Thursday, March 27, 2008

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.

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