granny and climbed back onto her shoulder.
“Beep!” she said. “Beep! Cherry! Ralph!”
“What did you say?” her Granny said as she dropped her half-finished grocery bag. “What did you say?”
Asa kept quiet because she knew that her Granny’s chain of thought would eventually travel to where she wanted it to.
“I could have sworn you said Cherry and Ralph,” she said quietly. “I’m sure I imagined it, but still, let me tell you about those two. Ralph was still around when you were hatched in 2001 but you never knew the whole story. Cherry and Ralph were two of the most beautiful ‘tiels you have ever seen. Cherry Lace came to me back in 1993. It was obvious that she was lonely and needed a friend so we found Sir Ralph D’Artagnan about six months later. They immediately bonded and were the most loving couple you have ever seen.
“I remember how they would sit on their perch with their wings around each other’s shoulders just like a pair of human lovers,” Granny said. “Wait a second! I think I still have a copy of that picture I took one time.”
Asa’s granny went to a nearby sideboard and began rummaging in several boxes before finally shouting “Here it is! I found it” She brought it over and showed it to Asa who came close to having a fatal heart attack. It was the dream she had been having. The two birds with their wings wrapped around each other’s shoulders. The same dream that had been haunting her for weeks.
Granny showed Asa another photograph. “And this is their only fledgling. His name was Diamond Sunshine.”
This one did not catch Asa as nearly by surprise. She was pretty much ready for anything by now. Of course, it was the bird from her astral visions.
“Diamond Sunshine was hatched in 1996 and his mother died soon after due to a genetic defect in her pancreas,” Granny said wistfully. “The same defect took Diamond Sunshine in 2000. As you know, Ralph lasted until 2005 and he finally passed due to old age and a broken heart. He never got over losing his Cherry Lace and their son. If humans would only love each other as much as those two birds did…..” Granny stopped and gazed at the two photographs.
“So many memories and so many missing friends,” she said as she dabbed a tear from her cheek with a handkerchief. “The only thing that helps me is knowing that they are happy together on the Rainbow Bridge.”
Granny left the room leaving Asa alone with the photos. She was totally unsurprised when the vision of Diamond Sunshine appeared as soon as granny was gone.
“I guess you know the story now,” Diamond said to Asa.
“Yes, but why are you here? I thought you all would be happy together over the Bridge. Why are you here keeping me awake at night?” Asa asked.
“That is the problem!” Diamond said. “We are not all happy together. Mom and I have been there waiting for Dad to show up but he never has. We’ve waited there for three years for him and there has been no sign. We need for you to find out what happened and bring him to his rightful place on the Rainbow Bridge.”
“You want me to find out what happened to the spirit of your father and return it to the Rainbow Bridge” Asa asked in shock.
“Exactly,” said Diamond Sunshine. “I don’t know how long mother can go without him. She is the only bird up there who is plucking their feathers. Everyone tries to raise her spirits, but nothing helps. She has to have Ralph.
“Will you please help us?” Diamond asked tearfully.
“Sure I will,” said Asa. “I’ll just call up a little help and we’ll get right on it. I can’t guarantee anything though, we’ve never tried anything like this before.”
Thank you Asa,” Diamond said as his spectral vision began to fade. “Thank you for both of us.”
Asa immediately got onto the internet and left word for the other three members of the Feathered Friends. They emailed back that they were on their way and by the following afternoon all four were perched on a tree limb outside Asa’s house. It took a while, but Asa was finally able to tell her story. And it took even longer for the others to believe what they were hearing.
As usual, Asha was the resident skeptic.
“OK, I have to apologize here, but my Dad raised me to take everything with a grain of salt,” the Amazon said. “I don’t really think I believed this Rainbow Bridge business until I actually went there, but my understanding was that the spirits of all companion animals went there to await the arrival of their humans.”
“That’s right,” said BabyGirl. “When they get there they are cured of any disease or health problems they might have had here on Earth. It is a wonderful place of fresh air, good food, and lots of fun!”
BabyGirl was nothing if not an enthusiastic young Amazon.
“So why wouldn’t Ralph have gone to the Bridge?” asked Cecil. “Do they have a different place for bad birdies to go to? Maybe Ralph was a bad birdie?”
“I don’t know the answers to any of those questions except the one about Ralph. I knew him for four years and he was a good bird,” Asa said. “Our problem here is that we don’t have enough information.”
“Well, that means we need to get some information and there is only one place we can find it,” said Asha. “We’ve got to go to the Rainbow Bridge.”
“How do we do that?” Cecil asked. “Kill ourselves?”
“No,” Asha said with a smile. “We need a guide. And I know just the bird for the job.”
Asha waddled to the computer and sent out an email to an African Grey friend of hers named Buddy. He soon emailed back and said he was on his way.
“Buddy is quite the traveler,” Asha told the other three as they munched on fruit and veggies provided by Asa’s granny. Granny seemed not the least disturbed or surprised by the sudden appearance of the extra birds. She and Asa seemed to have a psychic connection at some levels.
“Buddy has actually been to the Rainbow Bridge as a visitor,” said Asha. “He was given a tour of the place by Rosalie. I was hoping that he would be able to get us up there and show us around and maybe introduce us to someone who could answer our questions.”
After a restful sleep Buddy showed up the next morning and agreed to help out the Feathered Friends.
“Rosalie said that I was welcome to come back any time,” Buddy said. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me bringing you all along since you and she are friends.”
Buddy waddled off a few feet away from the others and appeared to concentrate on something far away. A few seconds later all five could see a vision of their old friend Rosalie.
“Buddy, good to see you again,” Rosalie said in her rich, melodious voice. “I see you are with my friends the Feathered Friends. What can I do for you?”
“We would like to visit the Rainbow Bridge,” said Buddy. “They wanted to ask some questions about the place and I agreed to show them around.”
“You are all more than welcome,” said Rosalie. “We are all in your debt. Anything we can do, you only need ask.”
Suddenly the five felt a breath of wind and then a flash of light and they were standing on a wide expanse of grass. As far as they could see birds and other animals were flying, walking, running, and crawling to their heart’s content. There were many small ponds of cool, fresh water scattered everywhere along with piles of food of all description. In the distance they could see a bridge which literally shown with all the colors of the rainbow.
The five found that their hearts were in their throats and an indescribable joy was in their hearts. Asha was the first to break the silence.
“How did you ever find the strength to go home after being up here,” she asked with a noticeable catch in her throat.
