| Jolly Solly |

Tuki to the Rescue

“I’ll just take a look around,” he announced, hoping he’d find something out of order in this annoyingly well-run place.

There was a hustle and a bustle at the Animal Center as Eli and his team prepared for Pesach. Besides the usual arrangements, there were big crowds expected on Chol Hamoed this year, and the staff scurried around carrying out repairs and making sure everything was shipshape. Fortunately, there were few visitors at this time, which meant they could get their work without interruption.

While most of the animals took things in stride, Pinny the Peacock was feeling irritable. Pinny was used to being a star attraction. Children would crowd around his cage, and when he’d open his marvelous tail, there would be gasps of admiration. But now visitors were few and far between, and Eli and his team were too busy to pay Pinny the attention he felt he deserved. He retreated to a corner of his cage, sulking.

Manny the monkey, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying the goings-on. He loved it when everybody was busy, because it meant he could more easily get away with his tricks. He waited until Tuki the parrot flew close to his cage, and made a grab for one of the bright feathers in the parrot’s tail, pulling it out.

Tuki gave a loud screech and flapped his wings furiously. Eli scolded the monkey, but decided to deal with his mischievousness another time, when he wasn’t so busy.

Little did Eli know that an unseen person was watching through the fence. It was Mr. Ingleton the Inspector, always looking to make trouble for the Animal Center. At Tuki’s furious screech, he rubbed his hands in glee. Aha! There must be something wrong with the parrot to have made him screech like that, and he’d noticed a peacock that looked miserable as well. He would write a report, claiming there was an illness affecting the birds at the Center, and send it to the mayor. With a bit of luck, the Center would be closed down!

Mr. Ingleton knew that before sending in an official report, he had to carry out a proper inspection. Well, there was no time like the present! Straightening his cap, he marched to the entrance area and rapped sharply on the window. Rat-a-tat-tat!

Izzy, Eli’s assistant, looked up in surprise. Who was that? He gulped when he saw the grim-looking inspector.

“I’m here for an inspection, following information about a sickness in your birds,” declared Mr. Ingleton grandly. He swept past the astonished worker, who hurried off to fetch Eli.

Eli rushed over.

“Hello, Sir,” Eli greeted the inspector breathlessly. “Can I help you?”

“I’m here to investigate a suspected illness in your bird population,” Mr. Ingleton declared, pretending to look sorrowful.

Eli stared at him in shock.

“What?” he exclaimed. “But all our birds are in perfect health.”

The inspector shook his head sadly.

“I believe your peacock is sick. I’d like to see him, please. And your parrot has apparently shown signs of distress.”

A shaken Eli led the inspector to Pinny’s cage. Pinny spied Mr. Ingleton out of the corner of his beady eye. At last, here was a visitor to show off to! He stepped daintily forward, bobbed his head, and opened his feathers in a magnificent display.

Mr. Ingleton frowned. There was obviously nothing wrong with the peacock.

“Hmm. Let me see your parrot,” he ordered.

Eli gestured for Tuki to come closer. The inspector waved his book of regulations in front of the parrot, hoping to provoke him into screeching, which he could use as “proof” of the bird’s distress. But Tuki simply ignored him. The inspector tried to hide his dismay.

“I’ll just take a look around,” he announced, hoping he’d find something out of order in this annoyingly well-run place.

Just then, Mr. Ingleton heard a sound that made him stop and look around nervously. It was a yapping sound. He disliked all animals, but worst of all, in his opinion, were small yappy dogs. VROOM! Now it sounded like a noisy motorcycle was nearby too. This was sure to unsettle the dog.

“I — er — just realized I have an appointment. I need to leave immediately. All is in order,” the inspector stammered, before scurrying off at top speed, much to everyone’s relief.

Tuki gave a few more yaps for good measure, and another loud VROOM.

Izzy threw back his head and laughed. “It was you all the time! Well, you’ve certainly outsmarted old Ingleton.”

Tuki puffed out his chest proudly.

“Happy birthday!” he screeched.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 954)

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