Percentage: 73.2 (109% of target)
Update: Wordcount: Daily = 4,216 , Total = 37,343
Percentage: 74.68 (112% of target)
Reclaiming my lead! Some of this was written after my blogpost last night, but much of it was this morning. If I continue in this trend, I might even make it to 40k by the end of today!
Am about to go to work now - thanks to my manager for letting me start an hour and a half later (due to working an extra two hours last night with IT stuff).
Tiriki's about to go to school. Wish him luck! (Or to be precise, wish JOSH, the boy taking him to school, luck. He's gonna need it!)
But first, the escapades in the Bird Shed.
Matilda is a red-tailed black cockatoo, and Major is a Major Mitchell cockatoo. Both are Australian. I shall have to go through later and Aussie-tiss Matilda's speech. Shouldn't be too difficult, after I did the magpies in "Aroha's."
They're having so much fun, Tiriki realised, the other birds should join in too. He flew up to the line of cages and hopped along, lifting latches and shunting bolts, sliding doors and undoing twisty ties. Doors swung open, or were pushed up, cages opened.
Very few of the birds came out, most stayed huddled in their cages, gazing at him with slightly frightened eyes.
“Come on,” he encouraged one, “come out and fly!”
“We can't,” muttered a bright pink cockatoo, a galah. “I've never flown in my life. I might fall on my face.”
“It's scary,” said another, “bad things happen out there.”
Tiriki laughed. “What bad things? Flying isn't hard, you're a clever bird, you'll figure it out.”
'No,” said a sharp voice, “she won't.” A large black cockatoo alighted on the cage bars above him, and slid the door shut with her foot. “She'll stay right here, in her cage, where she belongs.”
He rounded on the cockatoo, a female. “What are you doing?” He snapped.
She rose her crest and glared at him. “Stopping you from doing too much damage,” she replied. “These birds are captive born and bred. Look at them,” she nodded at a parakeet, who was careening around the room, as fast as a feather in a wind storm. “They've no control. You let five-eights of birds fly loose in here, and there'll be mid-air collisions, broken wings and shattered spines. Not a pretty sight. And if any are misfortunate enough to survive and get outside? They'll starve. Or freeze. They're domestics,” she said.
“What about you? You're not going crazy.” Tiriki's own head-feathers rose with his ire. He did not like being told what to do. “I don't remember opening your cage,” he added.
“No,' she replied, “I'm not. I was hatched in an open-flighted aviary. And you didn't. I let myself out, to stop you making a mess of things.” She ducked as the parakeet whizzed past again.
“Wheeeeeee!” He cried, “I can flyyyyyyyyy.”
“Me too!” Another parakeet was moving across the floor, making weird little flapping hops that didn't quite succeed in getting her airborne.
The black cockatoo shook her head. “It's just embarrassing,” she sighed. “That our kind should be reduced to this.”
“But if you can let yourself free, why are you still here? Why don't you just leave?”
She laughed. “It ain't as easy as that, my little freshwings. The world out there,” she nodded at the door, now firmly shut and probably bolted, “is more wire. There's no escape that way.” She paused, and lowered her beak close to his ear. 'But me and me mates, we're planning our escape. Only, we can't take 'em all – most of 'em would be liabilities. But you,” she nudged him in a friendly manner, “you're from outside, aren't you?”
“Yes,” Tiriki agreed.
“Come with me,” she took flight, gliding down to the counter top where the two kea chicks were still at play, now rolling a small ball to one another. Tiriki followed, having to drop suddenly to avoid being struck by the cavorting parakeet. He landed beside her and watched as the out-of-control bird plunged straight into another free flying parakeet and the two of them tumbled to the ground in a cascade of feathers and fowl language. He crashed straight into the hop-flying bird and sent her tumbling too.
“I'm okay, we're okay!” He crowed, as the three birds staggered to their feet and stumbled about.
The cockatoo shook her head. “Just embarrassing,” she repeated. “I'm Matilda, by the way.”
“Tiriki,” Tiriki replied, frowning at her. “Ain't that a human name?”
Matilda bobbed her head. “I told you,” she said, “cage born and bred. And this is Major.”
A splendid cockatoo cruised down to join them. His plumage was a delicate pink, with bands of a brighter shade adorning his crest and wings. He bowed his head at Tiriki in greeting.
“Pleasure to meet you, outsider,” he said.
“How did you get out?” Tiriki sputtered. “I didn't open your cage.”
“We cockatoo have our ways,” Major replied, his dark eyes gleaming. “We are not as foolish as we lead the humans to think.”