The doggy door does, in fact, let out into Josiah’s version of the White House. He can tell it’s his version of the White House because it smells like him, and also because there are places on the doors with his teeth marks in them.
Punch says, “okay, we’re here. Now what?”
Josiah snorts. “I don’t know! You’re the ones that insisted I come along with you lot. I don’t have a clue about any of this nonsense. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a bird.”
“But I am,” says Snipe. “I’m a bird! Look! Look at this!” Snipe spreads his wings, revealing the spots where he’s molted. “We need to find feathers!”
Josiah gives a heavy sigh. “So you want to go deal with Eli Yale.”
“Yes,” says Punch. The little dog gives an excited series of yaps. “That’s exactly it!”
“Alright,” says Josiah. “This way. Let’s just get it over with.”
Eli Yale is a Hyacinth Macaw. These birds are one of the largest parrots in the world when measured by length. Their tail is long and pointed. Their feathers are a brilliant blue, but the rings around their eyes and just beneath their beak are yellow.
Eli Yale sits in a cage in one of the rooms away from the main bustle of the White House. He tends to be a very loud bird. Today, though, he’s very quiet.
He sits at the bottom of his cage, nestled in the back.
Josiah says, “here’s your feathers.”
Eli Yale stretches his head up, catches sight of them, and then squawks, “go away! Go away! I don’t want company today! I didn’t go to the meeting for a reason!”
Snipe flies up, clinging to the side of the cage with his claws. “We’re here to help! We’re here to help, don’t worry!”
“There is no help,” says Eli Yale. He spreads out his wings, revealing where big patches of his blue feathers have been pulled away. “I’m ugly! I’m hideous! Look at me, look at me! Wait, no, don’t do that! Don’t look at me!”
Punch yips, “I don’t get it! Why do you think this is happening?”
Josiah says, “wait just one moment. What did you just say, Eli Yale?”
“You heard me,” wails Eli Yale. He flaps his wings more. Small tufts of feathers go flying across the bottom of the cage floor. “Don’t look at me! I’m ugly! I’m ugly!”
For all that Josiah doesn’t want to get involved…he can’t help it. He’s heard someone else say that, and recently.
With another heaved out sigh, Josiah says, “alright, let’s go. I think we’ve got a clue.”
Punch’s ears prick up. “What, really?”
But Josiah is already turning and leaving the room.
Katelynn E Koontz – Author