“One more tree and I will be able to finish for the day. I wonder what my darling is up to? Looking after our new baby son I hope. I wonder if she is wearing that blue dress? I’m so tired of that dress. I bet she is tired of it too. I hope she likes the green material I have picked out for her. Once we are paid tonight I can go to the store and finish paying it off. Just in time for Christmas too. Boy I hope she likes it. One more tree and I will be able to finish for the day.”
The barbary dove (Streptopelia roseogrisea), originally from central Africa, is small and creamy-coloured, with a black collar around the back of its neck. It is about 140 grams in weight and 28 centimetres long. Found in only a few scattered sites in both main islands ??? mostly in Auckland, Northland and Hawke???s Bay ??? the population may be fewer than 100 birds.
The spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis), or spotted turtle-dove, is a small pinkish-buff dove, with mottled brown wings and back, and a wide black collar speckled with white. It is found only in a few areas in the North Island ??? Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty ??? mainly in city parks and rural areas. Native to Asia, it was brought to New Zealand as a caged ornamental bird.”
Christina Troup. ‘Introduced land birds – Pigeons and doves’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 1-Mar-09
Billy kept very still. The hens may be French but he was quite sure they understood what he’d just called them.
“WHO IS THIS?”
“Uh, you rang me.”
“WHO IS THIS?”
“Chris Smith. Who is this?”
“Your name is Rub-a-dub-dub?”
“YOU MAY CALL ME RUB-A-DUB-DUB.”
“MY NAME IS COLIN.”
“MY NAME IS COLIN. YOU MAY CALL ME RUB-A-DUB-DUB.”
“Look, what do you want?”
“IS THE BLACK BIRD THERE?”
“Is the who where?”
“DO NOT MESS WITH ME. IS THE BLACK BIRD THERE?”
“Look buddy. I don’t like your tone.”
“IS THE BLACK BIRD THERE?”
If you look closely you can see Conrad Waldorf
“One minute you said. One minute! It’s been much longer than that. …
“Stand here you said. Stand there. Leave them on you said. Ignorant goat. …
“I have things I could be doing you know. I don’t have to stand here all day waiting for some fancy pants photographer to snap a little photo. I’m busy. …
“Look at my son. Just look at him! Poor little thing. …
“I have to get home to make dinner. …
“Now – seriously? You want me to do what?”
in tha holladas we went to tha paak. i fed a swon. it tryd to biit my fingas. nawtee swon!
Marguerite had met Joshua 68 days, 12 hours and 37 minutes previously at the Community-Hall Ball. Marguerite had been wearing a silver dress with blue heels and a fetching fascinator in her hair. Joshua had been wearing a blue suit with grey shoes and the very tiniest amount of hair gel. Their eyes had met across the buffet table. He had complimented her on her hair. She had smiled and thanked him. They had exchanged names.
Joshua had been too shy to ask Marguerite to dance. He’d watched as she spent the night dancing with other men. First with Michael (black suit, white shirt – unimaginative) then Simon (brown suit, orange shirt – very 70s) then David (blue suit, blue shirt – too monochromatic). After that came a succession of Shauns (various spellings but oddly enough each one wearing a blue pinstripe suit with a black shirt). Joshua had been downcast by his inability to invite a pretty lady to dance so he had mustered up the courage to ask her back to his place to see his extensive collection of Star Wars memorabilia. Much to his surprise, she had said yes.
For some reason Marguerite had never gone home after that first night, choosing instead to move in. Each morning she was up early to deliver golden cans to various houses at the wealthy end of town. Joshua knew when it was time for her to leave because he could hear the jingling of the harness as Fluffy drew the cart up to the door. He’d never quite managed to persuade Marguerite to stay a little longer. As soon as she heard the bells she was kissing him goodbye. Then she was gone.
This morning Joshua was planning a surprise for Marguerite when she and Fluffy had finished their rounds. As soon as she’d left he was out of bed, scrubbing the floor and polishing the windows. He’d bought a kilogram of steak which he cut up and put in a small bowl on the floor. (That was for Fluffy.) Then he’d prepared Marguerite’s breakfast (toasted bagel, one tablespoon of lite cream cheese, one tablespoon of no-sugar-added strawberry jam and a decaf-trim-milk-cappuccino-with-a-sprinkling-of-chocolate) carfeully and laid it out on the table. Finally he’d added a vase of tulips and a small box. Inside the small box was a 2-carat diamond engagment ring. Joshua was planning to ask Marguerite to marry him.
He was hoping she wouldn’t make him wait until the wedding night to get lucky.
She’d been looking forward to this moment for years. Ever since she’d seen the performers for the first time when she was very small. The flickering firelight sparking off their costumes; the expressions on the people watching. It was like magic. Her aunt was a performer. She always seemed so glamorous.
She set herself on the stage, lifted her arms and began to dance.