Near 500 words: Parrot Speaks

When Ada and Ty returned from their honeymoon, Ada introduced her new husband to her parrot. He was gray with red trimming.

“His name is Parrot,” she said. “He was my dad’s before he died.”

Ty had always wanted a dog or a cat, but he’d never imagined a bird. Ty, being in love with his new wife, decided a bird might not be a bad thing.

When Ty came home from his jewelry business the next night, he noticed Parrot in his cage over in the corner. The bird never tweeted or sang or talked. Not one word out of him. He just sat in that cage, watching. Ty wasn’t sure he liked it, but he didn’t want to say anything. Ada loved the bird, almost giving Parrot as much attention as she gave Ty.

Then late one night Ty woke up to a sound coming from the living room. He pulled himself out of bed and slipped into the living room. Across the room, Parrot muttered, “Got to have dinner ready for Ty. Have to contact Sara. Make an appointment for the hairdresser.”

Ty slipped back into bed beside Ada.

“Everything okay?” she asked.

“Yeah. It’s the bird. Sounds like he’s repeating something you said. First time I’ve heard a peep from him.”

“Oh, that’s normal. He talks in his sleep.”

Ty laughed. “What? He can’t talk when he’s awake. When he’s asleep–”

“That’s about it. Talks his head off when he’s sleeping.”

Over the next few weeks, Parrot talked every night. Things Ada said. Things Ty said. Things friends said when they came over.

One Saturday night Bob and Helen Hardy, two friends of Ty’s, were over for penny ante poker.  After the couple left, Ada went off to bed. Ty wanted to finish a book he was reading. Dozing off, he was wakened by Parrot.

“Oh, Bob,” the bird said. “Not here. We’ll get caught. Come over Tuesday night. Ty will be late.”

“What?” Ty said. Was that what they were doing when Bob was helping Ada in the kitchen?

The bird repeated himself and added, “Now stop that.”

The next morning Ty didn’t say anything. Maybe he had imagined the whole thing or maybe Parrot was dreaming. He let the matter go. After all, Ada was as affectionate as a wife could be and Bob was his best friend.

The Sunday night and the Monday night bird talk was the usual. Meetings, friends, gossip.

It was late when Ty got home Tuesday. Ada was already in bed. Parrot dozed in his cage. Then the bird started, “Oh, Bob, that feels so good. Baby, you’re so good. Ty has never done anything like that to me.”

Ty’s body filled with anger. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He  went into the hall closet and pulled out a .45, then he stormed out the front door.

It was four o’clock in the morning when the detective rang the doorbell. It didn’t stop ringing until Ada pulled herself out of bed, wrapped a robe around her body and opened the door. “What do you want?” she asked, still half asleep.

“Ma’am, we have some news. About one this morning your husband shot and killed Bob Hardy. Before he died, Mr. Hardy managed to get off a shot. The shot was fatal.”

“Oh, my God,” Ada screamed. “Oh, my God.”

A female officer stepped past the detective. For the next while, she managed to calm Ada down.

Finally Ada said, “I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right.”

“Are you sure? I can stay if you need me to. Or do you want me to call a friend?.”

“No-no-no,” Ada assured her.

The officer left. Ada closed the door after her and looked over at Parrot. Wide awake, Parrot said, “Another one bites the dust.” Then he winked.

Ada asked, “When do you think we can sell the business?” Parrot stayed quiet.

Ada switched off the lights and went back to the bedroom. From her bed, she heard, “Three husbands down, but I’m not counting.”

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Sir Herbert of the White

Maeve was the faerie queen. For as long as the wood had been, she ruled the faeries. There had been others who wanted to take her scepter but Maeve always came out on top.

One of the laws of the wood was that no adult human saw Maeve. If they did, they were to die. So when Sir Herbert of the White came through the forest, he caught a glance at the queen. He was a kind knight who slayed dragons and saved maidens in distress and did all sorts of just and good things. Still it was the law the Sir Herbert must die.

But how? That was his choice. The faeries went to Sir Knight in a dream and let him choose. Being pure in heart, he chose to die doing a good deed.

When the folk throughout the kingdom heard the good Sir Knight was to die, they were struck with grief. Even the king was struck with grief, and grieving was not something he did often. But tears rolled down his face as he asked, “How can we save our good friend?”

Sir Herbert of the White answered the tears, “I am a mortal man. All mortals must die. When I pass, remember me and urge others to slay dragons and save maidens in distress and do all sorts of just and good things.”

Late one night Queen Maeve sat up, looking at the stars and thinking how so many faeries had given their lives to be one of those stars. It made her happy that they were remembered as such but sad that they were no longer with her.

Then she thought of the dilemma of Sir Herbert of the White. She was impressed that his was a pure soul and the world had few pure souls. She was saddened that such a soul had to die. The law was the law but mercy was mercy as well. Was there a way to circumvent the law, allowing Sir Herbert of the White to live?

She studied and her astrologers studied they came to the same answer. Sir Herbert of the White had to die.

After a bit, she went to the Lake of the Lakes, dropped the tip of her wand into its waters and stirred. The Lake spoke to her, “There is a way if you have the courage to follow it.”

“I have the courage,” Queen Maeve answered.

“You must die,” The Lake spoke again.