“It was hard,” Buddy said. “It was very hard. “It was only the love of my Mom and my flockmates that allowed me to go home. We need to start walking towards the bridge. If I understand what you have told me, it is there that you will find the answers you seek.”
The walk was a long one but none of the five grew tired or bored of the journey. Sometimes they flew for a stretch, but seemingly by an unspoken agreement they mostly walked in an effort to extend the time they would spend in this place.
About halfway to the bridge they heard a loud barking and saw a beautiful young Collie approach.
“Are you Asha?” the dog asked.
“Yes, I am,” she replied. “Who are you?”
“You do not know me but I have a message for you to deliver if you could,” the dog said. “My name is Lucy and would you please tell your Dad that I miss him and I will be here to see him when he has to make the journey.”
The dog then turned and ran away across the grass.
Shortly afterwards they saw a large African Grey parrot fly up to meet them. He seemed familiar, but none of them recognized him.
“I can understand that you do not recognize me,” the Grey said with a laugh. “The last time you saw me I wasn’t in good shape. I’m Sammy.”
The Four then immediately recognized the bird that had been killed by its evil owner a few months back. The Feathered Friends had tried to rehabilitate Sammy’s owner but were finally forced to take the ultimate revenge against him for his crimes.
“I just wanted to thank you for what you did,” Sammy said. “Too many of the animals up here arrived the same way I did, suffering at the hands of an evil human. I am one of the few who can say that my passing was avenged and for that I will be eternally grateful to you. Now I can fly free!”
Along the remainder of their walk each bird would share similar experiences as dogs, cats, or birds would come up and ask them to remember them to their current companions. By the time they reached the bridge all five were choked with emotion and perched on a large rock to get their bearings.
After a few minutes Rosalie flew up and asked what questions they had. Asa explained their mission and said they needed to speak to someone who could explain what had happened to the spirit of Ralph.
“That is a difficult question that I would have no answer for,” said Rosalie with a shake of her majestic head. “It sounds like you need to speak to the High Spirit.”
“How do we find him?” asked Asa.
“Oh, you do not find the High Spirit,” laughed Rosalie. “Just walk over the Bridge and if he wishes to speak to you, He will find you.”
The five walked over the bridge and down the other side. They walked down a tree-lined path into a small grotto centered around a small pond. Perched on the lower branch of a majestic Maple tree they saw a large owl.
“We meet again I see,” the owl said. “You four are very persistent creatures. What do you require of me now?”
“Why, you are Oppenheimer!” said Cecil. “This is wonderful. We haven’t seen you since we helped out Sammy. Are you here to help us find the High Spirit?”
“Cecil,” Asa said in a hushed tone. “I have the felling we just found the High Spirit.”
“Indeed you have,” the owl said.
“That’s cool,” said BabyGirl. “The High Spirit is a bird just like us!”
“It isn’t that simple,” said Oppenheimer. “If you were dogs you would see a Saint Bernard. If you were cats you would see a wise Siamese. Each species has their own conception of the High Spirit. I understand you have questions. Feel free to ask.”
Oppenheimer spread his massive wings and glided down to perch on the rock wall of the pond as Asa explained the problem. When she finished Oppenheimer looked at her for a couple of minutes before speaking.
“I have no idea why Ralph is not here,” he finally said. “He should be here, of that I have no doubt. But I have not the power to snap my talons and produce his spirit; that is reserved for those even more powerful than I. All I can say is that there is a place for the spirits of the good and a place for those who are bad. And there is a place in between. Sometimes spirits go there while a decision is being made on their worthiness. Sometimes they go there by error. My guess is that Ralph is there, waiting.”
“How do we get him here?” asked Asa.
“You will have to go and find him and bring him back with you,” said Oppenheimer. “But let me warn you, it will be no journey for the faint of heart. And only one of you can go. I have the power to send you there, but I cannot help you once you leave here. Choose wisely.”
The owl glided back to the tree limb and turned his head as if in sleep. But they could feel his powerful eyes on them every second.
“Well this is a toughy,” said Asha. “I suppose this is a job for Ninja Bird! Ain’t nothing stood up to these talons yet!”
“Thank you dear friend,” said Asa. “But this is flock business. It’s my duty.” She turned her head up towards the owl. “Send me on Oppenheimer.”
“As you wish,” he said and Asa suddenly disappeared.
When he vision cleared she found herself in the middle of a barren and parched landscape. The ground was the shade of bricks and the sky the shade of blood. Asa felt a fear in her she had never felt before. But she also felt something else, a feeling that tugged her towards the north. Asa alternately flew and walked north for what seemed like weeks and months. She drank from brackish pools that she would have turned her beak up to on Earth but which she welcomed deliriously here. She ate bugs that were small enough to choke down her throat while others she avoided altogether in fear they would eat her. She finally arrived at a huge castle guarded by an enormous moat filled with beasts out of a fever dream. She looked up at the drawbridge and rested for a while.
Suddenly a voice spoke out.
“Who seeks the spirits of those abandoned?” the voice trumpeted.
“I do,” said Asa. “I seek the spirit of Sir Ralph D’Artagnan.”
“Enter,” the voice spoke as the drawbridge fell. Asa walked across and into a massive courtyard. When she reached the center of the courtyard she noticed that the walls were ringed by huge beasts with huge teeth and huger claws. She swallowed hard but still stood as tall as she could.
“Is this some jest?” boomed the voice from a window in the courtyard wall. “A tiny bird has come to challenge my control over the spirits of the abandoned?”
“This spirit is not abandoned,” Asa shouted. “I have come for it and am ready to die in the attempt.”
Asa looked up and saw what appeared to be a bear more than ten feet tall with blue fur. He was clad in some kind of weird leather clothing and he was staring directly at Asa.
“You realize I could have you killed in less time than it takes to draw a breath?” the bear asked.
“Yes, I do,” said Asa.
“And you still contest my hold over the spirit of this Ralph?” he said.
“Yes, I do,” Asa repeated.
“Bah!” the bear shouted. “This Ralph is as much trouble as you are. There is something about you birds, can’t stand you. Here, take him and never darken my door again.”
Asa saw Ralph flutter out of the window and alight beside her.
“Hello young Asa,” Ralph said with a smile. “It has indeed been a while.”
Suddenly the landscape changed and the two were back in the grotto beyond the Rainbow Bridge.
“Congratulations,” boomed the voice of Oppenheimer. “A lost spirit has been found and returned to those who loved him.”
