1 - Prolog of the Mr. Kitten Murder Mystery


"Never, never, never surrender!"

"Would you like to come out, Winston Churchill?" Captain Peacock asked. "Fly around free for a while?"

"Freedom," the bird said as the Captain opened the large cage. "All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."

The Captain laughed as Winston half hopped, half flew out of the cage, stretching his great grey wings and fluttering about the room. He was a grey Macaw parrot, much like the English Prime Minister himself had. Macaws can live to over 100 hundred years, and Winston Churchill's own parrot is rumored to still be alive in a pet shop, unfit for sale because of constant obsene rants against the Nazis. Macaws can reproduce the sounds they hear with uncanny fidelity. Parrot voices on television and movies are routinely done by human voice actors because a parrot's really voice sounds too human. Parrots can also learn to imitate the telephone, the smoke detector and police sirens and demonstrate these skills in the middle of the night. Winston Churchill had been carefully taught a selection of the great statesman's famous quotation.

The Captain watched him fondly and went back to his chair. "Don't make a mess, now Winston. I'm not supposed to let you out of your cage in here. I don't want to get in trouble with Helen," he said, referring to his niece Helen, the lady of the house.

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others," Winston replied.

"There's no reason to upset her, she's upset enough already these days, you know," the Captain mumbled. "Polly want a cracker?"

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

The Captain looked at the bird sharply, and then chuckled to himself. It was easy to forget that the bird didn't really know what he was saying. "Polly want a cracker?" The Captain asked. He smiled and corrected himself as the bird stared at him implacably. "Winston want a cracker?"

The bird flew to the windowsill and stood with his head tilted to the left. "A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject."

The Captain frowned at the bird, then shrugged and walked to the sideboard. He picked up a chocolate from a box there, then patted his broad stomach and changed his mind about eating it. He offered it to the bird. "Winston want a chocolate?"

Winston Churchill flew to the sideboard and carefully took the chocolate in his beak. The Captain went back to his wingchair by the window and immersed himself in his paper and his pipe.

After a few minutes, the bird spoke again, immitating the famous exchange betweeen Lady Nancy Astor and Sir Winston Churchil. "Sir, if you were my husband, I would put poison in your tea" the parrot said in a high female voice. "Madam," the parrot answered himself in a masculine voice, "If I were your husband, I would drink it."

If it was an attempt at communication, it was lost on the Captain. He did not pay attention. The bird flew to the davenport and collapsed behind it. The Captain did not hear him.. Nor did he hear his final words.

"Although always prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it should be postponed." Pin It Now!

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