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Matchmaker: FREE read Part 3

Happy Boxing Day to my British friends and family. As promised, here is the final episode of Matchmaker, a little romance of the feathery kind. If you missed the first two episodes, here are the links:

Part One

Part Two




Matchmaker Final Episode:

She had left the back door open. How could she have been so careless? No telling what a neurotic African grey might do if left to his own devices. And even though it was warm out in the afternoon sun, the temperature was supposed to drop tonight with even a chance of snow. She had to find the bird now.

She searched the streets in the neighbourhood on foot, the pair of binoculars she’d bought two summers ago for whale watching near Capetown bouncing from side to side around her neck as she walked. She couldn’t lose Ezekiel. Yes, he was all she had left of her friend, but he was more than that. He was a big part of what had drawn her to Ellen in the first place. While it was true, Ellen was the nutty professor who talked to birds, it was Ezekiel who had been even more astounding. Ezekiel was the erudite bird who talked back, who in spite of Ellen’s best intentions, had picked up some rather colorful slang. He was affectionate, he was astute and Mary was convinced he had a wicked sense of humor. And now he was loose on the streets in hostile territory with snow predicted. She had to find him.

She questioned all of her neighbors and called everyone she knew. Unlike the gaudy ring-necked parakeets now populating Kensington Garden and spreading across South England, Ezekiel would not stand out in his dapper grey plumage. At least the ring around his leg would identify him as hers.

The sun was setting as she made a second broader sweep of the area in her car, with still no sign of the bird. He would be roosting soon. She could only hope he found a safe and warm place for the night. Inside the house, she sat on the sofa and stared at the empty cage, eyes blurring at the thought of poor Ezekiel lost and alone in Guildford.

She was thinking of making up “lost” posters when the phone rang.

“Hello?” A velvety male voice filtered into her ear. “Did you by any chance misplace an African grey parrot?”

“Oh, God yes!” She covered her phone and choked back a sob. “Is Ezekiel all right?”
Soft laughter. “Ezekiel, is he? Looks more like Casanova to me.”


The laugh again. “He’s flirting shamelessly with Cassandra… Oh, Cassandra’s my African grey.”

Mary’s knees buckled and she dropped heavily onto the sofa. “He’s flirting? Ezekiel is flirting? You have an African grey? Female?”

“That’s why I call her Cassandra. Look, my name’s Don, Don McKenna. Do you have a pen? I’ll give you my address. I’m not sure these two know each other well enough for a sleepover yet.”

Who’d have guessed? Don McKenna lived only a few streets from Mary. Obviously he didn’t frequent the personal ads. He was tall with longish sun bleached hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He wore faded jeans and a navy polo shirt stretched across broad shoulders. His warm smile matched the laugh she’d enjoyed on the telephone. He offered her a firm, slightly calloused handshake.

“Ezekiel and Cassie are in the conservatory.” He motioned her through the small but tidy house and out to the conservatory where the two birds perched next to each other in the flicker fairy lights and evergreen bunting. Ezekiel was preening Cassandra’s neck. It was easy to tell them apart. Ezekiel was a darker shade of grey. When they heard the humans approach, Ezekiel squawked and flew to perch on Mary’s shoulder in a flurry of soft feathers.

“You crazy bird.” She blinked back tears, hoping their host wouldn’t notice how soppy she was. “You didn’t need my help to find a friend, did you?”

He nipped her ear gently then flew back to Cassandra.

Over a cup of mulled wine, she told Don of her ordeal with the no-longer-mourning Ezekiel.

He laughed. “Let me get this right. You placed a personal ad and put up with crazy people and iguanas and pythons just to find a friend for Ezekiel?”

She blushed and nodded.

“Wow! What a matchmaker.”

“What a matchmaker, indeed.”

From the perch he shared with Cassandra, Ezekiel eyed Mary as she sat next to Don on his sofa, the reflection of the
Christmas tree lights now glistening brightly in the darkened windows of the conservatory. She didn’t know whether the bird’s vocabulary included “No need to thank me,” but she was pretty sure that’s what he was thinking.

Don sighed contentedly as the two birds got about a little mutual preening. “This may well be the best Christmas present Cassie’s ever had.” Then he turned his attention back to Mary and raised his wine. “Happy Christmas, Mary.” Then he nodded back to Ezekiel and Cassie. “I have a feeling the New Year’s going to be very exciting.”