Asa and Ralph looked up and walking towards them were Cherry Lace and Diamond Sunshine. The welcomes were long and tear-filled but a few minutes later the five friends found themselves together under one of the large Maples.
“Quick work Asa,” said Asha. “You couldn’t have been gone more than a minute.”
“A minute?” said Asa. “It took a month if it took a second. I hope I never have to do anything like that again.”
Oh Asa!” boomed the voice of Oppenheimer. “Before you go there are some others you need to see.”
Asa turned and saw walking towards her Precious, her little sister, and her parents Rowena Rose and R.B. Bird. Asa broke down in tears as she tried to wrap all three in her wings.
“And I call myself a Ninja Bird,” Asha said as she shook her head.

(Cherry Lace and Ralph in their lovers embrace)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Asha Chronicles Part 12

Ah, Cary Grant in Arsnic and Old Lace, one of my all time favorites! Ok, this is the 12th Episode of the Asha Chronicles, not Arsnic and Old Lace.......or is it?

The Asha Chronicles Part 12
Stormy Dark Knight
by Julie Stilwell and Tim Graham
February 28, 2008

“Glad you got my message, “said Cecil to Asha, Asa and BabyGirl as the Feathered Four assembled in a sun puddle on the roof of Cecils apartment building.
“We all saw the news report, too. Another what the humans call a Yuppie murdered. BabyGirl and I went over what we each remembered from the news on our way up here.” began Asa. She lived in Arkansas and BabyGirl lived in Missouri, just north of her. The two members of the Feathered Four had flown side by side to Cecils home in northwestern New York.
“Dad’s had on the sports and ESPN, not the news, so I don’t know too much, just that 12 Yuppie’s have been murdered. What do you know that we don’t Cecil?” asked Asha.
“Mostly I just have ideas.” Cecil began as he shifted his weight in the little puddle of sunshine he was perched upon. “My Mom and Dad have had the news on a lot lately even thought the murders are taking place in Augusta, Maine and not here. I’ve been listening closely to what the news has to say and I think there are some clues the police aren’t looking into that we should look into so no more humans die.”
“Like what clues?” asked Asa before she answered her own question. “Like the one of the blue synthetic hairs left at the last scene and the question why human goo called Ben Gay was used to grease the window tracts so the window wouldn’t squeak……oh, and why the Yuppies.”
“The Yuppies I think is pretty easy to answer.” said Asha. “They’re humans whose behavior irritates other humans due to things called pastels and being rich or some other such human nonsense.”
“I think it’s more than that. I think the killer is picking Yuppies for a more personal reason.” BabyGirl thought out loud.
“Yeah, that’s one of the things BabyGirl and I talked about on our way up here. There has got to be a personal reason for the Yuppies being singled out, like they’ve been wronged by a Yuppie in their life, can’t get rid of it and kill the others to feel better.” said Asa.
“You’ve been reading too many of your Granny’s stories.” Asha scolded Asa lightly , “Stuff like that only happens in humans imaginations.”
“Not necessarily.” Began Cecil, “From all I’ve heard on the news, that’s what the police and FBI and other such Human organization are saying, too. It’s the clues that are baffling them. They’re looking into some human they think wanted to be a Yuppie, but couldn’t do it, so he’s mad and killing other Yuppies. But, I don’t think they’re on the right track….”
“Because of the synthetic blue hair and ben gay, right?” asked Asha.
“Yeah, because of the synthetic blue hair and the ben gay. Also found was makeup powder and at one crime scene a message was left in turquoise eye shadow.” Cecil said knowledgably.
“It sounds more like that teacher my Granny had when she was in the 3rd grade she’s told me about before, Mrs. Hanf. She was an old lady with way too much powder on her face, blue hair and turquoise eye shadow. Mrs. Hanf also had bright red lipstick, too. Was lipstick found anywhere in any of the 12 crime scenes?” Asa offered and asked.
“Hmmm….” Cecil pondered, “No lipstick found that I can recall.”
“Well, if Mrs Hanf is the killer, where do we find her?” Asked BabyGirl logically.
“I think she died forever ago since Granny is so old now herself and it happened when she was a little girl.” Asa enlightened.
“So, you think we’re looking for an old lady?” Asked Asha thoughtfully.
“Yeah.” said Cecil simply.
“So, were do we find a crazy old lady?” asked Asha again.
“Well, Edgar Allan was once owned by a hair dresser lady. Lots of old ladies go to hair dressers to make their hair nice and blue.” Asa offered as a starting point.
“Well, there are those senior centers, too.” offered BabyGirl.
“We need a place that has yuppies AND old ladies.” said Cecil. “We should go to the crime scenes and see if we can see anything the police missed.”
“Good idea, since if I sit in this nice warm sun puddle much longer I’m going to need a nap!” said Asha with a huge yawn and an even larger stretch.
The Feathered Four took flight and headed East to Augusta, Maine. When they finally arrived a few hours later they alighted in a pine tree in the back yard of the scene of the first murder near a bird feeder.
“Well, I do hate old stale wild bird seed, but my tummy is saying otherwise. Join me ladies?” Asked Cecil and he filled his tummy with the feeders offerings.
“Totally disgusting, Cecil!!” said Asha and she dove into the feeders offerings, too.
“I think this is budgie seed, not wild seed.” said Asa, also with a beak full.
“You guys are pathetic!” said BabyGirl with a roll of her eyes as she picked at a pine cone hanging near her face.
After the quick snack Asa went up to the house and easily popped the storm window latch and then the latch holding the window closed, “Come on, lets go in and look around.”
The Feathered Four entered the dimly lit house and began to waddle around on the floor, each figuring that it would be a clue on the floor that the tall humans would miss due to being so high up. They searched under the beds, dressers and in the nooks and crannies of each closet and found nothing but dust bunnies.
“I HATE dust bunnies in my feathers!” muttered Asha and BabyGirl at the same time.
“Hey, Asa, under here!” called Cecil from under the china cabinet in the dining room.
“What did you find Cecil?” asked Asa as she flattened herself a little to fit under the china cabinet.
“A piece of paper and it seems to be stuck, too. I need help so I don’t rip it and ruin the clue.” he explained.
“It’s hooked on a staple.” explained Asa as she reached for the staple used to hold the bottom of the china cabinet together and pulled.
“Wait! If that staple is holding this cabinet together, won’t we be buried alive down here if you pull that out?” asked Cecil.
