Well while I’m busy writing the sequel to ‘Cale Dixon and the Moguk Murders; I have turned in a young adult book for publishing. The current title of the work is ‘White Bars’.
Exotic animals are captured and taken from the forests and jungles around the world and bought as pets by all kinds of people – innocent children all the way up to eccentric adults with limited knowledge or regard for their newly acquired animals’ needs. Many are eventually let go into the underbelly of cities, down toilet bowls, sometimes simply let free. This manuscript is a comical and adventurous attempt towards awareness.
A young myna bird, Soren, is persuaded by a ‘worldly’ myna bird, Fife, to escape with him and try to get home to the Malaysian Mountain range where the hill myna bird lives in the wild. By night the pet shop converts into a comical stock market atmosphere facilitated by field mice who come in from the village neighborhood. A lonely red love bird, Juliet, has connections to a mean and selfish pack rat, an ‘adventure capitalist’ who, for the right price is willing to unlatch the myna bird’s cage doors. One of the challenges for the two myna birds is in the amount of time they have to trade – to accumulate enough seeds that the pack rat requires. Unfortunately another challenge is for Fife not to give away his identity to the pack rat because Fife and the pack rat have met before, except Fife was disguised as a crow covering up his orange head band, beak, legs, and patch of orange on his wings. The pack rat is suspicious from the start and he sends in a spy to watch the two myna birds during the day and while trading at night.
‘The following night, well after all were asleep, Juliet and the two myna birds sat awake, waiting. Above the pet shop there was a faint scratching on a pipe. The three birds followed the noise with their ears and eyes. All went quiet.
A long nailed hand reached through the bars of Fife’s cage and grabbed him firmly by the beak. “So, you want to escape?” whispered the pack rat. The pack rat turned the myna’s head face to face, “Say, you look familiar, a crow perhaps? But, of course, you are not a crow.” the pack rat twisted the myna’s head again side to side eyeing the yellow and orange streak of skin behind Fife’s eyes then he sniffed at the myna bird. “Have you ever met a crow named, Reo? The pack rat paused, “No, I don’t suppose you know what I’m talking about.” the pack rat looked long and hard at Fife then continued with a frustrated huff, “Anyway, I heard there were two ‘jail birds’. Pun intended.” The pack rat smiled into the moonlight, a gold tooth sparkled in his mouth.”
The main character is Soren. He is a young hill myna bird that was taken along with his siblings as eggs from their nest in the hills of Burma and incubated under bright lights and sold to an exotic animal dealer. He was shipped by plane from Thailand to the Untied States. Soren has never been outside of a cage and has never had an opportunity to fly.
A few supporting characters are Fife; a worldly Myna bird who was set free by his owners a long time ago. Fife comes in from the outside world when he hears of another hill Myna bird at the local pet shop. Fife sets in motion a plan to enter the pet shop and persuade Soren to escape his white bars and learn the true meaning of adventure and life;
Juliet is a red love bird who’s lover, of course is Romeo. He played dead on the floor of their cage and flew away when the pet shop owner wrapped him in paper and tossed him in the garbage can. Juliet has lived in two separate pet shops in the town and through Romeo, she has gained ties to the local ‘mob’ of pack rats, one in particular;
The pack rat is an adventure capitalist. In Romeo and Juliet’s first pet shop the pack rat let all the snakes out of their terrariums. After the snakes had eaten many of the other trapped animals they wandered away and the pack rat entered the pet shop and collected all the seeds in the empty cages. The stock market has been unstable ever since. Now he uses the stock he’s collected to sway trades in the current pet shop where Soren and Fife are trying to escape;
Dram is a heavy set ‘push-over’ field mouse that organizes the broker mice and runs the evening stock trading after the owner has turned out the lights, locked the door, and walked home for the evening. The clock tower across the street is their start up signal, nine bells. Car lights flash through the pet shop like search lights.