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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This cat of mine

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
looking, seeing, chasing

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
running, jumping, playing

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
climbing, digging, dashing

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
wandering, exploring, adventuring

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
sneaking, disappearing, hiding

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
meowing, cajoling, crying

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
scratching, rubbing, sunning

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine:
bathing, eating, sleeping

She is a curious thing, this cat of mine.
And when she purrs, it is a fine fine thing.

A Job Well Done

It was around ten p.m. when L L pulled up into his driveway and stopped under the carport. Eighteen hours of work and he was finally home. He breathed a sigh of relief, then listened to the Beatles finish up with “Eight Days a Week” on the CD player. That was how he felt. That he’d worked eight days a week. He turned off the ignition and crawled out of the car.

He walked over to the garbage bin. Somehow it had been thrown on its side. Probably some neighborhood kid. Normally he would yell and scream at the street and the kids but he was just too tired. He stuck the key into the back door of the house, turned it and entered, then punched the code into the security keyboard.

“It’s just me,” he called out. His eyes were still adjusting to the dark house. He saw his beautiful two-year-old Russian Blue sitting under the doorframe from the kitchen into the dining room.

She was wary and a little anxious. She still wasn’t sure it was L L. But it sounded like him. If it had not been L L, she would have run for cover into one of her hiding places. And she had hiding places that had hiding places.

L L turned on the light, saw the cat’s empty bowl. “Geez, you must be hungry. I’m sorry,” he apologized to the cat. And this was unusual for L L. He never apologized to anyone. Except to his Russian Blue.

He had taken the cat in after she crawled up into the engine of his car. She had been six weeks old. He had run into Costco for just a few minutes. When he came out, there was a group standing around his car. He asked a woman, “What’s going on?”

“There’s a cat in this car. It’s trying to get out and can’t.”

He popped the hood open. A kid in the crowd reached inside the engine with his small hands and pulled the cat free. Then he handed her to L L. From her cries, it was obvious she was hungry. And scared.

L L wasn’t sure he should take the cat. He didn’t have time for a cat. He wasn’t sure what to do.

The woman next to him took the cat and put it into a small box. And handed the box back to L L. “I think you’ve found yourself a new friend.”

L L wanted to resist but he didn’t. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t in control of things. He wasn’t sure he liked it. He looked down at the box, the cat peaking her head outside the box.

“There’s a pet store nearby. You can get her some kitty food there.”

Keeping the box top closed, he drove straight the store, ran in and bought the food, then drove straight home. All that time the cat didn’t stop crying out its fear and its hunger. He sat the box on the kitchen counter. Took the bottle with the liquid out of the bag. Reached into the box. Took the tiny thing out. Holding her, he put the nipple into her mouth and she started sucking. She wasn’t crying anymore. L L still wasn’t sure about the kitten but it was obvious the thing was going to need him. “Well, we’ll give it a try.”

Two years later he filled the cat bowl with salmon pate. She ran to the bowl and began scooping up the food. As she did, he stroked her back. Then filled her water bowl. When she finished eating, she rubbed up against L L’s leg as he heated water.

The kettle whistled. He poured out the water over the tea in his cup. He grabbed a bag of chocolate chips and headed to the living room and some me time.

He sat down, ate his cookies and drank his tea. Slowly. The cat jumped up onto his lap, looked up into his face with her beautiful green eyes, crawled up on his chest and rubbed her face against his chin. Then she curled up on his lap and fell asleep. Except for the snoring cat, there wasn’t another sound in the house.

Sitting there in his large comfy chair with the cat on his lap, he looked down at the Russian Blue and smiled. “Well, I finally did it. It’s taken me years, but I finally got rid of Superman, Kryptonite.”

haiku for the day: a debate

Animals intrigue me. I see my cat and I ask myself, “Just what is she thinking?” She has that look in her eye. You know the one. The one that says she might just have me for lunch if I don’t mind my manners and put food in her kitty bowl. Or the times she is asleep, snoring and dreaming. What is she dreaming of? Probably some cat heaven where there are things to chase. Or the fish swims around in that tank. Wonder if he’s thinking, “Gosh darn it. What is that big eye that’s looking at me for?”

a dog and a bird
under a tree debating
usefulness of cats

haiku for the day: little bear strikes again

Our cat, Little Bear, finds the simplest things to make her happy. We have bought her toys, and she won’t play with them. No, a cardboard box or a large brown paper bag are what makes her the happiest. And funny. She’ll stick her head in a grocery paperbag. Her tail’s sticking out. But she thinks she’s hiding and we can’t see her. Of course, we go along with the ruse.

kitten and a string
two paws making that snake dance
such a happiness.