Chapter Seven: Looking Back
Through the dark of night flew a sulfur-crested cockatoo, his white plumage standing out against the twilight. He soared through the cloudy sky, no home, no owner, no friends... utterly alone.
'My, how things change...' The cockatoo thought.
It wasn't too long ago that he had been plucked with a lowly pet store and made into a celebrity: Cocks Nigel Cockatoo, South America's most adored bird, star of the acclaimed Fly Hard! For a glorious few years, Nigel had everything: Looks, women, and fame. But all too soon, his perfect world came crashing down around him. Out of the blue, he was unceremoniously replaced by a parakeet named Patricious, and cast out like yesterday's garbage.
For a time, Nigel roamed the country, lost and alone, stopping only to attack any "pretty birds" he came across, for each one served as a reminder of the bird who stole his life, and taking out his anger on them was the only thing that made him feel better. One of his attacks drew the attention of a local poacher named Marcel, who took Nigel under his wing. Nigel relished the opportunity to capture and torment the pretty birds of the world, and once again, life was good for the cockatoo.
Unfortunately, all that changed after he helped pull off the poacher's most ambitious job to date: Capturing the last two blue macaws on Earth. The two were thought to be safely locked up, but they somehow escaped. In the ensuing chase, Nigel endured severe pain and humiliation by crashing into an electrical transformer.
Enraged by his failure, Nigel pursued the targets with a vengeance, even strongarming the help of a bunch of local marmoset thieves. In the end, though, it was he who managed to capture the cerulean birds once more. Then, just as victory seemed certain, they broke out of their cages again. Nigel leapt to stop them, pinning the male by the neck and breaking the female's wing. As he paused to gloat, he failed to spot the fire extinuisher being attached to his leg until it was too late. With a single tug of a plastic ring, the one called "Blu" sent Nigel flying out of the poacher's plane, which then caught up to him, it's propellers slicing off his feathers. Miraculously, Nigel survived, though experienced further humiliation when one of the marmosets took pictures of his featherless state. Even worse, the marmoset had threatened to have the picture copied and plastered all over Rio, showing off his embarassingly bare body for all to see.
Eventually, Nigel's feathers grew back, but it didn't change the fact that he had found himself once again robbed of all that he had known, leaving him alone and directionless for a second time.
'Perhaps this is a sign.' He thought. 'My sins against the pretty birds came down on me in true karmic style. Perhaps I should take this as a cue to change my ways, leave my hate and anger behind, and fly down the airways of righteousness.'
Nigel considered this thought for a moment.
"Nahh!" He spat.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo flew on, keeping his eyes open for another pretty bird to victimise.
To Be Continued...
(Rio and all associated characters are the property of 20th Century Fox and Bluesky Studios.)