Sunday, 29 May 2011

Free Story - The Parrot of Doom

The Parrot of Doom

R.G. Crossley

I had never seen a real parrot in the flesh (or should I say in the feather), before today.
From where I sat on the worn leatherette sofa in my partner, Morton Edge's, parents recreation room I stared at the brightly colored green, and yellow (but mostly green) parrot, with a mustard yellow stripe across his beak.  The bird sat on a perch in a cage that appeared to be designed to hold the Count of Monte Cristo it was so big.
The parrot (Edge explained his name is Hercules) had been dropped off by a client, and we were to interrogate it.
"So what is the parrot supposed to tell us?" I asked.
Edge looked up from the romance novel he'd been reading, his hazel eyes free from emotion. He rarely displays human emotion because he thinks it's a sign of weakness. I think it shows we're all human. I sometimes wonder if Edge is human because he sees the world in such a  different way.  Then again this is the reason he's so gifted at deductive reasoning, and so bad at human relations.
Human relations is my job at Razor and Edge Investigations. I'm the one who wears out his shoe leather.
"Razor, please refer to the parrot as Hercules.  He understands our every word, and I'm told he's offended when referred to as an object."
Objectifying a bird? Now I really have heard everything.
"Huh, yeah, sorry, Hercules," I said, directing my words to the parrot staring back at me with one coal-black eye.
I almost jumped out of my skin when the parrot spoke. "No worries," he said.  "Please call me Hercules."
"Uuuuhhh, yeah, OK."  My cheeks grew warm.  I couldn't believe it but I was embarrassed.  I shifted my bony behind on the sagging sofa cushion.  The darned thing is so old and ratty sometimes the springs press the flesh with the occupant.  This old sofa is where the butt meets the road.
I gathered my rattled senses and decided I better speak to the parrot.  "So, Hercules, what is it you're supposed to tell us?"
The reply was immediate.  He shuffled along the perch farther away from me then said,  "About Mr. Cunningham's affair." 
Hercules was certainly clear, but I was confused. I'd missed something so I directed my next question to my partner. "Edge, I'm obviously out of the loop, could you perhaps explain what's going on, and why Hercules is here?"
Edge closed his novel, after slipping in a bookmark, then set the book on the end table next to his Barcolounger.  "Do you wish to explain, Hercules?"
"After you, Mr. Edge."
Oh, brother. To this day I think Hercules was mocking me.
Edge nodded sagely. "Mrs. Cunningham contacted me asking us to follow her husband because she believed he was being unfaithful. She said she'd pay us any amount we asked for.  I explained we do not take those kind of cases."
Though I knew he was right, I was disappointed we'd lost a paying client to a little thing like ethics.  I frowned and glanced at the parrot sitting serenely on his perch then back at Edge.  "If you refused the case then why is the pa—I mean, Hercules, still here?"
"Because he knows something about Mrs. Cunningham's murder."
To say I was shocked by this revelation would be an understatement of the first magnitude.  "What?  Mrs. Cunningham is dead?  So who brought us the bird?"
"Mr. Cunningham," said the parrot.
I paused to consider the information I had so far. Mrs. Cunningham calls us to hire us to follow her husband who she thinks is having an affair.  She is then murdered, and her grieving husband brings us the bird. What? This is nuts.
"But why would Mr. Cunningham bring us the bird?"
Edge shook his head. "He didn't," my partner said matter of factly.
"I called Mr. Edge," said Hercules.
I gawked at the parrot.  He called Edge?
Edge chuckled. "Sorry, Razor, I've been having too much fun. Please forgive me." He paused and his lips formed a crooked smile. "Hercules knew Mrs. Cunningham had called us and pressed the re-dial on the phone. He told me that he'd witnessed Mr. Cunningham killing his wife.  He was indeed having an affair, and planned to run off with his lover. 
"After Hercules called me I contacted Detective Aimes telling him I had spoken to a witness to a murder, and that the murderer was about to kill the witness."
"Too true," interrupted Hercules.
Edge smiled then continued. "I gave Aimes the address and the police arrived in time to catch Mr. Cunningham attempting to flee, and they saved Hercules from certain death."
"I'm the parrot of doom," said Hercules.
Parrot of doom? Oh, brother. who knew a parrot could be so dramatic. Then again it would make a good blog title.
"So back to my original question," I said. "Why is he here?"
"The Cunningham's adult daughter is flying in from Los Angeles tomorrow.  She'll take Hercules back with her. We're looking after him until then."
"Oh." I eased back against the sofa cushion.
I snatched the TV remote off the scarred pine coffee table in fornt of the sofa.  "Wanta watch some TV, Edge?"
"I like the Home and Garden Network," said Hercules.
I looked at Edge. "Edge?"
He shrugged. "Parrot's choice."
I turned the television on and changed the channel to the Home and Garden Network.
Parrots choice indeed. Stupid parrot's gonna be doomed alright.

- end-

© R. G. Crossley 2011

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