“No, humans have to use a lot of staples and nails to get their things to stay together. My Grandpa has built a jungle gym for us, and when my Daddy pulled one nail pulled out and the jungle gym it didn’t fall apart and is still fine. Pull out more than one and then you’re in trouble.” Asa explained as she pulled just one corner of the staple loose, just in case she was wrong, and dislodged the corner of the paper Cecil had found.
“So, what’s the paper say, Asa?” asked BabyGirl as she preened the last of the dust bunnies out of her lush emerald green feathers.
“Just a sec, let me flatten out the paper.” Asa responded as she tried, with a bit of help from Cecil and Asha. “Ok, this is what it says: “Asa began as she translated the human writing for her fellow crime fighters. “Thank you for baby sitting my Stormy Knight. Please accept these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies as a token of my gratefulness for all you did for my baby girl. And, then it’s signed Edith Jean.” Asa ended.
“Well, I’ve heard some funny human names before, but ‘Stormy Knight’? That’s a really weird one!” said BabyGirl.
Asha caught Asa examining a corner of the note so closely that it was only a quarter inch from the tip of her beak, “Do you see something else?” asked Asha.
“Yeah, a munch mark from a bird.” Asa said softly as if speaking louder would make the evidence disappear.
“Munch mark?” asked Cecil and he joined Asa a quarter inch from the note paper clue.
“Yeah, that’s how my Granny has us sign our names on birthday cards and letters she writes. It looks to me like Stormy Knight is a bird, not a person.”
“So, we’ve got an old lady killing yuppies by luring them into her trap with a bird?!” Asha asked totally astonished.
“We need to contact the Underground for a Stormy Knight.” Said BabyGirl.
“Why don’t we just check the humans address book for someone named Edith Jean?” asked Asha, thinking logically. “My Dad always keeps important humans to contact in his address book….or on his computer.”
“Party-Pooper!” said BabyGirl, who often got word out to the hundreds of other birds she knew via the Underground to let them know of her latest ‘social gathering’.
Asa and Asha headed for the little secretary style desk located across the room from the china cabinet and Cecil and BabyGirl headed for the little office they’d searched earlier for clues for the computer they’d seen sitting there.
After just a few minutes of searching the four met back in the middle of the dining room, Asa and Asha both carrying a medium sized purple, green and pink striped address book in their beaks and Cecil and BabyGirl each with a corner of a one page print out in their beaks.
“Whatcha find?” Asked Cecil to Asha and Asa as he dropped his corner of the printout onto the floor.
“We found Edith Jean.” Asha began.
“She lives at 1298 Truly Circle.” Asa finished for Asha.
“We found a map in the computer next to her name in the computers address book.” Said Cecil.
“I really think we ought to call in Knuckles and have her meet us at this address. Knuckles is just a bit of extra muscle against anything we may find. Plus, she takes that Sam Spade thing very seriously.” suggested BabyGirl.
“Good idea! And, then there is Buddy, an African Grey that lives in Wall, New Jersey. He’s a master of disguise, too and he’s been all over the world!” said Asa “Oh, and it’s ‘Samantha Spade’.” she quickly added.
“Yeah, put a call in, Asa and Cecil, to Knuckles and Buddy ask them to meet us at 1298 Truly Circle.” said Asha.
“Yeah, ‘Samantha Spade’.” Cecil chuckled.
With calls made the Feathered Four headed out to Edith Jeans house just a few miles down the road and began surveillance. From one of the lower branches on the maple tree in 1298 Truly Circle’s backyard the Feathered Four huddled closely together, hoping that Cecils light blue feathers wouldn’t be seen. Asha and BabyGirls’s lush emerald green feathers blended in nicely with the leaves of the maple tree and Asa’s cinnamon brown feathers blended in with nearly everything. Through the open kitchen window the Feather Four heard and saw a human soap opera of sorts unfold before them:
“But Biff, Reginald and I didn’t have an affair!” Tiffany whined to her husband.
“Then what were the two of you doing in bed together?” Biff queried. Biff was a 30 something man with his chiseled frame currently ensconced in a pastel pink Izod shirt with a white cable knit sweater draped over his shoulder with the sleeves tied loosely around his neck and a pair of white Docker slacks encasing his muscular legs.
“Reginald was in the bed and I was standing beside it. Reginald is one of the owners of Lord Pimlym Furniture and he came over to test the bed frame. I told him of the creaking we were hearing last night. He’d climbed onto the bed to see if he could make it creak, that’s all.” Tiffany whined at her husband as she grabbed her tennis racket and gym bag and headed for the front door. As she reached for the door knob, she turned to her husband Biff and added in an icy cold tone of voice, “Think what you wish, nothing happened. Don’t forget to feed Mother and that bird of hers. We don’t need the authorities knocking on our door again.”
“I’m not feeding Mother any of our good food! The old bitty doesn’t deserve it!” Biff ranted to his wife.
“There’s some old bread and gelatinous peanut butter in the pantry, give Mother that and be sure to give her a cup of water and the bird some seed, too.” his wife screeched back icily and she closed the door behind her and headed off for her tennis lesson at the Country Club.
“Can’t believe we’re saddled with this old bitty! Why can’t we just lock her away in some home somewhere?! Or why can’t Tiffany’s sister take her!” Biff continued to rant under his breath as he carried a tray of two old PB and J sandwiches, a bowl of bird seed, and two small glasses of tap water to the locked door at the end of the hallway. Biff honestly had nothing personal against Tiffany’s mother; it just wasn’t good for his image as a CEO at MaylarTech to be playing nursemaid to the senior citizen. “Edith Jean.” Biff cooed as he undid the dead bolt to the master bedroom door and carried in the tray of stale offerings. “I have your breakfast and your lunch here for you and Stormy Knight.” He concluded in a tone normally reserved for communicating with two year old children as he put the full tray down on the little patio table that served as Edith Jean’s dining room. Then, without a further word, Biff left the room, dead bolting it behind him.
“Why did my precious Tiffany marry that dolt?” Edith Jean asked her Indian Ringneck Parakeet, Stormy Knight. “He’s so mean to us! Just look at what he brought us to eat, rotting food! My mother provided better meals for the fifteen of us during the Great Depression!” Edith Jean said as she flipped one of the sandwiches over, checking for both mold and poison before flopping it back down on the dirty plate. “No worries Stormy, we’ll go out for breakfast at Denny’s. That Chef Bart is such a nice guy, giving us a table in the storage room so we can eat together. I wish Tiffany had married him instead of Biff.” Edith Jean ended as she extracted a key from the depths of her brassiere.
