"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)



Rose shuffled into the kitchen.  She wore her favorite pink floral house dress and fuzzy slippers.  Her thin white hair was tightly wound around big plastic rollers.  Her eye caught a small movement from the wire cage in the corner by the table.

"Good morning, Polly," she said.

"Squawk!  Good morning, Polly," repeated the bird inside the cage.  He was still a beautiful thing, green with light blue around his eyes and just a touch of gray at the tips of his wings.  He hopped from his perch to the swing and swayed gently to and fro.  He didn't seem to like like moving too fast these days, either.

"I think I need a cuppa joe to get going today," she said.

"Cuppa joe, cuppa joe."

"These old bones are getting rusty."  She moved to the cupboard and pulled out an stained, chipped mug.  She reached for the coffee pot and poured.

"Sandy's coming over today," she said, with a sideways glance at the swinging parrot.  "I know you don't like Sandy much, but she's a real sweetheart, Polly, I swear she is."

"Sweetheart, sweetheart," Polly mimicked, followed by a whistle.

You know she just wants your money, don't you?
"Now, Polly, don't you go putting thoughts in my head like that.  I told you, she's not like that.  She's a real sweet girl."

"Sweetheart, sweetheart," Polly said again, with another whistle.

If you were honest, you would admit I'm right.  I'm always right.  I was right about Sam, wasn't I?
"Well, yes, I guess you were right about Sam, Polly.  And I thank you for it, too," she said.

"Thank you, squawk."

"I never would have known about all that money he was squirreling away in that other account if it weren't for you."

"Thank you, thank you, squawk."  The swing slowed to a halt, and Polly jumped to floor of her cage and waddled right up to the bars.

And I was right about Henry, too, wasn't I?

"Yes, yes, I reckon you were, Polly.  Imagine, taking an insurance policy out on me that was worth four times what his was," she said, shaking her head.  "Still, I think you must be wrong about Sandy.  She just seems so kind to me."

We'll see, won't we, Rosie?  We always do.  We'll see if there's a reason for her kindness that has nothing to do with being a sweetheart.

"Sweetheart, squawk."

"Now you're just making fun of me, Polly.  That's not nice."  She turned and dumped her mug into the sink, coffee spilling on the back splash.  She shuffled out of the kitchen to her room to get ready for her visitor.


Rose and Sandy sat at the table, laughing and catching up.

"It sure cheers me up when you come to visit, Sandy," Rose said.  She looked over at the bird cage and raised her chin a bit.

"I love it, too, Grandma," Sandy said.  She reached into her purse and pulled out some papers that were folded.  "I do have a little bit of business I need to discuss with you, though."

Ah, here it comes.

Rose glared at the cage, but the bird remained silent and still.

"Grandma, I wanted you to know that I'm going to be taking care of you from now on."  She smoothed the pages out on the table.  "You don't have to worry about bills and pensions and all that sort of thing.  I talked to a judge this week, and he agreed to give me power of attorney for you."

"Sweetheart, sweetheart, squawk."  Polly fluffed her wings out.

"Oh, now, that's not necessary, honey.  I can take care of myself," Rose said.

"Well, it's already done, Grandma.  See?  That's what these papers are about.  I'll be taking care of your finances from now on."

Rose stood up and walked to the counter where she had a batch of scones waiting.  She opened the fridge and took out a jar of freezer jam.

"Well, we'll worry about that later, sweetheart," Rose said.

"Sweetheart, sweetheart."

"Grandma, this isn't strawberry jam, is it?  You know I'm allergic to strawberries," Sandy said.

"No, no, dear.  Just some raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries in there.  It turned out just right, too, if I do say so myself."  She slathered a scone with jam, set it on a plate, and handed it to her granddaughter.

Sandy took a bite. 

"Mmmm, this is just how mom used to make it," she said.  "I don't suppose she got her recipe from you, did she?"

"I reckon she did, actually," Rose said.  She smiled as Sandy licked her fingers.

Sandy's breathing became labored.  She grasped at her throat.  She looked at her grandmother with puzzled eyes that grew wide with panic.

"Grandma?" she whispered, wheezing louder now.  She was unable to say more.  Her face took on a pale hue, tinged with an increasing blue.

"Sweetheart, sweetheart, squawk."

She waited until Sandy was unconscious and unmoving.  She reached for the phone and dialed 911.

You said you could take care of yourself.


Today's prompt: Include a telepathic parrot in your story.  To play along, visit Write Anything's [Fiction] Friday.


Anonymous said...

Oh my heavens! I love this Grandma! She reminds me of my own feisty Grandma (gone for a few years now) though I don't recall mine having any sort of telephathy. Well done indeed on showing so much with so few words. Just marvelous!!!! Now maybe if she had just picked up those papers from Sandy and burned them while she was dialing 911. hahahaha

Anonymous said...

Oh, right. She didn't have telepathy. It was the bird. But own a telepathic bird.... :)

Anonymous said...

She certainly can take care of herself, with a bit of advice from the corner.

Scott said...

That's certainly one way to take care of things yourself! I enjoyed the flow of your story - dialogue helped move the story along. Good job.

Susan G. Haws said...

That is my kind of story.

Laura Rachel Fox said...

I absolutely love it. What a great character you've created in the grandmother. And what a marvelous relationship between the pair. They seem to have everything under control.

You made a hard-to-believe concept very believable.

See my fiction friday submission at:

John Pender said...

Way to go grandma!

Anonymous said...

This grandma rocks. With age comes cunning.
The style and pace worked so well.
Great read.

Renee said...

Yikes! THis story gave me chills....and made me feel a bit was really good, Shelli..once again. Your mind is amazing with what it to visit here!

Shelli said...

Wow! How fun to wake up to so many wonderful comments. Thank you, everyone. I do think the story was better than the writing with this piece. Dialogue is not my forte; it was very good practice for me, though.