As Molly left the kitchen she heard the flapping of feathers and a high pitched screech coming from the passage outside her father’s study. Mr Miggins was a magician who went by the name of The Great Rudolpho, Molly knew he was out at the shops so she wandered down the corridor to see what the commotion was all about.
On a tall perch by the study door stood a colourful parrot, he was dressed in a white karate suit, the jacket held together across his stomach by a white belt.
‘Haaaaaa,’ it screeched, bringing a stiff wing down in a chopping motion.
‘Good morning, parrot,’ said Molly.
The parrot leapt to attention on the perch, he pulled his karate top tight across his chest and smoothed it down with the tip of a wing. ‘Password, please,’ he squawked.
‘I’m not going into my dad’s room,’ said Molly smugly, ‘so I don’t need a password.’
The parrot eyed her suspiciously. He claimed to be a world-renowned security parrot, but in reality he was the ghost of Mr Miggins pet parrot that had died a few years before. The parrot had refused to pass over, deciding instead to haunt to passage outside his former owner’s room. Molly had had plenty of run-ins with it in the past. ‘You still need a password,’ he said grumpily.
‘Why?’ asked Molly.
‘Because if you don’t give it I won’t tell you why I’m dressed like this and then you’ll be wondering about it all day.’
‘No I won’t,’ said Molly, knowing he was right.
‘Will,’ said the parrot.
Won’t,’ said Molly
‘Will, will will,’ screeched the parrot. ‘I know you.’
Molly gave up. She walked slowly across the passage and lowered her head until she was eye to eye with the bird.
‘Millet,’ she said.
‘Lucky guess,’ said the parrot.
Molly decided not to get into another argument. The password was always Millet.
‘So,’ she said, ‘what are you doing dressed up in a karate outfit?’
‘Practicing,’ said the parrot.
‘I can see that,’ said Molly. ‘I just wondered why.’
‘In case the Great Rudolpho’s study is attacked by a criminal gang of trick stealers of course,’ said the parrot. ‘I’d have thought that was obvious.’
‘Hmm,’ said Molly. ‘Are there a lot of these ‘trick stealer gangs about?’
‘Of course there are,’ replied the parrot, ‘I wouldn’t be doing all this practice if there wasn’t, would I?’
Molly decided not to argue the point, discussions with the parrot could get very complicated.
‘Are you any good at it?’ she asked instead.
The parrot preened. ‘Let’s just say, it’s a good job I stopped my routine when I did, or you might have got a broken nose or a lost an ear or something. I get carried away sometimes when I’m in the zone.’
Molly held back a giggle and tried to look serious. ‘I’ll keep my eye out for criminal gangs of trick stealers,’ she said. ‘Goodbye for now.’
‘Let me know if you spot any,’ the parrot called after her. ‘And don’t try to take them on yourself, you haven’t been trained to killer parrot status like I have.’