I almost delayed posting this after news broke today confirming that Disco the Parakeet passed away. I changed my mind because I thought no, my pals on Twitter have been through so much that we need Anipal Land now to lift our spirits. I created Anipal Land several years ago after creating a goofy story with Zack that included our Twitter pals. Rick told me I should write it, and Anipal Land was born.
I enjoyed writing these stories because they're a lot of fun. In fact, the entire point of Anipal Land is to create a safe space for my Twitter friends to relax and have fun with silly adventures. It's supposed to be completely silly and fun. It's suppose to make you laugh. And I hope that you do.
So in memory of Alice, Penne, and Disco. In honor of all of you who have been through hardship, pain and grief. For all of you who we've comforted and prayed for - this one's for you. And, I believe, this may be my silliest one yet! I certainly hope so. I hope it makes you smile.
And without further ado, I proudly present Androids in Anipal Land, Part 1 - introducing new pals Bubbles, Morty, and Daenerys Stormbird and featuring our "partners in crime" Zack, Jinx, Coco, and Quarkybirdy. Look for more pals in future installments.
Part 1 (July 27, 2017)
“Miss Chloe! You have to help us!” Daenerys Stormbird rushed from the outer field of peppers and herbs.
“What’s wrong, Daenerys?” Chloe set her basket of berries on the ground.
“It’s Queenie. Some see!”
Chloe followed Daenerys toward the pepper field, followed by everybody else, wondering what new adventure was awaiting Anipal Land. Sure enough, the screams originated from the Queen of Bavaria conure that Morty and Coco were holding down. Queenie’s eyes flared as she screamed.
“The end is upon us! They’ll get us all!”
“Fantastic,” Bubbles said. “I wonder whose after us this time. Shall I whack her, or are we going to wait for this to make some sense?”
Chloe stepped over to Queenie. Queenie growled. “Chloe, my old enemy! I’ll feast on your flesh!”
“You aren’t fighting off Morty and Coco, so I wonder how you intend to feast on my flesh.”
“Oh,” Queenie said. “You’re Kung-fu is strong. It’s a powerful deterrent.”
“I’ll say,” Coco chuckled, remembering Chloe throwing Queenie through the chandelier in the first Anipal Land adventure when she surprised them with her powerful fighting skills. It was still a favorite story.
Queenie shuddered, smoke coming out of her ears. “They’ll make us all burn!”
“Who?” Bubbles asked.
“Ok ladies, we got this,” Zack said as he and Jinx made their way through the crowd. He put a foot on Queenie’s chest as Jinx shoved a pill in Queenie’s beak.
“Down the hatch, Mellow Yellow,” Jinx said, squeezing water from a small bottle down her throat.
Queenie’s breathing slowed. Soon, she was calm enough again to stand on her own without blowing smoke from her ears.
“Mommy’s Prolosec!” Zack said. “But why did you need it? Were you nabbing raw peppers from the field again?”
“Again?” Morty asked. “Has this happened before?”
“Not this bad,” Chloe said. “Queenie, do you have the pepper you ate?”
Queenie dropped it from under her wing. Chloe bent and sniffed it. “Smells strong!” she said. She licked it, stood upright, and breathed fire from her beak.
“Cool!” Bubbles said. “Let me try!”
“Not a chance,” Morty said. “Something is definitely wrong with the peppers. I wonder what happened? We may need to check the field.”
“Definitely high acid,” Chloe croaked, steam flowing from her ears.
“Has somebody been tampering with our crops again?” Quarkybirdy asked.
“The berries from the next field seem fine,” Daenerys said. “That pepper field is near the woods, just beside the yarn bird perimeter.”
“I haven’t seen anything strange on the footage,” Coco said. “No intruder alerts have gone off.”
“It sounds like we have another adventure upon us,” Zack said, sniffing the pepper. He tilted his head. “Look at this. It looks like something is burrowed in it.”
Jinx bent down to study the pepper. “What is that? It looks like a small robot.”
Bubbles bent to lick the pepper, but Morty grabbed her and pulled her away. “No more testing the peppers, especially if there are robots in them.”
“Nanotech,” Bubbles said.
“What?” Morty asked.
Bubbles pointed to the pepper. “That’s nanotech. Small machines that embed in biological matter to enhance function. In this case, it makes the pepper hotter.”
“You could tell this from looking at it?” Quarkybirdy asked.
“I could tell more if you’d let me test it in my lab.”
“You have a lab?” Jinx asked.
“She loves science,” Chloe said, “you’d be amazed at what she’s got.”
Bubbles stood up straight. “I’m Boom Bird.”
“You most certainly are,” Morty said. “So somebody put nanotech in the peppers. Who did it, and why?”
“Or what did it,” Jinx said. “This isn’t science that humans have worked out this well yet, at least outside the realm of science fiction.”
“This is Anipal Land. Crazy stuff happens,” Zack said. “But this is new and different. Whoever did it managed to get beyond Coco’s yarn bird guards, which was no easy task.”
“That, or they managed to hack into the yarnbirds and alter the video feeds and alerts,” Chloe said.
“That’s possible,” Quarkybirdy said. “We only have basic antivirus protection on our systems. We don’t really have problems with hacking, at least not until now. I’ll look into it.”
“In the meantime, you might want to look into that,” Chloe said, pointing to the outer perimeter just beyond the yarnbirds.
Jinx squinted. “What’s that?”
The trees swayed and shuddered as a line of puppets emerged from the trees.
“Hey anipals!” they said. “What time is it?”
Everybody stared. The nearby clock tower chimed three times.
“Three o’clock?” Morty said.
A fireball erupted from the field, collapsing the puppets into charred wood and plastic. Bubbles stood in the now-empty pepper field, spraying flames at the last of the emerging puppets. She hiccupped, sending a puff of smoke from her ears.
"Yep, nanotech,” she said.
“I told you she was crazy,” Morty said.
“Wait,” Daenerys said, “I know that should be totally ok after what I’m named from. But Bubbles, a Moncks Parakeet and not a dragon, ate a field of hot peppers and breathed fire on a puppet army coming out of the woods. That’s crazy.”
“Like I said –“ Morty said.
Chloe patted Daenerys on the back. “Welcome to Anipal Land!”
“I may be feisty, but I’m also smart,” Bubbles said, spitting out the robots. “Maybe this holds some of the answers.”
Chloe flapped her wings to disperse the smoke coming from Bubbles blast. “You boom alright, baby sister,” she said, “but you did good; I guess. Let’s get this and one of those puppets to Quarkybirdy’s lab and see what we’ve got.”