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Astropup and Marlow were sent on a mission to capture a cat person. They themselves were taken prisoner by a six limbed space hound. It turns out that the leader of the space hounds is a parrot, just like the Parrot who is President of the World. In this episode the two Parrots come beak to beak.

Story by Bertie.

Read by Richard Scott.

Proofread by Jana Elizabeth.



Astropup and the Two Parrots -



This is Richard,

And finally I’ve managed to coax Astropup into barking up the conclusion to our mini-series about his adventure in space with Marlow. If you have a good memory, you will recall that Astropup and Marlow have been captured by a space hound with six limbs - two of which grip a scary laser gun. He’s taken them to meet their leader who turns out to be a parrot with an uncanny resemblance to the Parrot we know as President of the World. This other parrot has requested an audience on Earth with our own Parrot. Stand by for flying feathers, nuttiness and confusion. I leave all that sort of stuff to Astropup himself.

Thank you Richard for that little catch up. Yes, you are right, we flew back to Earth via one of Marlow’s worm holes. In case you are not steeped in Astrophysics and all that scientific what-have-you, worm holes are handy shortcuts through space that let you slip through light years in a matter of mere months. According to that pirate parrot fellow, who was a bit of a know-all (surprise, surprise) we were travelling back and forth through time as well as space. Now if you understand that, I can almost guarantee that you are either a human or a bird, because we dogs find time and space as hard to grasp as a squirrel’s tail.

There was one thing my canine brain did understand well - we were running a stupendous risk. You see, we were no longer travelling in our own human made spacecraft, for that was too small to carry the parrot and his retinue of space hounds. No, we were using one of his giant spaceships captured from the cat people. Just imagine what the world would think when it saw a humungous object with pointy ears and whiskers hurtling towards it. Mr President, the Parrot, would not hesitate to order a nuclear strike. And that, my friends, would be the end of our story. We would be over and out - not with a dignified doggy whimper, but with one great big bang.

And so as we approached our beloved blue planet, I was not jumping up and down with joy, but shaking uncontrollably. “Oh, Oh, Oh! “I can almost see Mr President pressing his claw on the red button. Little does he know that he is about to blow up his old friend and comrade - yours truly.”

After I had been whining for about an hour or so, the parrot said:

“Will somebody please shut that pathetic mutt up? All that sniveling is giving me a headache.”

A six limbed space hound pointed his laser gun at me.

“Go on, shoot, put me out of my misery,” I said.

But Marlow sprung to his feet and placed himself between me and the gun. “Hey, hey, hey,” he said. “Zapping the President’s best friend is no way to get into his good books.”

The parrot put his green head on one side and looked at Marlow quizzically. He was not used to being defied. I was pretty sure he was taking one last look at this queer rebel before saying:

“So what do I care? Shoot both of them.”

But he must have had second thoughts because what he actually said was:

“There’s no point in killing these idiots now. We’ve suffered them across half the Universe. We’ve almost arrived.”

“Phew,” I thought. “We’re still alive… for the time being.”

I think he wanted us around so that he could show off to us. He had something quite spectacular up his feathers. A few minutes later he flew over to the control panel and pecked at some buttons. A big screen switched on. It was all beautiful and blue. We stared at it, mesmerised.

The parrot said:

“What you see is the sky over the West Coast of the Earth continent known as North America. Now for some art and some science.”

He pressed some other buttons and hey presto - he had painted a picture in the sky. It was of two parrots facing each other - almost identical - except that one was grasping a nut in his claw and holding it up as an offering to the other.

“This sign is a mile high and a mile wide,” he told us. Nobody living in the city of LA will fail to notice it. Any bird will immediately understand its meaning. We come in Peace.”

And more importantly, I’m glad to say we're still in one piece. Naturally a giant cat ship received a cautious welcome. We splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and were towed into harbour by a warship. I went up on deck to smell the salt air. I saw boats bristling with guns and jet planes buzzing back and forth overhead. The throb throb throb of helicopter blades spoiled what would have been a nice sea cruise.

