“Happy birthday!” cried Wizard Razzmorten with a grand whirl of his cape, leaving a round wooden box with a gawking baby parrot sitting on the board by the cake.
“Why a popinjay, dear. They’re almost impossible to come by…”
“It’s all pinfeathers. You surely don’t intend for it to actually be my gift, do you?”
“Well it’s right young, Leeuh,” he said. “When you start with them at that age, they can actually be talking to you before they’re quite a year old.”
“Not if I drown it first…”
“Lee-Lee!” cried her sister. “You don’t mean that! What an awful way to treat your Father…”
“Oh go on! He surely knows better. Here I am, still waiting for you to serve me, and he runs up and plops down this dirty box full of muslin, fowl and green poop, right where I was expecting my cake. And by the way, dearest Minuet, just how long are you going to stand there with my saucer in your hand? It is my birthday, don’t you know. And since that thing in the box is my birthday gift, I certainly get to drown it.”
“Don’t you dare!” said Minuet. “I’ll take it if you don’t want it…”
“Please!” said Razzmorten, throwing up his hands. “Let’s you and I take the morning tomorrow and find you something special in the market, or if you know of something better just…”
Ugleeuh wasn’t listening. “You can have the stinking popinjay, Minuet, if you give me my cake before it slides off the saucer.”
“You mean it?”
“Sure sister dear. The cake now, and it’s yours, but you’ll still owe me.”
Ch. 1, Good Sister, Bad Sister
Ugleeuh came to Razzmorten’s door and opened it. A pungent smell of old paper whirled through the room on a rush of air from the window, bright with yellow maple leaves. “Oh, he’s busy with his stupid still,” she said. She skipped down the hallway to Minuet’s room and peered in. “No Minny-Min,” she said, clasping her hands together. “She’s off somewhere, busy at being just too, too.” She stopped short at the sight of Hubba Hubba on his perch by the bed. “But the stinking popinjay’s sure here.”
Hubba Hubba went skinny as she crossed the room.
“Hold still, popinjay,” she said as she crept up to the perch. “It’s high time we drowned you, don’t you think?”
He stood upright with wide orange eyes, leaning back away from her as she drew near. The moment she grabbed for him, he bit the web of her hand and flew away into the hallway, screaming: “Minuet! Minuet! Minuet!”
“I’m not done with you, stinker!” shouted Ugleeuh as she grabbed her bleeding hand. “How about spending eternity as a crow?”
Suddenly Minuet stepped into the doorway, out of breath.
“Minny-Min!” cried Ugleeuh, as if she’d just stepped out of a coach. “I’m home!”
Ch 17, Good Sister, Bad Sister
Minuet stood inside the doorway catching her breath, as a whir of wings flew ’round the corner from the hallway. She held up her finger to collect the landing flurry of feathers without taking her eyes off Ugleeuh.
“Minuet!” shrieked Hubba Hubba between pants. “Bad bear witch!”
“Well you certainly excited Hubba Hubba, Leeuh,” said Minuet. “What happened? Did Uncle Razzorbauch disappoint you, or did you disappoint him?”
“Bad!” growled Hubba Hubba.
“No, no sweetness,” said Ugleeuh with a pampered tone. “You disappoint me. You failed as big sister. I’ve tried and tried so hard as little sister, but you’re just too, too.”
“Bad witch!” growled Hubba Hubba.
“Do you really expect a warm welcome after the way you left? You didn’t even tell Father.”
“Right!” she scoffed as she brushed passed Minuet on her way to the door. “As if I owed him. He’s hardly been a father. What would he care? Always trying to make me to fit the goody-goody mold, just like big sister. He’s the one who owes me.”
Ch. 18, Good Sister, Bad Sister
Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps