By Manuel Rose
Tom Rollins was feeling very frustrated. He had purchased a very expensive Amazon parrot from the pet store and all it ever did was bite him. Tom decided to go back to the store and ask for help. He went inside the store and spoke to the salesperson that sold him the bird.
“Excuse me, sir, I purchased a very expensive green parrot from you last week,” Tom told the young salesman.
“Yes, I remember you. It was a Yellow-Naped Amazon, right?” the salesman replied.
“Yes, well, I have a problem with him.”
“Is he sick?”
“No, no, nothing like that…he just bites me every time I try to take him out of his cage.”
“Oh, you need an animal behaviorist; he can help you train him.”
“Can you recommend one to me?”
“Sure, the guy we use is very reasonable and very good. His name is Manny Draziw, and he’s known as the ‘bird whisperer,’ but we just call him ‘Manny.’”
“That’s a strange name. Does he make house calls?”
“He sure does. Here, let me give you his business card. Just so you know, he’s a little eccentric, but Manny’s very good with unruly birds.”
“Ok, thank you.”
Tom took the business card and left the store. When Tom got home, he called the “bird whisperer.”
“Hello, may I help you?” Manny said over the phone.
“Yes, my name is Tom Rollins. Birds for All, the pet shop, recommended you to me.” Tom replied.
“What seems to be your problem, sir?”
“I have an unruly parrot; all he does is bite me.”
“May I ask what kind of bird it is?”
“It’s an Amazon, sir.”
“Oh, yes, they can be a bit snippy, but definitely manageable, if I do say so myself. Is this Saturday alright for you?”
“Yes, that’s perfect.”
“Ok, Mr. Rollins. Just so you know, I only accept cash; it will be $300.”
“Wow, that’s a lot; is that per lesson?”
“It will be for the only lesson I need for your birdie. One is all it takes. Just give me your address and I’ll be there promptly at two o’clock in the afternoon, alright?
“That will be fine. Let me know when you’re ready to take down my address.”
Tom gave the man his address over the phone. He knew that three hundred dollars, on top of the three thousand he’d already spent on the bird, was excessive, but it was well worth a shot to have a hopefully, loveable bird. Tom was going to have to explain this new expenditure to his wife. He was dreading that more than the money.
It was Saturday, about two-thirty in the afternoon. Tom Rollins was getting nervous.
“Honey, it’s well after two; he should have been here by now,” Tom told his wife with a worried look on his face.
“Calm down, dear, a car just pulled into our driveway,” his wife told him.
“Well, it’s about time.”
“This guy looks like a weirdo; he’s coming out of his car with a bunch of colorful birds on his shoulders.”
Tom looked outside the family room window that overlooked his driveway. Sure enough, his wife was right. A strange man was walking up the pathway with at least a half a dozen colorful parrots on his shoulders.
“Holy cow, the store clerk was right; he is bizarre,” Tom said.
The man finally made it to the front door, walking cautiously slow, so that he wouldn’t startle his birds. He rang the bell and waited while Tom opened the front door.
“I guess you’re Manny Draziw, the ‘bird whisperer?’” Tom asked.
“Yes, and you’re Tom, correct?” Manny asked while some of his birds were licking his face.
“Yes, come on in, Mr. Manny.”
“‘Manny’ will do just fine, Mr. Rollins.”
Manny walked in through the front door being escorted by Tom. He looked at the clock upon the wall and apologized for being late.
“Do you always travel with all of these birds on your shoulders, Mr. Draziw?” Tom asked him.
“They are my family; wherever I go, they come with me. This is Drago, Charlie, Sophie, Abbey, Benny, and Lucy,” Manny said while pointing at the individual birds.
“Say ‘hello’ to our customers,” Manny told his flock.
All of his birds answered with a resounding “hello.”
Manny asked Tom where their so-called unruly parrot was. Tom led him and his birds into the couple’s bedroom where his parrot was.
“Do you always leave him in his cage?” Manny emphatically asked.