The humans had been expecting hostile cat people and they must have been pleasantly surprised to see my friendly tail wagging with joy. As we pulled alongside the quay I greeted rows of soldiers by barking at the top of my voice. Some of them smiled at me, but their expressions changed when a pair of six legged space hounds emerged from below decks. Finally a third dog appeared with a parrot perched on his head. The parrot spoke into a microphone that had been set up for him and his voice rang around the harbour:

“Take me to your leader.”

The meeting of the two Parrots was one of the most extraordinary encounters I have ever witnessed. It took place in the throne room of the President’s Summer Palace.
He had created a sort of avine heaven. The gardens were fragrant with orange and lemon blossom. Inside, the walls were painted with pictures of trees that were so realistic I had an urge to lift my leg at them. Pretty budgies hopped in and out of the playful indoor fountain. Wire containers packed with nuts dangled from the ceiling. The President perched himself on the back of a carved wooden throne that had once belonged to the Emperor of China. The visiting parrot - who, judging by looks, might have been his twin, stood on the muscular shoulder of a space hound.

“Well, well, well,” said the President. “To hold, as twere, the mirror up to nature. Are you art or are you real?”

To which the pirate parrot replied:

“I am not art but I am an artist.”

The Presidential Parrot nodded and said:

“Yes, I enjoyed your painting in the sky.”

At which point Marlow stepped forward: “Mr President Sir, perhaps I had best explain. You sent us across the Universe to capture a cat person. We have accomplished our mission in style, bringing with us not only a cat person as our prisoner, but a fully equipped feline warship. This ship was originally taken by band space hounds who are led by this here parrot who is the spitting image of yourself. On his side of the Universe, he is leading the struggle against the cat people. He expressed a desire to meet you and so we have brought him to you.”

“You have done well,” said the Parrot.

“Woof,” I barked with pride, because I never thought I would hear him say that.

It was all a bit of a love-in, because the pirate parrot added: “Both Marlow and Astropup have proved themselves to be brave and worthy soldiers. If I were you, I would reward them well.”

“Oooh, can I have a dog biscuit?” I asked.

“And can I have a house overlooking the beach in Malibu?” said Marlow.

“You shall be rewarded in due course,” said the President.

“Tell me,” said the pirate,” I am curious because Marlow is the only human I have got to know. Is the human race in general like him? I am surprised that they were intelligent enough to elect a Parrot as their leader?”

The President nodded. “Good question,” he said. “Humans in general are not as stupid as they seem. They are not short of intelligence. But they are lazy. In recent times, the whole of human society has dumbed down. They spend their lives playing with mobile phones, watching inane programmes on TV, and scrolling their touchpads. They have come to despise their leaders, who are vain and corrupt, and the only people they admire are empty headed celebrities, film stars, pop singers, fashion models, and the like. They consult these stars’ opinions on everything from moral philosophy to dieting. Naturally when the election for the World President came up, a number of famous celebrities put their names forward. In normal times one of them would have been elected. But the threat from the cat people is pressing. People are afraid. In times like these, they are ready to vote for a leader who has superior bird brain intelligence.”

“Well what could be better than a bird brain?” asked the pirate.

“Two bird brains,” said the President.

“Precisely!” exclaimed the pirate.

He then outlined a treaty in which the two Parrots would carve up the Universe between them. The world, lead by our own Presidential Parrot, would rule the Universe this side of the star known as Canis Major. The Universe on the other side of the star would be the empire belonging to the Planet of the Dogs, lead by the pirate parrot. Together they would take on the cat people and bring Pax Avis to the Cosmos.

The Parrots seemed delighted with each other. The President flew over to the pirate and they touched beaks. I had never seen him express any sort of affection before, let alone kiss another being.

They then went off to tour the feline spaceship together. The pirate said he wanted to show him the gift he had brought from the other side of the Universe.

When they were gone, Marlow said:

“I’ve a funny sort of feeling, and normally my funny sort of feelings are right unfortunately. I just don’t trust that bird.”

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