I’m rounding up Kiki’s party week and calling last parrots, whoops, I mean last drinks! I’ve decided to not focus on the kung fu theme of the Kiki’s debut novel, Enter the Parrot, but instead to focus on the flock of parrots who sprout clues to heroine Jade.
The parrots have all been named after famous characters/people: so we have John Wayne, Buffy, Obi Wan Kenobi, Bruce Lee, Inigo Montoya and Jack Sparrow. The use of parrots to provide clues is clever, especially when their repertoire is not limited to ‘Hello Polly.’
I really don’t get the attraction to birds as pets. But that may be because our family pet cockatoo (named Chook) lived in an aviary metres from my bedroom window and delighted in shrieking the place down every morning. You think waking up to a rooster crowing is bad? Wait until you’ve had a late night, and the cockatoo starts it’s alarm clock ritual as soon as the sun comes up. There ain’t no snooze button. And me yelling out ‘Shut up, Chook!’ through my window just egged her on more.
I’m not sure Chook would have been clever enough to learn clues. One of her favourite phrases was ‘Naughty Boy Christopher’ which was certainly no clue to a mystery, as Christopher was my younger brother’s name. She’d often have excursions out of her aviary, would stomp around the house like she owned it, and terrorise one of my parent’s friends by chasing her around the house (they say dogs know who is scared of them, I think it must work for birds too).
Chook liked to dance. Stand in front of her and bob your head up and down and she would do the same, often matching your rhythm. She was also very fond of a scratch under her wings and would span them out for maximum benefit and bow her head forward for a scratch of the crest. But she also had her naughty days, and chewing through the freezer cord was one of her less brilliant moments (luckily she didn’t electrocute herself).
If we had a parrot now, I’m sure it would alternate between shouting ‘Robbie!’ (mimicking me) and ‘Dorkus’ (mimicking Robbie). No, Robbie doesn’t call me Dorkus, but my cat is usually getting in all kinds of mischief, prompting a shout from his father. But at least the cat wakes me up gently with a tap on the shoulder (though sometimes he divebombs the bed) instead of a ear-drum piercing shriek, and Dork has yet to chew his way through a power cord – books yes, cords no.
So if you owned a parrot, what clue would it give about your life?