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Life at the Seattle Museum

BAM! I open my eyes ever so slightly. There is light shining through the open window behind me. It scorches my feathers. I see a boy about seven standing in front of me, stomping.

“Mommy, why are we looking at an oddly-shaped pigeon? It’s so boring.”

I want to say something to him, but I can’t.

I came to Seattle on a ship from Madagascar. I spent two weeks on that boat. A large crate caught my eye. It had a picture of me on it.

“Hello! Is anyone in here?”

There was a dodo inside, but he didn’t move or talk. I checked his heartbeat. Nothing. I grabbed the stiff bird, and threw it into the open sea behind me, and toppled into the box, closing the lid.

The crate was lifted up over the ship, and onto a big truck.

I got a glimpse of the city. I could see so many colorful buildings, and my favorite, a super tall building with a dome at the top. The truck bounced slowly until it stopped completely. Through the slats of the crate I saw a man talking to a woman in a grey suit. She smiled and signed a piece of paper. Then, she walked over and picked me up. I was set up like a doll, and she carefully put a small sign near me that said, “Millicent the Dodo.”

That’s when my new life began.

The little boy’s mom sighs, and takes his hand.

“Let’s go to the Dino exhibit again. You will enjoy it more there.”

She slowly leads him off, taking one more wishful look at me as she was pulled along by the boy. I try to fall back asleep, but can’t. I check to make sure no one is in my corridor before turning around and looking out the window. It’s beautiful today. The sun is slowly melting into the earth, turning the sky many different blues, pinks, and yellows. I love this time of day, because it symbolizes the start of my night.

Closing Time! Closing Time!” I hear a man holler. There are boots clomping loudly around the corner, and a bell swinging back and forth. I turn around very quickly and try to use my feet to straighten the rug under me. The man with the small brass bell stops at my stand and looks me straight in the eye. I keep as still as I can and hold my breath. He looks at the rug under my feet.

“Those darn kids. Messing up my rug! We shouldn’t even let kids in here.”

He picks me up, squeezing me way too hard, and flattens the rug. The man slams me onto my platform and continues walking around the corner.

No one else is in the corridor, so I jump off my pedestal and run as fast as my small legs can run to the big room titled, ‘The Wonders of Astronomy.’ I come barreling in. I slow down to catch my breath. I slowly walk around wondering what I should do first. My ears pick up a soft musical sound, and I dance toward it. It leads me to the movie room where they are showing the movie ‘Apollo 11.’ The movie is just at the scene where the crew is landing in the ocean. When the movie finishes and I waddle out and into the gift shop, where I jump up and grab a toy Apollo 11 rocket ship. I sit down and play with it, pretending I am the captain. Someday, I will be on the real one. Can you imagine the headlines, ‘The first dodo in space.’

A sound breaks my dream. It is just a word.

“Dodo!”

I completely forgot about the evening tour that comes in tonight! I race down the hall, trying to make it to the exhibit in time. With all my thoughts running wild, I race into the tour. An old woman with a walker sees me. I freeze for a moment out of shock. The woman stares after me and rubs her eyes.

“Hildi, you ok?” the man next to her asks.

“I’m ok, Harold. I’m ok.”

I see an open door near me and I race through. It is dark. I slow down my pace, but still slam into a door. It is closed! I cannot reach the doorknob. I start to turn back, but notice a shelf. I climb up and reach out a foot to turn the knob. The door flies open and I topple over in alarm.

“All of this falling is really bad for my head,” I think to myself.

“And here is the dodo exhibit! The last known sighting of the bird was in 1662!”

I sprint around the corner and see my perch right in the middle of my corridor. I can hear the shuffling of feet approaching the hallway. I’ve never run this hard in all my life. I jump onto my perch, which slides to the left. I calm my raging heart, and slow my breath as the group comes in.

“And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the bird!”

The old woman with the walker moves my perch to the right, smiles, winks, and sets me in a nice position. Then she slowly walks away. Eventually, I make sure there are no stragglers, before climbing onto the window ledge. Outside, the stars are slowly popping out of the sky above my favorite city.