Note: We've had so much fun with serialized stories that I'm trying my hand at one again! Here's the next installment of a new adventure for Cara Mia Delgatto and her friends. To read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 scroll to the bottom of the blog post and click on OLDER POST.
Skye was thrilled with Kookie. The minute she came through the front door, she raced over to see the bird, even though she was still wearing her server's uniform from Pumpernickel's. Usually Skye can't wait to get out of the black slacks and white blouse. They are totally not her style.
"Isn't he beautiful?" she gushed. "I didn't realize he'd be a blue-eyed cockatoo. These are really, really rare. An endangered species or close to it."
In response, Kookie eyed her warily. With a bit of coaxing, Skye was able to get the big white bird to step onto her outstretched finger. He stared at her, fluffed his feathers and wailed, "Helen? Kookie loves you!"
"Poor baby." Skye brought him closer for a cuddle, and Kookie allowed her to rub her face against his chest. But he didn't give her a kiss like he'd given Helen.
This love fest went on for half an hour. Finally, Skye let Kookie take his place back on his perch. "I'm going to run upstairs and get him grapes and carrots. He'll love those."
As she raced away, MJ shook her head at me. "I was wrong about what a cockatoo is worth. At least, I was wrong about what this one is worth."
"Not as valuable as you thought, eh?" I chuckled.
"On the contrary. Much more valuable. A bird like Kookie would go for ten grand at least."
I coughed. "Pardon? Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. He's a blue-eyed cockatoo. That ring of bright blue around his eyes? It's a telltale marker. That's the clue I didn't have."
"Wow," I said, channeling my friend Kiki Lowenstein.
"Should I start writing an ad for Kookie? Sid can put him up on Craigslist and some of the other sales sites."
I thought about Skye's reaction. She never asked me for anything. Lately she'd been kind of down because her relationship with Lou, a local detective, had hit a rough patch. "Not right now," I said. Once the excitement of owning a big bird wore off, perhaps she'd be willing to trade the cockatoo for cash.
"Have it your way," said MJ, with a shrug that told me she thought I was absolutely nuts.
A few days went by, and I came to agree with her. Although Skye was totally smitten with the bird, the cockatoo had not settled in. Hour after hour, he cried, "Helen? Kookie loves you!" He fixated on the front door, growing excited each time it opened and despondent when Helen did not magically appear. Worse yet, he had started to pluck out his own feathers. Each morning, I swept up a small pile from the floor around the cage.
"I'm really, really worried about him." Skye started chewing a fingernail.
"I'll call my friend Pete, the vet," said MJ. "But you're going to owe me, Skye, because Pete only wants to be re-paid by going on a date together. If I do this for you, you better come up with something really, really great to make it up to me."
Skye nodded. "I will."
~To Be Continued~
Okay, kids! Show me some love! If you are liking this serialized short story, go to my Facebook page and hit "Like" the little blue thumb in a tiny white box under the big picture of me. (My toes point to the right. There are three boxes. "Like" is the second box.) Or tell a friend about the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series. Here are the links: Tear Down and Die http://tinyurl.com/TearDD and Kicked to the Curb http://tinyurl.com/KickedTTCurb