Great audiobook "Astropup: Which Parrot? - Astropup" online free
Are two Parrots better than one? Or is there only room in the Universe for one megalomaniac feather brain? We continue the mini-saga of the two Parrots.
Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard Scott.
Proofread by Jana Elizabeth
When the President of the World enters an alien spaceship for the first time, the TV cameras are there to broadcast it live as it happens. Marlow and I watched in the TV room of the President’s Summer Palace. We saw the two Parrots hop out of a limousine, and even I, who knew our President better than anyone else in the whole wide Universe, could not tell which was him and which was the pirate. They walked side by side up the gangplank into the mouth of the feline battlecruiser. They looked so comfortable together, you might have thought they were lifelong friends, or perhaps twins.
The TV commentator said:
Earlier this year, the world elected a Parrot as its first President. Who could have said that a mere three months later, an extra-terrestrial bird so alike to our own leader would land in a spaceship for this historic meeting?
“I would say that the President is doing a rash and foolish thing,” commented Marlow, “But since he’s meant to be so brainy, who am I to say it?”
“I can tell you now,” I barked loyally, “he’s the last person to be rash or foolish,” and then I thought for a moment, “By the way, what does rash mean?”
Marlow ran my gruffs through an app on his phone that translated them into human speech. As he listened to the playback, he nodded, before replying, “Well rash means – like – acting suddenly, perhaps unwisely, on the spur of the moment without thinking. It’s a dangerous trait in a President.”
“Oh,” I said, “That’s how he behaves all the time. In fact, now that I know what rash means, I would say that it is the exact word for him. Are you saying that it’s not good to be rash if you are the President of the World?”
“No it isn’t,” said Marlow shaking his head.
“Oh,” I said.
A couple of hours went by before the two parrots re-emerged from the spaceship. Again the world’s TV cameras were focused on the Alien Encounter. The friends walked down the gangplank together. The TV commentator said:
"The President takes his place on the back seat of his limousine and flaps a fond thank you to the alien parrot. The visiting parrot seems lost in thought. Perhaps he too finds this whole encounter quite extraordinary."
“If you ask me,” said Marlow, “The visiting parrot looks like he’s about to keel over.”
And it was true, he was wobbling from side to side. When the camera gave us a close up of his face, I would say he looked like a sick parrot.
“Perhaps something he ate didn’t agree with him?” I suggested. We watched the limousine pull away. The commentator purred:
"I think it is no exaggeration to say that after today’s proceedings, the world will never be the same again."
It seemed to escape his attention that the visiting parrot was leaning on the side of a six limbed space hound as he returned to the ship. The alien did not seem well at all.
“I don’t suppose it’s possible,” said Marlow, “like, it’s just a thought, but…. do you think perhaps the President poisoned him? Passed him a bad nut or something? Is that why he visited him in his spaceship? – to get rid of him?”
“I wouldn’t like to say,” I woofed. I did not like to think of my old friend doing something evil like that.”
We did not have to wait very long before we were able to speak to the President in person, or perhaps that should be,“in Parrot." (Wuff! Whatever). He arrived back at the Summer Palace within the hour. We waited for him in the throne room. As he swept in, flanked by two body guards, he said:
“Bow Wow?” I asked?
“No you stupid mutt, bow down. I’m your President. You’re my subject. You bow.”
“Oh,” I said, and bowed my head. But Marlow held up his hand to speak and said:
“Excuse me Mr. President, Sir, this is a democracy.”
“We’ll soon see about that,” said the Parrot ominously, before adding: “I’ve had a very interesting conversation with my colleague. He’s a wise bird that alien. He’s given me a ton of good advice, and I intend to take it.”
“Are you feeling alright?” I asked, “It’s not like you to follow advice.”
“No, it isn’t,” he replied. “But it is not everyday that I meet somebody with a brain so brilliant as the alien parrot’s. Why .. he’s so smart, he could be me!”
His mood was so light and happy, he could almost have been in love. He was hopping around on the backrest of his thrown, flapping his wings, and practically cooing like a dove. Then he looked at me and squarked:
“Astropup, you’re a top dog, how would you like to be a space hound?”
