“What’s up, big brother?” Chloe asked, her tiara glittering on her golden head as she rushed about to stick flower decorations on the buffet table.
“I think I got soap in my beak from that bubble pipe,” Zack said. Chloe laughed as a bubble rose from his nose and popped.
“It serves you right!” she said.
“How’s this for a crazy hat party?” Jinx asked, approaching in a wild jester hat.
“I love it!” Chloe said. “Are we ready to party?”
“We sure are!” Zack said. “The tables are set and it’s time to celebrate!”
“It sure is!” Morty said, walking up to them in a wide brimmed straw hat. “Oh Zack, you did it again! You solved the mystery!”
“Wait for it,” Chloe said to Jinx.
Sure enough, Sassy came running up, sporting a tiara similar to Chloe’s. “Zack, you saved us again. You’re a hero! What would we do without you?”
“You’re so smart and clever!” Morty gushed.
“And handsome!” Sassy added.
“He sure is,” Queeny said, pushing through the crowd of birds gathering around in her cute sun visor.
Morty turned to Queeny, her eyes narrow. “Back off! He’s ours!”
Queeny jumped back. “Goodness!”
“Now ladies, there’s no need for all of this,” Zack said, his face flushing deeper orange. “I can be friends with everybody. We don’t fight in Anipal Land!”
“Here it comes,” Jinx said, his hat jingling.
“Zack saved us again! Hooray for Zack!” Morty said, as she and Sassy engulfed him in a snuggle.
“Aw, shucks,” Zack said, a stream of small bubbles escaping his nose.
Chloe and Jinx laughed. “He’ll have the cleanest beak and sinuses in Anipal Land for a month!” Jinx said.
“Good news, guys!” Penny Opossum said, approaching in a pineapple hat.
“You’re fruity?” Jinx asked.
Penny looked puzzled, then noticed Jinx staring at her hat and laughed. “Being here has been good for me. And what’s better is that Matty, the lady at the hospital that thought I was her cat, has been transferred to a nursing home on our borders. So I can visit her again, and this time we’ll both be free!” She paused. “Well, as free as she can be. She recovered from the surgery she had for the bump on her head, but she still gets confused, so the staff will take care of her. But she won’t be locked up or on as much medication as she was at the mental hospital.”
“So she was in the geriatric unit recovering from brain surgery?” Chloe asked.
Penny nodded. “I had to get used to talking like her, but now that she’s better, I’m better.”
“That’s great news, Penny,” Jinx said. “We’ll all have to visit her.”
“There’s more good news, too,” Conure Chick said, sporting an elegant flowered hat and leading two green conures into the crowd. “Everybody, meet our newest residents to Anipal Land. I’d like to introduce Momo and Emma. They’re babies, and they’ve come to live in Anipal Land.”
“Hi everybody,” Momo said.
“Hi!” Emma waved shyly.
Chloe rushed forward and gave them beaky kisses. “Welcome to Anipal Land!”
“Yes, welcome,” Zack said, emerging from his snuggle hug with rumpled feathers. “You’re going to love it here!”
“It seems like a good, safe place,” Emma said.
“And fun!” Momo said, looking around. “Is all of this food for us? Goodness, there’s bread, berries, crackers –“
“It sure is!” Conure Chick said. “We have a feast every Friday.”
“And omlets!” Henrietta said. “Today we have omlets, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood chickens!”
Everybody was silent as they heard a crowing in the distance. They turned to see Jeff Musk driving in the newly repaired van, tooting the horn.
“French Fry Friday!” he announced in the truck speaker. Everybody gathered around and gasped as the back of the truck opened to reveal ten roosters unloading French fries.
“They’re here!” Henrietta said, fluffing her feathers.
“Yes,” Jeff Musk said. “Ladies, the farmers adopting you agreed to let your future husbands attend today’s party so you could finally meet. It seems the tale of you taking over the truck to meet them has gone viral online!”
“More joyful surprises!” Chloe said. “Oh, happy day!”
“It’s always a happy day in Anipal Land!” Zack said, munching on a French fry.
“Yes, it certainly is,” Jinx said, his cheek feathers fluffed as he went to gather the rest of the Anipals for the Friday feast in the sunny garden for a day filled with food, fun, and friends.