“I have no choice, sir. Every time I try to take him out, he bites me. Look at my hands; this is all from his beak.
Tom showed the man his hands, which were largely covered with band aids. Manny just shook his head from left to right going “tsk-tsk.”
“What is his name, sir?” Manny asked him.
“I named him ‘Nippy,’ but I should have called him ‘the green monster,’ because that’s what he is,” Tom replied.
Manny asked Tom to leave the room; he wanted to be alone with the man’s bird. Tom thought it was unconventional, thinking he should be there, too, but he finally gave in and left the man alone with his bird. Manny closed the door to the room and went over to the green parrot in the cage.
“Ok, Nippy, I am your friend. Close your eyes and listen to my command,” Manny whispered.
Manny waved his hand over the bird’s cage and, miraculously, it fell into a hypnotic state. The bird hung on every part of Manny’s chant:
“Oh, green child of the sky and trees,
listen closely to the words I speak.
Only to eat and speak should you use your beak.
Be calm and love your owner, Tom.
My child of the sky and trees,
you will no longer have the whim to harm him.
At the count of three,
your love and loyalty will flow freely.
Awaken, my little dove.”
The Amazon parrot opened its eyes and said, “hello.” Manny came out of the bedroom with his birds and told Tom to enjoy his new pet.
“Really, that fast?” Tom asked.
“See for yourself,” Manny replied.
Tom went to his bird’s cage and opened the door.
“Hello!” Nippy exclaimed.
“Why, hello to you, too,” Tom told his bird.
Tom gingerly placed his hand into the cage and the bird hopped on it, licking his fingers.
“Wow! You’re a miracle-worker! I can’t believe it! What did you do to him?” Tom asked.
“I merely enchanted him to love you.”
“Enchanted? I know your methods may be a little unorthodox for me to understand, but, thank you.”
“Yes, of course. Now, as per our agreement, sir, that’ll be three hundred dollars please.”
Tom took out an envelope full of money from his pocket and handed it to the man. Tom was so excited that he thanked Manny again and began leading him to the front door, until, a loud scream broke the mood. Tom’s wife was severely bitten on her hand and arm.
“He’s nothing but a charlatan, a crook! Look at what that stupid bird did to me! Look at my hand!” she screamed while displaying her bloodied hand and arm.
“Hey, I want my money back!” Tom demanded.
“Sorry, but a deal’s a deal,” Manny replied.
“No, the bird is stillmean. Look at my wife!”
“Not to you, sir. Nippy will be true blue to you; in fact, Nippy will love you and only you. That was our arrangement. You didn’t say anything about your wife. THAT will be another three hundred dollars to fix, if you’d like.”
Nippy flew over and landed on Tom’s shoulder and licked his face. Then, he turned to Tom’s wife and looked at her bleeding hand.
“Squawk! Sucks for you. Sucks for you,” Nippy said while laughing.
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A Medieval Story by Manuel Rose
*WARNING:Not suitable for children under 13 years of age
In the kingdom of Hemming, young Prince David was out flying around on his dragon, Cathal, without a care in the world. Tomorrow was going to be his fifteenth birthday and he couldn't think of anything that he wanted. It was a beautiful day for flying and the prince would have stayed up there longer if it wasn’t for one of the lords signaling him from below. It was the king’s advisor, Lord James, the eunuch. David didn’t know what a “eunuch” was until he asked his father one day. It means a man who has had his lower parts removed for whatever reason; quite simply, Lord James can never father children, the prince remembered his father’s explanation.
“PRINCE DAVID! PRINCE DAVID! PLEASE COME DOWN! I MUST SPEAK WITH YOU! IT IS URGENT, PLEASE!” Lord James shouted from below.
Prince David did not want to come down, for he was having too much fun flying around in the sky, but the prince knew it must have been very important. He could see the urgency in the eunuch. The prince guided his trusty green dragon down to the ground near Lord James.
“What is it, my lord?” Prince David asked.