“What would I have to do?” I asked.
“Oh, It’s just a minor operation,” he said, “to sew on a couple of extra limbs, followed by a brain implant to make you unquestioningly obedient, and then six months military training. After that, you’ll be able to travel the Universe and shoot cats. It’s a great career for a dog, no?”
“No thanks,” I said. “I’ve already seen the Universe and I prefer to stay at home.”
“Oh well,” said the Parrot. “I’m sure there will be no shortage of volunteers.”
And that was how we were the first to hear of his plan to recruit an army of dogs to convert into space hounds. There were indeed volunteers. First came the stray, desperate dogs who had nothing to lose. They were not necessarily the fittest physical specimens. Then the World Government started to offer good money to owners to hand over their pets. It was all presented as being in a good cause – the best in fact – to help save the Universe from the cat people. They must have cut the six months military training back, because by the end of the summer, we started to see space hounds patrolling the streets. A scary sight, particularly if you were a cat.
Yes, you can’t call me a friend to cats, not just the alien cat people, but also the domestic sort who creep uninvited into your back garden and stalk innocent little birdies. Woof! I’m no laggard when it comes to chasing a cat up a tree! But shooting moggies on sight! Surely that’s not sporting. Those space hounds were armed with laser guns, and they were trigger happy. All it took was a scent or a glimpse of a cat, and lasers would be flashing across the street. The sound of sirens would fill the air and a truck full of hounds would pull up, cordon off the area, and wrap barbed wire around the trees. There were reports of the hounds leaping across fences and hedges, and letting off lasers in family gardens. Marlow tried to tell the Parrot that the situation was becoming intolerable, but all he got for his pains was a threat that he could soon be the first human to be converted into a space hound. I’ve never seen him look so frustrated. He thought that if the Parrot did not change his ways, he would soon have revolution on his hands. There were already demonstrations on the streets. People were marching along side dogs, and yes, cats. For the first time in history, dogs and cats were uniting in a single cause – The chanting went something like this:
“Stop-the-Parrot! Save-our-Pets! – woof! woof! woof! – Mee-ow!"
Often there would be confrontations with the space hounds. The lasers would come out and the demonstrators would scatter in all directions.
Throughout those turbulent days, Marlow and I went for daily walks along the beach, and he would throw my ball into the surf for me to run out and fetch. Later, when I had shaken myself dry, we would sit and gaze out to the horizon. It was at times like these that he could speak some of his thoughts out loud to me. They were dangerous thoughts, and I was the only being he trusted to keep them confidential. One day he said to me:
“I knew that Mr President was on the nutty side, but I didn’t actually think of him as an evil dictator.”
“Woof!” I said, chasing away a suspicious-looking seagull. You can’t be too careful about who is listening to your conversation these days. When I came back, wagging my tail, he said:
“You know Astropup, you’ve travelled the cosmos with the Parrot, you must know him better than anyone. What would be your reaction if I was to say to you that he’s not the same Parrot you knew? What if I was to say to you that in fact, that day he went into the feline spaceship, he came out again a different bird – literally – like he was switched?”
“Switched on or off?” I asked, gruffing into his translation app.
“Not switched like that,” he replied. “Swapped. Taken prisoner. In other words, Mr President Sir is not Mr President at all, but Mr Pirate Parrot. A scarily similar kind of bird, only more evil. Much more evil.”
“Woof,” I said, which translated into English means: "Don’t ask me about all that clever stuff, I’m just your dog.”
“But you don’t think I’m positively wrong?” asked Marlow.
“No,” I said, “I think you’re positively right. He even smells like the pirate parrot – sort of musty.”
“You never told me that before!” exclaimed Marlow.
“You never asked,” I replied. “Do you think it’s important?”
“Yes I do,” he said leaping to his feet. “I think it’s the most important fact in the world right now.”
I knew that look in Marlow’s eye. He was determined to do something. It made me uneasy. In my experience, doing something always leads to trouble.
