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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: The Faulty Parrot
By Mary Lou Cook


“Awk, if you tell, I’ll kill you.”

I stopped reading my latest murder mystery to look across the living room at the parrot. The bird is a birthday present from Aunt Jeanie, my mom’s sister. It arrived this morning at my apartment door with a card attached to the cage. “Happy birthday sweetie, have a happy one. Love ya’ bunches, miss ya’ gobs.” Even without a signature I know it is from my totally insane aunt, the family calls her a little eccentric. I could never remember where Aunt Jeanie lives, she moves a lot. Her recent home might be in South America, South Africa, South Dakota, or South Carolina.

“What did you say?” I ask the parrot.

“Awk, if you tell, I’ll kill you.”

Taped to the side of the cage is a pamphlet that says the parrot is from the rain forest of South America. At the bottom is a logo, Pet Emporium, Crane and Fourth Street. The parrot and I head for the pet shop.

I arrive at the pet shop to confront the owner about the faulty parrot he sold to my aunt. I sit the bird on the counter and uncover his cage.

“Awk, if you tell, I’ll kill you.”

“You sold my aunt a defective parrot,” I said sternly.

“A sale of a pet is finale, no refunds. I can’t exchange it; this is the only one available. I can only give you this,” he said, than hands me a yellow envelope. He turns and walks behind a curtain.

I open the envelope to read a note written in my aunt’s hand writing, “I’m in grave danger. Go to the public library for further instructions and bring the parrot.”

The parrot and I head for the library; I wonder what trouble my aunt has gotten herself into. I arrive to have the librarian inform me unless I have some kind of speech impairment that requires the parrot’s assistances, it can’t come into the library. I turn to leave when I notice tacked on the bulletin board is a yellow envelope with my name written in bold red letters. I open it to see another note in my aunt’s hand writing, “My life is in your hands. Go to the city park’s carrousel, and bring the parrot.”

I uncover the parrot’s cage and ask, “What have you gotten my aunt and me into?”

“Awk, if you tell, I’ll kill you.”

I cover the parrot’s cage and head for the city park. I arrive at the carrousel, pay for two tickets, one for the bird and one for me. I ride the carrousel round and round, looking for anyone or anything. I suddenly notice the brass ring holds another yellow envelope. I reach out and grab it; I find another note in my aunt’s hand writing, “My life depends on you. Head down the Northway, take exit nine, go to the Desmond Inn, and bring the parrot.”

I drive down the Northway with the parrot inside the cage, seat belted on the passenger side. The yellow envelopes cover the floor board of the car. I wonder what I am about to face and if my aunt is okay. I pull off at exit nine and see the Desmond Inn. The parrot and I arrive at the lobby; I walk up to the desk clerk. She quickly hands me a yellow envelope and disappears behind the office door. I open the envelope to see a map of the inn with the room number 169 circled in red. I walk through the lobby, past the swimming pool, up a flight of stairs, and face the door marked 169. I slowly push open the door.

“Surprise! Happy Birthday!”

I see a room full of family and friends, a banner hangs over the back wall that says, “Happy Birthday.” There is a table that holds a variety of food and another table holds brightly wrapped presents.

I turn toward Aunt Jeanie and said, “You had me running everywhere, the entire time I worried about you. What’s with the cloak and dragger and this parrot?”

Aunt Jeanie said with a laugh, “It’s the perfect party for someone who loves a mystery. The parrot is the best part; I’m amazed how quickly he learned his lines. And the part about my life being in danger is the truth. When I told your mom about the surprise birthday party she threatened to kill me!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 02/12/09
Clever. I was intrigued. There were some tense shifts, especially at the beginning. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Benjamin Graber02/12/09
Cute and creative story! I enjoyed the surprise at the end... :-)
Connie Dixon02/18/09
This was a fun story, you really had me going. Good job!