Stormy Knight twittered and warbled for Edith Jean happily.
“Yes, after a good breakfast we’ll head over to that house on Thayer. That guy I think works at Biff’s business. We’ll take care of him next. It’ll be fun. Maybe, just maybe, Biff will fear for his life, leave my precious Tiffany, and we’ll be done with him once and for all. Maybe we can even get Tiffany to marry Chef Bart?”
Stormy Knight warbled and puffed up within the confines of her small cage, conveying to her owner a dark but happy thought.
“Well, you’re right. This is getting a bit messy. I can’t believe I had to waste my Ben Gay to get that window open at that last place. People just don’t respect what they’ve got. They take such poor care of all they’ve been blessed with.” Edith Jean rambled on, going off onto a tangent, before turning around and continuing her original thought, “If this next one doesn’t scare Biff into leaving Tiffany for his safety, then we’ll just have to go after Biff, himself.”
Stormy Knight chirped and tweeted.
“Yeah, I hate to hurt my precious Tiffany like that, but we just can’t keep living like this. Maybe with Biff gone we can move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve heard all sorts of nice things about the senior facilities there.”
Stormy Knight twittered and warbled the strains of a minuet for Edith Jean which put a smile on the elderly lady’s wrinkled, but well made up face as she toddled precariously to the dead bolted door, stuck the key she’d extracted from her brassiere into the dead bolt, and turned it…..
Just then Buddy and Knuckles showed up and alighted on the same branch the Feathered Four currently were occupying.
“What’s going on?” asked Knuckles.
“Did you request the master of disguise, too?” Buddy asked with a snicker.
“Have you two heard about the Yuppie Murders?” Cecil began and then continued by explaining all that he knew and the Feathered Four had found over their relatively short time on the case. “We need the two of you to follow the old human named Edith Jean and see where she goes. Your grey feathers are much more suited for tailing a human than ours are. We don’t know if this is the Yuppie killer or not, but we need to find out.” Cecil concluded.
“What’ll you guys do?” asked Knuckles
“BabyGirl pilfered the cell phones of the humans that live here. You take one and we’ll take the other. Cecil and Asa already programmed them both so all you have to do is bite the number 1 button and it’ll automatically dial us. Keep us updated and we won’t be too far behind you.” explained Asha.
“Yeah, you follow Edith Jean and we follow you, but from far enough away that we won’t be seen and so that if you need to call us the phone ringing won’t alert any humans to our presence.” Asa clarified.
So, the now six feathered crime fighters sat on the maple branch and waited, but not for long. About an hour after the Yuppies had left an elderly lady with blue hair, turquoise eye shadow and bright red lipstick schemered on her lips and cheeks appeared with a too small of a bird cage in her right hand that was barely housing an Indian Ringneck parakeet. The elderly lady toddled precariously on her varicose vein covered legs as she grabbed her purse in her free hand and toddled out the front door.
“We’re off!” whispered Knuckles and she and Buddy took flight over the roof of the house and toward the front yard.
“We’re off, too!” said Asha as she and the Feathered Four took flight a short 3 minutes later and headed over the roof of the house to the front yard and then to the left and down the street.
“Are you sure we’re headed the right way?” asked BabyGirl to no one in particular as Knuckles and Buddy were long gone and nowhere in sight.
“Yeah, we’re going the right way. Just follow Asa, her Daddy is leading us.” Asha answered as she nodded in the direction of a faint ghostly blur flying just in front of Asa.
They flew with Asa in the lead, for nearly 20 minutes before Asa steered them onto the metal faux Spanish tile roof of a little bungalow. “They’re across the street, in that Victorian house.” whispered Asa to Asha, who’d just landed next to her.
“We just wait for Knuckles to call?” asked Cecil.
“Yeah, we wait.” responded Asa.
Meanwhile, inside the Victorian house Knuckes and Buddy continued to shadow Edith Jean and the Indian Ringneck parakeet she was still carrying in the miniature gilded cage.
“Thank you so much Deary for watching my Stormy Knight for me. I will be back in two days to pick her up. Do you have any questions on how to take care of her?” Edith Jean asked the thirty something man in the pastel blue Izod shirt and white Docker slacks.
“No Nanna, I don’t have any questions. Stormy Knight is a very beautiful little girl. I look forward to getting to know her better.” the thirty something man answered in a tone of voice that most men used when trying to humor a woman.
“Ok Deary, then I’ll be off to my Senior Ladies weekend retreat.” Edith Jean twittered as she kissed the man on the cheek and toddled out of the house.
“If she’s leaving, how is she going to kill the yuppie guy?” asked Buddy.
“Good question.” answered Knuckles, equally as baffled at the most recent turn of events. “But, I think we should stay here and watch the yuppie guy either way. She may come back.”
“Yeah, you go call the Feathered Four and I’ll go put on one of my disguises. I’m thinking rag doll, since he’s got several on that shelf up there.” Buddy began as he nodded toward the shelf of rag dolls just above the living room fire place. “I’ll be able to see into all the rooms fairly clearly but the kitchen, which I’ll only be able to see the middle of from up there. After the call, go into the kitchen and hide up on top of the fridge, it should give you a good view of what I can’t see. We’ll whistle as our signal if we see something. That yuppie guy will assume it’s the bird, ok?” Buddy instructed as he began to waddle in the direction of the living room fire place.
After the call to the Feathered Four the plan was put into motion. Asa broke into one of the upstairs ducts into the attic, which allowed the other three crime fighters to enter the Victorian home unseen and unheard by the homes occupants. Cecil took up guard in the yuppie’s bedroom as he matched the wall paint nearly perfectly. Asha hid behind a stack of books in the upstairs library and BabyGirl hid in the pile of clean but not yet folded laundry in the laundry room.
The rest of the afternoon went by as any other. The yuppie guy went about his normal routine of a bit of cleaning before preparing his dinner. Buddy, who was cleverly disguised as a rag doll on the fire place mantel, nearly gave himself away with a sneeze when the yuppie guy dusted him. Knuckles, the expert private eye she was, managed to duck into one of the buckets of cereal when yuppie guy began dusting a bit too closely to her hiding place.
With cleaning done, and Knuckles tummy happily almost too full, the yuppie guy began preparing his dinner of a Marie Calenders chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn frozen dinner. It was then something odd happened.
