Refreshed now. Delightful fruit compote with my pancakes. So, back to the story of my wondrous rescue by friends who care.
Can I just point out that I joined the rescue because I was ordered to. I do not care!
As I was saying before Dennis interrupted me…
We set up camp in a small clearing and, as evening began to fall, Dr Candlewick and Ms Fosse prepared a meal. I accepted a plate of ginger biscuits and fruit but turned away each time either of my captors spoke to me. They tried their hardest to charm me. Ms Fosse spoke to me about Mrs Desai, attempting to play on my emotions, but I am a tough bird, a tough old bird perhaps. That’s what Mrs Desai would have said. How upset she would be at all this excitement.
That evening, under cover of a sky heavy with stars, I listened to my captors discuss the future. And as usual I listened to them argue. Science and shopping. But it came down to the same thing – money. How sad, I thought. But how fortunate it turned out to be. For when Ms Fosse shrieked at Dr Candlewick that his plans for cloning me (cloning me?!) would mean a watering down of her PR campaign (on the grounds that I might not be the only dodo able to promote shampoo) and he yelled at her that she was nothing but a money-grabbing parasite, the sound of their shouts wafted across the bush to the sharp ears of a hunter, and she in turn was able to tell others about it.
I was thinking with my eyes closed in case Dr Candlewick or Ms Fosse tried to look me in the eye, though in truth that was probably unlikely since they were both yelling at each other inside Dr C’s tent. I may have dozed off for a moment or two, for suddenly I was aware of movement nearby. I forced my eyelids open and saw two more sharp eyes looking at me. I jumped and struggled to step back, for they were the eyes of my enemy – a thylacine, ‘Tasmania’ no doubt, my correspondent who had sought to eat me.
But of course I could not step back far for I was tethered by the leg to Dr Candlewick’s tent. My thylacine enemy (and how had it come about that I had so many enemies?) crouched low as if to pounce. I pulled away further and heard two sounds: the thylacine seemed to purr and the tent I was tied to definitely creaked. Then the thylacine spoke:
“Ferdinand,” she hissed. “It’s OK. I won’t hurt you. I’m sorry about before. I didn’t know it was you.” I listened, a little intrigued, suspicious of course, but interested.
“Pull on your rope. Pull hard! It’ll come down!” I had to admit it, this was a good idea, or would be if I could then undo my own shackles. I started to move. I walked towards the thylacine, and carried on walking, though I could go nowhere. As I paced on the spot, pulling as hard as I could, the tent began to shake.
“Hey, what’s happening!” It was Candlewick’s voice from inside the rocking tent.
“Aagh?” replied Ms Fosse and the flap tent began to open. She crawled out and…“Roar!” The thylacine let out a terrible roar and Miss Fosse screamed. Oh, how she screamed. And she ran. Straight into a sudden mass of kiwis! What timing. And as she screamed and shrieked and danced, I gave one last tug and the tent fell down on Candlewick.
“Quick, I’ll chew through the rope!” the thylacine told me as the tent behind me rolled and yelped.
“No worries mate, let us help.”
I was confused. The voice sounded from above and sounded familiar. Then two great seagulls – Dennis and Shane – swooped down and started pecking and pulling at the knots in the rope.
“Seems like we came in the nick of time. My mates told me they’d seen a strange little camp site. Guessed it was you here. Hey, you kiwis…” he whistled piercingly, “give us a hand with your beaks.”
At the bird’s suggestion a couple of the kiwis broke away from the team that had been attacking Ms Fosse and joined us. They made quick work of the rope and I was free.
“Now girls!” called Dennis, and the rest of the kiwis swarmed in a mass across to us. In a moment they had scooped me up and were off. But before we left I turned and saw a marvellous and intriguing sight: two giant figures were silhouetted in the moonlight. They were magnificent; like dodos, only larger and with longer legs and longer necks. They paused and then as one they charged – straight at Delilah Fosse and Brian Candlewick, or at least at the tent that was rolling around with Candlewick inside.
“Who were those two?” I asked once we had stopped moving and I had stopped thanking my rescuers for helping me and restoring my camera and laptop to my safe keeping.
“Which two?” the leader of my rescuers, a kiwi called Casey, looked at me with a gleam in his eye.
“The two large birds. They came at the end and chased my captors away.”
“No idea,” Casey shrugged. “Now Ferdinand, this way.” I sensed he was changing the subject. In fact, when I asked any of my new companions about it, I received the same impression. What were they hiding?
Be that as it may, I am now comfortably settled here in Fjordland and hugely grateful to the friends who rescued me, including my new friend Tathra. How could I have been scared of her? She is a gentle, loving creature … as long as she has been fed. For this we have to make excursions to the local shops, though by local I mean several hours walk and we may be forced to move a little nearer town. Also the wi-fi signal is at best poor where we are. However, she and Dennis have become drawn to each other and Dennis is teaching her to fish in the plentiful waters. I hope that Tathra will tell her own tale one of these days.
I merely tolerate company on my fishing trips because the aunts tell me I must.
So, Dennis, why do you spend your time laughing at Tathra’s jokes? And why are you waiting for her every morning before she’s had a chance to wake up?
Those big birds must have been ostriches. To think, some of my own kind on the very island towards which I am heading. What joy!
I want to meet you all! Maybe I can come your way; or maybe one day Ferdy, you’ll come to America.