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Matchmaker: FREE Holiday Story Part 2

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates and to those who don’t Happy Holidays. As promised, here is the next instalment of Matchmaker, a fun little romantic romp of the feathery kind. It’s squeaky clean, which is not what you usually expect from me, but it is romantic to a fault, which you do expect from me.

If you missed the first episode of Matchmaker, just follow the link.

Whatever you celebrate, I wish you all the best. Enjoy.

 

Matchmaker Part 2

“No, I’m sorry. Yes, the parrot has to be a female. No, a female love bird won’t do.” Mary hung up and crossed another name off her list just as the doorbell rang, and her friend Tessa let herself in.

“Any luck?” Tessa set take-away Chinese and a bottle of chardonnay on the table.

Mary shook her head and began helping her friend unpack dinner. “Six males. The only female I could come up with was some kind of rare mutation. If I want to purchase her as a companion for Ezekiel, I’ll have to marry a billionaire fast. They’re so expensive, and not only that, but what if I find a female, mortgage my life and bring her back here, only to find Ezekiel doesn’t like her? Then I’m stuck with two miserable birds.”

“What about the personal ads?” Tessa spoke around a mouthful of spring roll.

“Ezekiel’s a parrot, in case you’ve forgotten.” Mary passed a grape to the unhappy bird, who had just squawked in her ear. He tossed it up into the air, let it drop, then squawked again.

“Not likely to forget that, am I? But what if you put in an ad for yourself, you know, and include Ezekiel in it?”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Why not? It’s easier than marrying a billionaire.” Tessa grabbed a pen and pad from the counter. “I’ll help you. We can put it out in all the local papers. It won’t cost much and it’ll have a wide area of coverage. Then there’s online dating. We could try there, couldn’t we?” Mary could see where this was leading. Tessa was always trying to fix her up, but even she had to admit, the idea was hare-brained enough that it just might work.

After much haggling and several glasses of wine, they came up with the ad:

 

Seeking companion – M/F. Must have female African grey parrot.

 

Tessa sighed. “Well I’m a bloke fan all the way, but I have to admit by making the ad M/F you’ll get twice the possibilities for Ezekiel, and who knows,” her smile turned wicked, “you and Ezekiel may both find a girl friend.”

“This is not about me, Tess. I’d sleep with the devil himself just for a squawk-free night’s rest. And I want Ezekiel to be happy.”

Much to Mary’s surprise, the responses flooded in. Colin from Reading was anxious to meet her and bring along his Sadie. Since she didn’t want to run the risk of nutters coming to her door, she had arranged to meet Colin at Stoke Park for their first interview. After a short wait, a middle aged man in a rumpled suit approached with a large pet carrier and sat down next to her. “Are you Mary?”

“Are you Colin?”

“I am.”

She shook his hand cautiously, eyes darting to the pet carrier. “Please tell me you didn’t bring Sadie in that?”

“Of course. She loves her walkies, don’t you, sweetheart? Who’s a good girl? Who’s daddy’s good girl?” He opened the carrier and pulled out a scary-arsed snake. “I thought someone who’s kinky enough to have a parrot fetish might just like a little variety. My girl is a ball python. She’s not quite full grown yet, are you sweetie?”

Plenty big enough to give her the shivers, Mary thought as Sadie poked her head out of the cage, that seemed to be way too full of snaky coils for Mary’s liking. “Sadie’s very affectionate,” he said, trying to coax her out. But Sadie was having none of it.

“It’s the middle of December. Are you crazy? It can’t be comfortable for her to be out here.”

“Oh she has a nice warm water bottle. Don’t worry.”

Sadie, however, had no intention of being friends with Mary, and no matter how delightful the young python might be, she was no companion for Ezekiel. Mary wished Colin and Sadie a happy Christmas and headed back home.

 

By the end of another sleepless week, Mary had learned more about the drawbacks of using personal ads to find partners for pets than she’d ever hoped to know, but she was still no closer to easing her feathered friend’s loneliness. Between her efforts to decorate her Christmas tree when she didn’t feel festive at all, she carried on a one-sided conversation with Ezekiel, offering peanuts in the shell, which he cracked open, but only let them drop uneaten to the floor. Then, with the same wood crushing beak, he affectionately preened the hair around her ear. What was she going to do? She’d been offered an iguana, a ball python, two boa constrictors, a budgie, a ferret and a cage full of zebra finches. The search through the normal channels had been no more successful.

It was clear Ezekiel was becoming more and more fond of her, and in time, she figured he’d get used to her and go on with his life. If she hadn’t gone to the pet psychologist that might have been enough, but the thought of Ezekiel never being able to speak in his own language and never being able to know the love of a good bird was fast becoming an obsession with her. She would find the parrot a companion if it was the last thing she did.

“Where’s Ellen?”

It was the first thing Ezekiel had said since he’d been with her.

Her throat tightened. “I’m sorry, Ellen’s gone, Sweetie.” She ran her index finger up the parrot’s breastbone, ruffling soft feathers. He arched his neck and gave her a gentle nip.

“I know what — let’s sit in the back garden, and I’ll read to you. It’s nice and warm and you’ll enjoy the sunshine. Later we’ll have a nice fruit salad and some nuts.”

Just as she opened the back door, the front door bell rang. It was Tessa.

“Just returning your Christmas DVDs.” Tessa glanced at her watch. “Love to hear more about Ezekiel’s personal life, but I’m having cocktails with some friends and then we’re off to Marcella’s Christmas party.” She nodded to Mary. “You should join us. Surely you could find someone to stay with Ezekiel for a few hours.”

“Have a good time,” was Mary’s only reply as she waved her friend off. She wasn’t about to leave the poor bird alone.

When she returned to the kitchen, Ezekiel was gone.

Matchmaker Part 3

 

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.”

“What?”

“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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