The yuppie guy went over to Stormy Knights cage to give her a bit of fresh apple for her dinner. He opened her door to put the apple slice in and Stormy Knight flew out of her cage and began screaming hysterically as she flew in circles around the yuppie guy. Upon hearing the commotion, the Feathered Four left their posts and headed down the stairs oh-so cautiously and silently. They arrived in the kitchen just in time to witness Stormy Knight flying strait at the yuppie guys head.
“The cell phone!” Asha whispered almost too loudly. “It has a camera on it, Cecil, you make it work!”
With Asa’s help, Cecil opened the flip phone and bit the cameras shutter button as hard as he could. One picture after another the camera dutifully captured the outrageous scene that unfolded before everyone’s eyes, both feathered and human. Stormy Knight continued to circle and dive bomb the yuppie guy, forcing him to back up for his own protection. He kept backing up until he bumped into the kitchen counter and suddenly dropped dead.
Stormy Knight, her job expertly and precisely completed, screeched one last time before heading back into her cage, closing and latching her own door behind her. Too stunned to move for a moment the Feathered Four, Knuckles and Buddy remained in their places. Then, just as Buddy was about to come out of hiding, they heard the front door open. The Feathered Four quickly ducked behind the trash can so as not to be seen by whoever just entered the house. Knuckles once again ducked into the cereal bucket while Buddy continued to pretend to be a rag doll on the fireplace mantel.
“Is Nanna’s little baby girl all done with her job?” asked Edith Jean.
Stormy Knight fluffed her feathers as her way of saying a very proud ‘yes’.
“That’s Nanna’s little angel.” Edith Jean cooed to the Indian ringneck parakeet and she picked up the cage and toddled out the front door on unstable varicose vein covered legs.
“What on earth just happened?” asked Knuckes as she peeked out of the cereal bucket.
“Is the yuppie guy really dead?” asked Buddy as he removed his rag doll disguise and waddled into the kitchen.
“He’s dead alright.” affirmed Asha.
“How?” asked BabyGirl.
“Not a single clue” said Asa
“I just called the police and will leave the cell phone with one of the last pictures on it up on the screen. We’ll have to leave the rest of this case to the humans.” said Cecil.
“Lets go before they arrive.” said Asha and Asa at the same time.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Disapearance of Diamondmeenuh

Just posting a little note to let those interested in knowing where I've vanished to.

For approximately the next two weeks you won't hear from me as on March 11, 2008 I'm being admited into the hospital for a double radical mastectomy. It's no biggie and I'll be fine. I just won't be on the computer again till I can use my arms and hands, that's all. My 5 tiels have expressed interest in taking over and blogging and sewing in my absence, but they're still working on figuring out how to do this.

For those interested, I've got one friend who should be updating those interested on a yahoo group as to what's going on with me after the surgery. If you wish to read and are brave enough to read the posts of a bunch of crazy bird people (all of our bird are hormonal right now which makes for some interesting posts!) then go to Flocktalk .

Have a fabulous two weeks!
Julie Anne of Diamondmeenuh Creations

The Asha Chronicles Part 11

Ah the age old 'sports hero' delema. Steriods and lifestyles we really don't want to hear about as we, as humans in general, like to put our hero's up on a pedistal and think they can do no wrong.

Read on to find out how 2 Amazons, 1 Cockatiel, and 1 Budgie, other wise known as The Feathered Friends, deal with this particular issue.....

The Asha Chronicles Part 11
Feet of Clay
February 26, 2008
Julie Stilwell and Timothy Graham

Asha was spending the day doing her favorite thing: napping in the fresh air.
Her Dad had rolled her cage out to their screen porch a couple of hours before and since then she had had been sitting on one of her many perches slipping into and out of sleep. There is one no-fault way you can tell if a parrot is feeling safe and secure: if they stand on their perch on one foot with the other tucked under a wing. Asha was definitely sitting on one leg.
There was only one tiny dark cloud barely on the horizon of her thoughts. Her Daddy’s birthday was coming up and she wanted to get just the PERFECT gift for him. She had racked her brain but couldn’t think of just the right thing. She had tried asking her Momma but she didn’t understand Parrot language and Asha couldn’t talk human to her. Some parrots could communicate with humans in special circumstances, but Asha and her Momma did not click. Anyway, Asha was slightly jealous of her Daddy’s wife, although she would never admit it.
She peeked through the French Doors into her Daddy’s bedroom where he was watching a baseball game on his 50-inch Hi-Def television. Asha knew it had been a gift to him from his wife and that was a spur for her to try to get him something even better!
Asha was able to figure out that his Braves were two runs down in the bottom of the ninth. There were two runners on base and two outs. His favorite player Johnny Flynn was coming to the plate.
“You can do it Johnny,“ her Daddy hollered. “Show those stupid Mets who’s boss!”
Suddenly Asha heard a loud crack and her Daddy jumped into the air and started doing a crazy dance.
“I knew it” he shouted. “We’re in like Flynn! Braves in first place!” He whooped a couple of more times before collapsing back into his chair.
All of a sudden a light went on inside Asha’s green, yellow, and blue feathered head.
“Humans like mementos of their sports heroes,” Asha said to herself. “If I can get Dad something to remind him of this Johnny Flynn guy, he would really appreciate it. That would really show Momma who is the Top Bird around this house!”
Asha waddled to the family computer while her Dad was still doing war dances and watching replays of his hero’s home run. Asha contacted the other three members of the Feathered Friends and asked them to meet her outside Turner Field in Atlanta at the statue of Hank Aaron.
The next morning Asha found herself perched lightly on the bat of Hammerin’ Hank while she waited for her friends to show up. Before long a small, blue Budgie flew up and took his place on the bill of Aaron’s cap.
“How’s it going Cecil,” Asha asked. “Nice day for a ball game isn’t it?”
“I guess so, but I’m more of a football fan. I always thought that if I had been born a human I would be a big defensive lineman,” Cecil said. The words would almost have been hysterically funny since they came from a bird who barely weighed 41 grams. But Cecil had the spirit of a giant and Asha could well imagine him sacking a quarterback.
Next to arrive was BabyGirl. She was an Amazon like Asha and she took station in Hank’s shoulder as she began preening her feathers.
“This is such a dirty city,” BabyGirl complained. “My boyfriend Ben would turn his beak up at me if he saw how filthy I was!”
