Astropup in ‘Gone with the Wind’.
Dedicated to the Alrashed kids.
Read by Richard Scott
Written by Bertie
Sound editing and emissions by Jana
Hello, Astropup here. In the previous episode of my adventures, the parrot and I had pinched a rose from the Planet of the Holy Cows. We had managed to return to the spaceship and blast off. This episode will also go with a blast.
My tail was wagging because I like us all being one happy family. Polly and the parrot were nuzzled up all cosy, and even the rose seemed to be smiling. It was, in the end, just a rose but had a kind of happy glow to it. I wondered how long it would last, and whether Polly would still be happy when it began to get dry and withered.
Polly kept glancing at the red rose that stood in a plastic beaker of water fixed to her perch.
“Well done,” I said to the parrot. You plucked the rose.”
“Well done, Astropup,” replied the parrot with rare praise. “I could not have sneaked in and plucked the rose without you luring the bull guards off into the woods.”
“Those cows must have loved that rose to guard it so carefully,” I said.
“Yes, they think it’s sacred,” said the parrot.
Well, you should have seen the look on Marlow’s face when he heard the word ‘sacred’.
“It's never wise to steal something ‘sacred’,” Marlow muttered under his breath.
Fear smells, you know, and I can sense when he’s afraid. I saw him quietly close the airlocks and get the ship ready for blast off. Soon we were lifting up into the air, and Marlow did not relax until we had left the planet’s atmosphere and were once again coursing through space in the direction of the wormhole that had brought us to this corner of the universe.
Now I have been through a number of wormholes in space, and I can tell you that they differ greatly. Some are itsy-bitsy small, and others have expanded into great gaping tunnels. This particular wormhole was about big enough to allow a modest spaceship the size of ours to pass another spaceship of similar size coming the other way. And one great big enormous spaceship could easily block it.
Unfortunately, that was what had happened. As we were approaching the hole, Marlow said, “Hey guys, there seems to be something stuck in the mouth of the tunnel.”
“Like what?” asked the parrot.
“Well, come and take a look,” said Marlow.
The parrot fluttered over to where he could see Marlow’s computer screen.
“Oh,” he said. “That was quick. It must have overtaken us.”
“What must have overtaken us?” asked Marlow.
“The bull battleship from the planet of the Holy Cows.”
“Oh,” said Marlow. “That would explain why it has those two big horns on the top.”
We continued to glide towards the hole and the bull battleship. Both Marlow and the parrot just stared at the screen, mesmerised, it seemed, but not knowing what to do. The silence was quite eerie - enough to make you go barking mad. I am very sensitive, you know, and I feel danger coming. I could hold back no more.
My cry of anguish was responded to by a sound 10, no 100, no 1000 times louder.
At the time, that was the scariest sound I have ever heard in my entire career in space. But moments later, it was surpassed by an even more terrifying sound.
And moments later we were struck by an invisible missile that jolted our spaceship into reverse. Polly fell off her perch and started to flap her wings around the cockpit. “How rude!” she exclaimed. “No manners at all.”
“WWWWHAT in the Universe was that?” I asked, bewildered.
“That was a giant cow fart!” replied the parrot.
Another ginormous bolt of wind slammed into our ship, propelling us back in the direction of where we had come from, the Planet of the Holy Cows.
“Why?” I whined. “Why are they doing this?”
“We’ve got something they want!” called out Marlow.
“Hey! They’re not after my dog biscuits, are they?”
“Of course they’re not interested in your chew-chews!” squawked the parrot. It’s a flower they seek.”
And then he turned to his beloved with passion in his beady eyes and spoke as follows:
“Yes, Polly, you are smart and can see what has happened. I confess, I plucked a sacred rose for your sake. This rose has flowered for 10,000 years. An entire planet of Holy Cows has watered it, revered it, and worshipped it. I risked the wrath of these ferocious bulls for you, Polly, my love, because you are the object of all my love and affection, and the least I can do is to present you with a single red rose.”
“You did that?” asked Polly. “For me?”
“Yes, I did,” affirmed the parrot. “For you.” I was not quite sure if he was proud or ashamed of his deed. But Polly was in no doubt about what she thought on the matter.
“CORRRRR! What a loser!” she exclaimed. “You have to go stealing other people’s flowers to try and impress a girl, and in the process, you get us all into danger. Well leave it up to me to sort out this mess, because I’m going to give that flower back to its rightful owners.”
And taking the sacred rose in her beak, she pushed herself off the side of the window and propelled herself towards the emergency escape shoots.
“No, Polly!” cried the parrot.
But she was quick. She flew straight into one of the three escape capsules and bashed the red button with her beak. It shot her straight out of the front of our spaceship and sent her hurtling towards the giant bull battleship. On the monitor, we saw how the bull battleship opened its giant mouth and swallowed the capsule containing Polly and the sacred rose into its belly.
“She, she’s gone!” stuttered the parrot. I have never seen him look so shattered. His bright yellow plumes had turned perfectly pale.
The bull battleship blasted off with the terrifying roar of another giant cow emission.
“We must follow them!” said the parrot.
“Sorry, Mr Parrot, Sir,” said Marlow. “No can do. They’ve let us off this time, but it would surely be certain death for us to return to the Planet of the Holy Cows. They won’t take too kindly to a bunch of aliens who stole their sacred rose.”
“But what about Polly?” asked the parrot.
“Well, she returned the rose to them. I think they’ll be pleased with her.”
And so, with Marlow at the helm, we resumed our path back towards the wormhole and our homeward journey.
But that was not the last we heard of Polly. The parrot was still in touch with her via the intergalactic dating site. He sent her a message asking, “How are you, my love?”
And he received this reply:
“I am very well, no thanks to you and your thieving ways. The Holy Cows are eternally grateful for me for returning the sacred rose. I have grafted the flower that you sacrilegiously picked back onto the stem that you left behind, and it is now blooming as before. In their gratitude for my service, the Holy Cows have given me the honorary title of Priestess Polly. I have grown very fond of this pleasant planet and have decided to make it my home. I have plans to open a luxury bird spa and invite weary birds from all over the galaxy to stay and recuperate. I have always wanted to be a business bird, and now my dream is coming true. Farewell, my parrot. Thanks for rescuing me from the Lizards. Have a nice life.”
While the parrot read this message to us, he puffed out his chest. I thought he was trying to look brave. He contemplated for a moment before concluding:
“You know, two birds of a feather aren’t always meant to be together.”
“That’s clever,” I said, “because it rhymes. Are you now a poet?”
“Naaaa,” squawked our friend. “For the time being, I’m going to stick to astrophysics, philosophy, and languages. I shall leave the romantic stuff to love birds.”
And so we resumed our journey, the three of us, as before. And to be honest, neither Marlow nor I was entirely sad to have parted ways with Polly.
And I’m delighted to dedicate this story to the Alrashed kids who support us on Patreon. Thank you so much for your kind generosity. We really appreciate you helping us to give stories to the world. For now, from me, Richard Scott, goodbye.