“My lord, your mother and father, the king and the queen, it seems they were…”
“Out with it, Lord James, what is it?”
“I am so sorry to have to tell you this, but they were both found beheaded on their thrones. I am so sorry.”
“Nooooo! I do not believe it! It is a lie!” the prince cried out.
“I assure you that it is not. Come, my lord, I will take you to them,” the eunuch sadly said.
“Cathal, you must stay here while I go with him,” Prince David commanded his dragon.
The two of them walked to the castle. When the prince got inside towards the thrones of both the king and the queen, he saw exactly what Lord James had told him. It was a bloody mess with what was left of his mother and father. The prince cried for a little while and then he became angry.
“WHO DID THIS TO THEM?!” Prince David furiously shouted.
“My lord, if I may, I suspect it was the king’s bastard son, Orvar,” Lord James replied.
“I WANT HIS HEAD AND I WANT IT NOW!”
“But, my lord, we need to swear you in as the new king and protect you. Surely, you must know your life is in danger. Orvar will be coming for you next since you are the only one who is standing in his way to the throne.”
“I understand, Lord James, but I must avenge my mother and father. I shall return, and when I do, I shall take my rightful place on the royal throne.”
Prince David left the eunuch and went straight to his dragon. Cathal had been patiently waiting there for his master, the prince. David mounted his dragon, gave him his command, and the two of them took to the sky, searching for the king’s bastard son, Orvar. Prince David was flying around the kingdom with Cathal all afternoon searching for Orvar.
Down below, hidden from view, under a large group of trees, Orvar was speaking to his men.
“You have done well, my friends. Now, we must eliminate the only one who stands in my rightful way of the throne…Prince David!” Orvar shouted out to his men.
“DEATH TO PRINCE DAVID!” one of the men shouted out loud.
The rest of the men repeated it until it sounded like a chant. Orvar and his small army of men were so preoccupied with their victory, that they didn’t notice what was flying around high above them. Prince David and Cathal had finally found what they were looking for, Orvar and his men. The prince looked down at them with nothing but hatred in his eyes. He gave the command to his dragon to burn them all.
“INCINERO!” Prince David shouted to Cathal.
With that command, the dragon shot out a huge red and yellow torch-like flame. Cathal had burned all of the men like a fireball. The prince showed no mercy while listening to the men scream in pain, knowing that he had achieved his vengeance. Unfortunately, for the prince and his dragon, their victory had been short-lived. Porir, another unknown bastard son from the king, had seen what his half-brother had done; and he, too, was hiding among the trees observing the group of treasonous scoundrels. Porir grabbed his crossbow and shot an arrow directly into the flying dragon’s heart. Cathal screamed a horrible roar of pain as he and the prince came crashing down to the earth.
“Now, I will be the rightful ruler of the kingdom of Hemming,” Porir said to himself.
Porir went over to Prince David and his dragon to make sure that they were both indeed dead. Cathal was lying there on the ground with both of his eyes closed, bleeding profusely from his new wound, while Porir reclaimed his arrow. The prince was half under one of the dragon’s wings; he, too, had his eyes closed and appeared to be dead.
“Too bad. Too bad,” Porir said to the two of them.
All of a sudden, Cathal half opened up one of his eyes, and with one last burst of energy, he shot out a small flame that was large enough to toast Porir to his miserable death. Prince David started to open up his eyes, too. He was slightly injured, but still alive.
“Cathal, my friend, are you alright?” Prince David asked while he stroked the dragon’s face.
But Cathal was not alright. He was dying. The prince stayed with him until the dragon finally closed his eyes and passed away. Prince David cried for him like a baby.
“You were my only true friend; I shall miss you, dearly. Farewell, my friend, farewell,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Prince David gave one last kiss to his dragon on its rough, green face. The prince was still in a little pain, especially in his right leg, but he was lucky to be alive. He slowly started walking back to his castle, knowing that he would be crowned the new, rightful king of the kingdom of Hemming.
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