The final member of the group to make an appearance was a cockatiel named Asa. Asa was a legendary escape artist who could chew her way through concrete. When she took her place beside Asha on Aaron’s bat she stopped her beak a couple of times on the statue and glared at Asha.
“What is this thing made of?” she asked. “I don’t like perching on things I can’t chew through if need be.”
“I think it is something called bronze,” said Asha. “But that is hardly what is at issue here.”
Asha quickly told her friends what her goal was and they agreed to be of any assistance possible, with one caveat.
“Before we do anything I want something to eat,” said Cecil. “What do they have to eat around here?”
“When at the ballpark, you eat hot dogs,” said Asha and the four took wing and headed for the nearest hot dog vendor.
“OK,” said Cecil. “Why don’t we let BabyGirl distract the vendor while the rest of us grab some dogs?”
“I hate to be a wet blanket, but I don’t eat hot dogs. I’m vegan,” said Asa. “Do you think they might have a tofu dog?”
“I think tofu is illegal in the South,” said BabyGirl.
“Don’t worry Miss Fussy, we’ll get you some popcorn,” hissed Asha.
“What about buns and chili?” wailed Cecil. “You can’t eat hot dogs without chili!”
“Only if you want to be as fat as a housecat,” said Asha as Baby Girl took off to provide a distraction. She perched on top of the food cart and, just as the vendor was adding relish to a customer’s wiener, dropped a nice ball of poop onto the dog.
But the customer and the vendor looked around in shock and finally settled their sights on the offending parrot.
“What the heck is going on here!” shouted the customer. “Can’t you keep these damn pigeons from pooping on the food?”
BabyGirl noticed that the customer had taken out his wallet in order to pay for his hot dog, so she swooped down and grabbed the wallet from his hand and flew over to an adjacent popcorn stand.
“Come and Get me!” the parrot shouted as the customer and the hot dog vendor ran in her direction. At that moment the other three parrots landed on the hot dog cart and grabbed a wiener in each claw and quickly took off to return to their perch on top of Hank’s statue. BabyGirl saw that the thievery had been successful, so she dropped the wallet, grabbed some popcorn for Asa, and followed the others.
“That was fun,” Cecil said between bites of his hot dog. “I think stolen food tastes better than any other kind of food, especially when you steal it from humans!”
“Cecil, I’m afraid that our adventures have permanently corrupted you,” laughed Asha as she daintily took bites from her meal. She would take a bite from one end of the wiener, rotate it with her talons, then take a bite from the other end.
“Yum, yum!” she said. “If only they made Cheetos this large!”
The four finished their meal and then cleaned each other’s feathers of any leftover hot dog or popcorn. When done with that Asa asked the question they all had on their mind.
“Well, just how are we going to get this guy to give us anything?” she asked. “And what do we get? I don’t see us hauling a baseball bat all the way back to Byron, no matter how strong Cecil thinks he is.”
“What I was thinking we might do is try to catch him after the game when he is alone and have Cecil tell him what we want. Then he might agree to come down and give Dad some stuff in person,” Asha said. Among the Four, Cecil was the best at communicating with humans in their own language.
“That does have the benefit of being a plan,” said Asa. “Not a good plan, I guess it is a plan. What do we do in the meantime?”
“I guess we watch the ballgame,” Asha said and the four took wing and perched on top of one of the light towers in right field. They finished eating their hot dogs and popcorn as the crowd finished taking their seats and the game got underway. Flynn had three hits and saved the home team’s win jumping high over the right field fence to rob the visitors of a home run. The crowd began leaving the stadium with smiles on their faces as the Four began looking for a way to get into the Braves’ locker room.
They flew down to the Braves’ dugout and saw a large hamper filled with dirty towels and uniforms. They dove into the hamper and dug themselves a cozy cave under the dirty laundry.
“We better get something good out of this,” whispered BabyGirl. “This stinks!”
A young man soon came up and began wheeling the hamper into the depths of the stadium. He pushed the hamper into the Braves’ locker room where it soon became full to overflowing with sweaty-stained jerseys and uniform pants.
After a while Cecil stuck his head out of the pile of dirty laundry and scoped out the situation. He ducked back under cover and reported to the others.
“That Flynn guy just got through talking to some guys with notebooks and cameras,” Cecil said. “They’re getting ready to leave.”
All four of the Friends poked their heads up just in time to see Flynn head through a door with ‘Training Room” written on it. The rest of the locker room was empty so they flew over to the door and looked inside. Asa noticed a window on the wall nearest to where the birds were standing so they flew up to stand on the ledge so they would have a quick escape route in case they needed it.
Flynn was sitting in what the humans called a whirlpool bath and seemed almost asleep.”
“Hey, Cecil,” Asha whispered. “This might be the chance we were looking for.”
Cecil was about to fly down to speak to Flynn when another human suddenly entered the room. Flynn looked up and gestured for the other man to come over to where he was.
“It’s about time you got here Oscar,” Flynn said. “I’m past due for my next shot.”
“Yeah,” said Oscar. “I noticed that that last home run of yours barely left the park. That would have been an out if it wasn’t for a friendly wind.”
“So quit talking and give me the juice before somebody else comes in,” Flynn said as he got out of the whirlpool. Oscar gave the player an injection in his buttocks.
“What do you want me to do about those Macaws you wanted ready for the Bird Show,” asked Oscar. “They still aren’t as big as you wanted them to be.”
“Did you give them the steroids like I told you to?” asked Flynn.
“Of course I did, but they didn’t react well to them so I cut the dosage. I was afraid some of them night die,” said Oscar.
“Idiot!” said Flynn. “We have a dozen of the damn things and all we need to win is one. Double the dosage! I want the Blue Ribbon this year!”
“You’re the boss,” Oscar said as he hurried from the room.
Flynn laughed to himself as he rubbed the injection site.
“And those stupid fans think it is only idiots like Bonds and Clemens on the juice,” he said to himself. “I go them and that fool Vick beat.”
Asha turned to her friends and said quietly, “We need to get out of there fast.”
They flew back to the Aaron statue where Cecil asked, “What were they doing,” he asked. “Was the Flynn guy sick or something?”
“No,” said Asha. “He wasn’t sick. He was taking what the humans call steroids. It helps make them run faster and hit the ball further. They are illegal.”
“You mean your Dad’s hero is breaking the law so he can play better,” asked Asa.
“That’s exactly what I mean,” said Asha quietly.