Queen Maeve wished with all her heart she might save Sir Herbert of the White. But not enough to give her life. Sir Herbert of the White must die.

Finally Queen Maeve’s curiosity overcame her. Before he died, she must see this brave knight so many were mourning for.

Three nights before Sir Herbert of the White was to die, the Queen of the Faeries slipped away from her court. Alone she went through the forest. She met the Big Bad Wolf and huffed and puffed him out of her path. She met the Three Bears. She wanded them out of her way. They were too big and too small and not just right. She passed Humpty Dumpty just as he fell off his wall. She even passed the chicken crossing the road.

In the distance she saw Sir Herbert’s campfire. His horse was peacefully grazing on the green grass. Sir Herbert was fast asleep. She sneaked up on him as soft as soft could be. And she glanced at the knight.

Her heart was smitten. In other words, she swooned and fainted. Cupid’s arrow hit her so hard she was out like a light. Some hours later Queen Maeve woke up and realized what had happened. There was no way she was about to let her true love die. If it was her life that was required, it was her life that was to be given.

Fortunately, there was a great and powerful wizard passing through the forest on that very night. On his way to a destination that was most secret, he decided to take a detour. He had never seen the forest and it was a must-see in Rick Steves’ Tour of the Kingdom. So he decided he could afford a little off-the-beaten-path time.

He crossed into the forest and a squirrel approached him. ‘O Great and Powerful Wizard, you must save our friend, Sir Herbert of the White.”

As Mr. Wizard investigated the situation, he realized there was a solution no one had thought. Sir Herbert of the White must be transformed into a faerie.

And so it was written. And so it was. And to this day, Sir Herbert of the White rules beside Queen Maeve as King of the Faeries. And there is much rejoicing throughout the Wood.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: To Be Young Gifted and Black

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Nina Simone and her song, “Young, Gifted and Black:

The playwright Lorraine Hansberry inspired Nina Simone to write and perform this song. Lorraine Hansberry was an African American playwright. Her most famous work is “Raisin in the Sun”. After her death in 1965, the autobiographical play, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” ran off Broadway for the 1968 – 1969 season. Nina Simone’s song was meant to inspire black children everywhere.

Near 500 words: Lawn-othology

Verily I say unto you. It is written in the Holy Writ of Lawn Care.

In the beginning, God created The Lawn. And it wasn’t just any lawn. It was The Lawn. And He separated it from the Non-Lawn. And that was the First Day.

On the Second Day, God created Lawn Care and He sowed The Lawn with seeds. Was it crab grass or St. Augustine grass or Kentucky blue grass? Could it have been Bermuda or Zoysia? Then again it might have been Fine or Tall Fescue. I’m voting for St. Augustine. Nobody knows for sure but we do know that–

On the Third Day, God fertilized that Lawn. And He fertilized with Grade-A cow manure. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been any reason for cows. This was way before the Hindus worshipped the Cow and definitely before those Got Milk commercials.

On the Fourth Day, God watered The Lawn. With rain, no less. In fact, it rained and rained so much and so hard that Noah’s flood was a stream of a flood compared to the Fourth Day’s rain.

On the Fifth Day, God kicked back to admire His work. But there is no rest for the weary. He gandered across that First Lawn and caught sight of a wee itty bitty weed goofing up His work of perfection. So God had a Himself a big breakfast and went off and did some first class weeding.

On the Sixth Day, God realized that The Lawn had gotten out of hand. God being God, He was a First Class Problem Solver. He made Himself a Man to keep up with all the seeding and fertilizing and watering and weeding.

So on the Seventh Day, God looked down from His Throne and saw that His Work was done and He could rest. For there was Man, and there was a lawn that needed mowing.

And to make sure that things were A-okay, it is also written in the Holy Writ, God’s Ten Tips For A Happy Lawn:
Thou shalt mow thy lawn.
Thou shalt mow thy lawn often. So thy neighbors won’t complain.
Thou shalt keep up with the Joneses and cut thy lawn just right.
Thou shalt not envy thy neighbor’s lawn mower.
Thou shalt not let thy neighbor’s dog poop, or thine for that matter, on thy lawn.
Thou shalt not let the weeds choke thy grass.
Thou shalt win blue ribbons for the best lawn in thy town.
Thou shalt not curse thy lawn.
Thou shalt remember that thy lawn has feelings.
So thou shalt give thy lawn its own Facebook page.
Amen.

They bought themselves a boat

Another lyric. Inspired by the movie, “Tempest”.

They bought themselves a boat
They thought they’d sail to the islands
They bought themselves a boat
They thought they’d sail to the islands

Then a storm came along
The boat they’d bought it crashed and sank
Then a storm came along
The boat they’d bought it crashed and sank

The soul is an island
In the deep deep waters
The island is on no map
No gps can find it

They could’ve drowned at sea
Instead they made it to the island
They could’ve drowned at sea
Instead they made it to the island

This island, it was green
A paradise an Eden was
This island, it was green
A paradise an Eden was

The soul is an island
In the deep deep waters
The island is on no map
No gps can find it

If you’re one for sailing
Hire a boat goodly sturdy
If you’re one for sailing
Hire a boat goodly sturdy

So when you hit the storms
Your boat will not be sinking
So when you hit the storms
Your boat will not be sinking

The soul is an island
In the deep deep waters
The island is on no map
No gps can find it