The clambering, barking, yipping, yowling, and hissing dies down. The crowd clears, enough that a bald eagle can step into the center of the Room.
The eagle has no official name. He belongs to James Buchanan, and shares the White House with a Toy Terrier named Punch and a Newfoundland named Lara.
Like all bald eagles, this one has a cluster of white feathers on his head, and a wide wing span. Eagle stands as though he’s in charge, a proud predator of the sky.
Snipes is unimpressed, jeering, “hurry up, old man! We don’t have all day! We don’t! We don’t!”
Eagle clacks his beak several times. “I’m sure you’re all wondering why you’ve been gathered here. Rest assured, it’s for a great, and terrible, cause.”
“Just tell them,” calls Snipes. Several other birds take up the cause, chittering, chattering, and whistling with their impatience.
Eagle says nothing until silence settles over the Room once more. “In total, nineteen Presidents own birds. We are many in number. Roosters, parrots, finches – but a plague of troubles are sweeping over us.”
Again, the other birds take up a chorus. They screech and shriek and whistle, flapping their wings hard enough, in the ethereal space of the Room, that it starts up a small bluster.
Josiah is unimpressed.
Birds, he’s found, can be very melodramatic. Especially the flashy ones.
When the birds die down in their fussing, Eagle says, “look!”
Eagle flings his wings out, revealing the full spread of his wings. Where once there stood lovely feathers of glossy black and white, now the plumage is mottled and patchy.
“This is happening through out the winged Presidential Pets,” shouts Eagle. His voice is booming, a thunder clap. “There is no cause! We don’t know why this is happening! We can only assume that it’s the Room, and the magic that binds us together, trying to tell us something! There is an issue in the avian community! We need your help to find it and fix it! We call on your, our fellow Presidential Pets, for help.”
Once more, the Room erupts into sound. Only this time, it’s not just the birds. Everyone is clambering for a chance to ask questions, demand answers, and state their thoughts. The chatter is deafening.
Josiah shakes his head. “I don’t see how anyone’s supposed to think with all this noise.”
Snipes says, “think with your brain, not your ears! Not your ears! Not your ears!”
Josiah gives the bird an irate look. “My,” he says. “You’re just so helpful.”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author