Friday, October 12, 2007
Friday Snippet -- Kat Among the Pigeons
This is a little section from Kat Among the Pigeons that was originally in the first chapter, but really didn't fit there. I'm moving it to chapter two or even later, but I think it's a fun bit, so I'll drop it in here for now.
To recap a little -- and explain a couple things you haven't read -- Katilyn (the first person POV main character)is a fae border guard living in Estes Park Colorado, and keeping an eye on a piece of The Edge -- the area where the magical world brushes up against ours.
Katilyn can talk to and understand cats and birds. In my first snippet you met Cato, her cat. She also has an African Grey parrot named Shakespeare. The parrot was badly traumatized and the only sounds he makes are random quotes of poetry -- in other words, he doesn't speak 'bird' at all, so Kat can't talk to him and find out what's wrong.
In this snippet she's gotten some friends who own a bird shop to make a recording of one of their parrots so that she can play it for Shakespeare and see if that gets him to speak.
"We're going to try something new." I held up the little tape player so we could both look at it. I finally found the 'play' button and hit it on.
What would have been a lot of screeching for most people became the sound of excited bird voices in the background discussing weather and the shop owners bad taste in clothing. Just as well people couldn't understand what they said most times.
"Is this recording?" Richard asked, obviously holding the machine close to his mouth. The feedback got both Shakespeare and me to jump a little. "Yes. Good. I'm going to see if we can get Telora to speak. Come on lovely. Make some nice little birdy sounds for the poor African Gray. Come on my sweet --"
She began squawking in parrot, which I, unfortunately, could understand all too well.
"What is that?" Telora asked, worry in her voice. "What is that silver thing? Why is he pushing it toward me?"
"Very good, Telora. Nice bird. Say a few more things now."
"Oh gods of all feathers! He's going to kill me! Help! Help! I told you! I told you they EAT BIRDS! I saw it! Fried BIRDS! He's going to kill me! Help, help, help!"
"Not quite so loud, sweet."
"Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods! I'm going to be fried! The humans will kill us all! Someone help me, help me, help me!"
The other birds grew louder, a general mayhem of panic that Telora spread through the shop. I looked over at Shakespeare and shook my head, certain this was not going to help. I almost turned the recorder off, but suddenly, somewhere in the background, I could hear the very clear voice of a cockatiel speaking in badly accented parrot.
"Will you SHUT UP!" he shouted. I could even hear the shaking of a cage. "If I have to put up with this damn drama queen bullshit one more time I'm going to squeeze through these bars, break into your cage, and peck your eyes out! Shut up!"
"I thought they loved me. I thought they cared! They were only interested in food. Help! Help! Help!"
"Shut up! If they aren't going to kill you with that silver thing, I will. I'll shove it so far up your fancy feathered ass they'll be calling you mirror bird every time you open your mouth!"
"Help! Help! Help me!"
"Not so loud now, love," Richard said. "Calm down. That's a good bird. You're doing very well! This seems to be going well, Deb!"
"Look the human woman is coming!" Telora cried. She was almost gasping for breath now. "She's going to bring the knife! Oh help me, help me, help me --"
"I'll help you," the cockatiel shouted. The cage rattled again. "Just give me a chance and I'll help you! Let me out of here! Let me at her! I can't take any more of this crisis of the day crap! Half a year of this is more than you should ask of any bird! Let me kill her! She'd be good fried!"
"Just a little bit more, my sweet."
"I don't want to die! Don't let them kill me! Help! Help! Help!"
"I can't take any more! I can't stand it!" I could hear the sound of splashing water and odd, distorted bird sounds. They stopped after a moment. "Oh gods. This pathetic little water dish isn't even enough to drown myself in!"
"Gaylord, you silly little bird, what are you doing? Do you want a bath? Would you like to say something to the lovely little African Gray?"
"Oh yes, oh yes -- take the silver thing away," Telora said, sounding quite happy. "Kill the cockatiel instead. Yes, much better choice!"
"I'll remember that, sweetie."
I shut off the tape, gasping for breath and trying to laugh too loudly. Shakespeare didn't seem in the least little bit impressed.
I had to leave the room before I started laughing and Shakespeare took it badly. I went back to the room and fell face down on the pillow, trying to smoother my laugher.
"Oh good! Nap time!" Cato said and bounded up on the bed. "Under the covers, please. The morning is a bit nippy."
(And if you are wondering, Gaylord does become a major part of the story.)