Indeed, the trouble began when, a few days later, Marlow took me to a meeting with the leaders of the resistance. We were picked up by a car on a street corner and driven around in the dark, eventually to a secret house that smelt, I am afraid to say, of cat food. GRRRR Yuk. There was a bowl of dog biscuits on the floor but they were out-stunk by the feline food. Indeed, this branch of the resistance had three leaders, a dog, a cat and a human. The dog was a spirited jack russell called, originally, Jack. The cat was a one-eyed bandit called by the name of Rudy. I can’t remember what the human was called. When I turned my nose up at the scruffy fellow, – the cat I mean – Jack gave me a ticking off.
“We’re all on the same side now,” he said sternly. “That’s what your friend the Parrot has achieved. For the first time in the history of the world, cats and dogs are united in a common cause – against him.”
“I didn’t expect you to be such a fan of his.”
“I didn’t mean it as a compliment,” he growled.
“Hey, hey hey,” said Marlow, who could see two dogs snarling at each other, “we've come here on a diplomatic mission.
Most of the talking went on between him and the human. Every now and then the cat would interrupt with a comment like:
“That’s too much, you’re killing me.”
“You don’t expect us to believe that, do you?"
"What do you take us for?”
Fortunately, I don’t think either of the men were fluent in meow, and the catty comments went unnoticed. The upshot of the negotiations was this: The resistance wanted to storm the Summer Palace and depose the President. Marlow argued it would be easier, less expected, and more interesting to attack the feline cat ship. In the end, Marlow’s view won the day. I think they realized that taking the Summer Palace would involve a huge battle, and they were not yet ready for it.
The attack on the feline spaceship was a brilliant example of cooperation between previously warring species. The advance attack was lead by a troop of three black cats. Their task was to slip between the space hounds who guarded the perimeter of the craft. They crawled on their bellies through the night, gripping plastic explosives between their teeth. They climbed up onto the roof of the ship and silently slid down behind the backs of two guards on the door of the ship. When they had placed the charges around the hinges of the door, they slid away silently. Half a minute later a huge “CABOOM!” shook the harbour and the door blew off the spaceship. A squad of attack dogs bounded up the ramp while human rebels opened fire with laser guns.
The objective of the mission was to bring out the Parrot who was somewhere inside the ship. If he was alive, we were to bring him out alive. I went inside to sniff him out, for I knew his scent better than anyone.
“Woof Woof!" I said. “Parrot, my old friend, where are you?” I asked, in every corner of the ship. But he was nowhere to be found. Outside barks and the zap zap zap of laser guns. Marlow said:
“Hurry up Astropup, the Government forces are counter-attacking.”
Lasers were already shooting through the open door and bouncing around the spaceship.
“Astropup, I think we’ve had it,” said Marlow.
“Not yet, you haven’t,” said a sleepy, squawky, unmistakable voice.
“Parrot,” I said, “Is it you?”
“No it’s your mother,” he replied. Before adding: “Of course it’s me, who did you think it was?” I could see him now, sitting in a cage suspended from the rafters of the ship.
“Well you could be the alien parrot,” said Marlow, “And you could be the Presidential Parrot.”
“No,” I woofed, “That’s him alright, my old friend the President. Only he could be sarcastic at a time like this.”
“Are we playing, 'Guess who I am', or are we trying to make a spectacular escape?” asked the Parrot.
“We’re trying to guess who you are,” I said.
“Well I suggest that Marlow gets over to the control panel and I tell him how to fly this object,” said the President.
Which was how, just as the Government forces were about to board us, the whole ship rose up above the harbour and fired lasers back down at them. From the ground it must have looked like the War of the Worlds. I watched the laser show from one of the portholes, and it was pretty good to see our attackers scattering this way and that. “Woof Woof Woof!" I barked, “serve you right for backing the wrong parrot.”
“Head for the palace!” screeched the right Parrot. “I’m going to un-perch that imposter!”
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- Genre: Legends & Fairy Tales
- Author: Astropup