Matchmaker: A FREE Holiday Story Part 1

I love to indulge in a little sappy silly, romantic fun this time of year, and that being the case starting today through Boxing Day, I will be sharing a little seasonal story with you called Matchmaker. While it’s squeaky clean as far as content goes, it’s fun and quirky and hopefully something you’ll all enjoy. I certainly enjoyed writing it. It’s main character happens to be a bird. Those of you who know my love for our feathered friends won’t be surprised at all. Happy Holidays, my Darlings! Enjoy the story!


Matchmaker Part 1

“What am I going to do?” Mary asked the vet. “Ezekiel’s inconsolable. He squawks all night, which means neither of us sleeps, and I have to work and leave him alone, and that only makes matters worse.”

The vet stroked his stethoscope, an act that seemed incongruent with the bright red Santa Clause cap sitting precariously on the top of his balding head. He looked the parrot up and down and, and then stated the obvious. “He’s mourning.”

“I know he’s mourning. What I don’t know is how to cheer him up.”

The vet shook his head. “Mourning has to run its course, with animals just like with humans.”

She rubbed gritty eyes. “What do I do in the meantime? How can I help him? Can you sedate him?”

“Wouldn’t advise it. I can recommend a pet psychologist, though.”

“Will it help?”

“Can’t hurt. Dr. Thompson is also a vet, so she won’t steer you wrong, none of this airy-fairy faffing about.”


It was full dark when Mary arrived in Woking. The fairy lights sparkled on the houses and in the shop windows, and the unseasonable warmth had not dampened the holiday spirit of the Christmas shoppers scurrying up and down High Street. Ezekiel was the last appointment of the day, and the waiting room was empty when Mary stepped inside with Ezekiel’s cage in tow. Christmas music that was a little less obnoxious and a little more subdued than what blared in the local shops played quietly over the sound system. Almost immediately, Mary and Ezekial were ushered in to Dr. Susan Thompson’s office.

“Oh, he is lovely,” the woman cooed in a nasal Welsh accent. “I’ve never treated an African grey before. I have counseled a couple of cockatoos, and a lovebird. What seems to be the problem?”

Mary heaved a sigh. “Two months ago my friend Ellen died.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.” Dr. Thompson nudged a box of tissues in Mary’s direction.

“Thank you. Ellen was a linguist who studied the rudiments of language in other species.”

The psychologist brightened. “Of course! I’ve heard about the research on African grey parrots. Even smarter than primates, I read.”

“Ellen worked with Ezekiel almost fifteen years. He has a huge vocabulary, and his comprehension is off the chart. Because parrots are long-lived, Ellen had made arrangements for him to live with me on the off chance that something should happen, if she should …” She swallowed around the growing tightness in her throat and took a deep breath. “Anyway, there was a car accident and …”

“Ezekiel came to live with you,” the doctor finished for her gently.

Mary nodded and blinked hard. “Since her death, Ezekiel refuses to talk. He just squawks. He won’t eat, and I’m afraid he’ll start pulling out his own feathers. Stressed birds sometimes do that. I can’t stand to see him suffer so. Ezekiel is, well, he’s special.”

“Ezekiel’s mourning the loss of his mate.”


“You see,” Dr. Thompson scooted to the edge of her seat, “parrots are social animals. In their natural environment, you seldom see a lone parrot. When parrots are kept in captivity, they can only be taught to talk if they’re kept away from their own kind.”

“So when they have no one to speak to in their own language, they’re forced to learn ours?” The tightness in Mary’s throat returned with a vengeance.

“Ezekiel will probably bond with you in time. But you’re not a parrot, and even with his huge vocabulary, imagine what it would be like never to speak your own language again.”

This time no amount of blinking could hold back the tears, and Mary reached for the offered tissue box. She’d always been a soft touch, and Ezekiel’s sad story coupled with the recent loss of her friend was just too much. Dr. Thompson
offered quiet verbal support, and Mary was pretty sure that in most cases the pet psychologist found the animals less
neurotic than their humans. She blew her nose and forced a smile. “Well, I’ll just have to find him a mate then, won’t I?”

Easier said than done, Mary soon discovered.

Continue with Matchmaker part 2

© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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