“Your Dad won’t like it if he finds out about that, will he,” asked BabyGirl. “What are you going to do?”
Asha just looked at her, wiped a tear from her eye with a wing, and said, “I don’t know, I really don’t know.”
“But what was that about giving steroids to those Macaws,” asked Cecil. “Is that illegal too?
“Yes, it is,” said Asha. “This guy is as dirty as they come. I think we are going to need help to take him down. Let’s get back to my place and get in touch with the Underground.”
The four flew back to Byron in silence as each one thought over what they had just seen. It was bad enough for a human to take an illegal drug, but to give it to a helpless animal? They got angrier and angrier until, by the time they got to Asha’s home, they were all ready to sharpen their talons and go after Flynn.
“The first thing we need to do is contact the Underground,” said Asha. “Cecil, you get on my computer and spread the word.”
“Wait,” said Asa. “Didn’t those guys we met in California, Mark and Clyde, join the Underground?”
“Great idea!” said Asha. “Cecil, see if you can get in touch with them and see if they can come here and give us a hand.”
As it turned out, Mark and Clyde were available and agreed to get on the first airplane for Georgia. They met up with the Four Friends at Turner Field. It was decided that Mark and Clyde would follow Flynn to try and try to get some evidence to prove his drug usage. They were armed with a video camera and their reserve deputy badges. The Four Friends would wait until Oscar showed up again and follow him and find out where he was keeping the macaws.
The four parrots took shifts waiting for Oscar to come back to visit Flynn and he finally did three days later. When he got back into his Hummer the four were stashed in the back seat. The drive was about an hour as Oscar stopped the car and parked. Cecil stuck his head up and reported that they were parked outside a small house trailer and there was a barn nearby.
“The barn is probably where the macaws are,” said Asa. “Let’s fan out and approach it from all directions.”
Asha took the northeast quadrant and was able to find a seam between the wooden boards to see the interior of the barn. What she saw horrified her. There were almost thirty large cages, each of which contained a blue-and-gold macaw. The birds seemed to be well cared for but what made Asha stifle a gasp was Oscar reaching into one cage and pulling out the corpse of one of the macaws.
“Damn,” Oscar said. “I told that idiot Flynn that increasing the dosage would kill these birds. This is the fifth one this week to just drop dead. This just isn’t right.”
Asha quickly flew up to the top of the barn and squawked loudly in order to get the attention of her friends. They all few up to where she was.
“Look, I think we might be able to get this guy on our side,” said Asha. “He seems pretty disgusted with what he is having to do. Cecil, I think we’re going to need some of your communication skills.”
Asha outlined her plan and Cecil flew down and sneaked into the front door of the barn and took up a position behind where Oscar was working cleaning out the cage that had held the recently deceased bird.
“Why did you do that to me?” Cecil asked in his best imitation of a ghost.
“What was that?” Oscar shouted as he spun around too late to see Cecil who had hidden inside a ten-gallon feed container. Oscar looked around the barn but couldn’t see the source of the voice. He finally got back to work on the cage when Cecil stuck his head back up and said, “What have we ever done to you?”
Oscar again tried to find the source of the voice and failed. “This dirty job must be getting to me,” he said to himself. “Lord only knows why I agreed to do this. Getting Flynn his steroids is one thing, but this is totally different. I always loved animals.”
Oscar shook his head but went back to work on the cage. Cecil popped up behind him again and said: “Do the right thing. Help us to live.”
Oscar again spun around was too late to catch his tormentor.
“That is just about enough,” he shouted as he tore the gloves off his hands and threw them to the floor. “I don’t have to live this way, “he shouted as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone.
“Information,” he said. “I want the number for the Atlanta Parrot Rescue Society,”
Cecil flew back out the door and joined his friends on the roof of the barn. He was congratulated all around as the parrot heard Oscar give the rescue society the directions to the barn. They waited until two vans arrived and the rescue personnel began to carry the cages out of the door. Oscar had left by then, but not before they heard him make another call, this one to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office and asking to speak to the person in charge of steroid abuse cases.
The birds returned to the Aaron statue at Turner Field where they found a note from Mark and Clyde asking them to meet them at a motel out in the suburbs. When The Feathered Four got there they found their two human friends watching-what else-a Star Trek episode on their portable DVD player.
“I tell you Clyde,” Mark was saying as the birds walked through the partially open door. “That Kirk is as smooth as molasses. I’d like you to name just one woman who was on that show that Kirk didn’t put the moves on.”
“Spock’s mother,” Clyde said with a laugh.
“Well, aside from her,” Mark said just as he noticed the four parrots standing just inside the door.
“Hey there little buddies,” Clyde said. “How did things go with you?”
“Some of the macaws passed over the Rainbow Bridge before we could save them, but we were able to get the others to safety,” said Asa. “What about your job?”
“Let me show you,” Mark said as he turned off the DVD player and turned on the television set. “ESPN has been running it about every five minutes.”
When the set came on the birds saw a picture of Flynn sitting in a Jacuzzi with a couple of girls flanking him and a drink in one hand and what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette in the other. He was obviously under the influence of something as he bragged to the girls about taking steroids and other drugs and getting away with it by swapping someone else’s urine when he was required to take a drug test.
“How did you get this?” asked Asha.
“Well, those are our girlfriends, Suzie and Elaine,” said Clyde. “They just showed up at Flynn’s place with the camera in a gym bag and he did all the rest.”
The Four Friends thanked Mark and Clyde and began the short flight back to Byron. They exchanged hugs on the roof of Asha’s house and then the other three took off for their respective homes. Asha feared what she was about to face but knew what she had to do. She slipped onto the porch and through the French Doors into her Dad’s bedroom. He was sitting in his chair with his head in his hands while ESPN played the Flynn tape on his television.
Asha flew up to the back of the chair and gently started preening his hair as she softly cooed into his ear.
“Why did he do it?” her Dad said softly. “Why? I thought he was a hero. I’ll never be able to trust anyone like that again.”
Asha jumped down onto her Dad’s lap and started stroking his cheek with her wing as she continued cooing, wishing she could tell him the words that were in her heart. And, all of a sudden she knew that she could.
“You can trust me and all the others who truly love you,” Asha said. “Trust isn’t earned on the baseball field. It is earned here at home.”
The initial look of shock on her Dad’s face was replaced with one of joy and wonder.
“Truer words were never spoken,” he said as he hugged Asha to his chest. “How about I go make some of that spicy popcorn you love.”