To the north of the new telly, beyond my favourite hunting ground - the fertile plain that is our lounge room floor lies a forbidden valley. To Badger and I it is known as "Hell's Kitchen". It is a place of sheer, towering cupboards, a place of foul smells and even fouler language. It is a mysterious place of eerie, roiling steam which seems to twist human personalities. My female staff enters "Hell's Kitchen" a normal, well mannered (for an Australian) lady only to emerge an hour later as a dishevelled, potty mouthed wretch with scalded fingers and a savage glint in her eye that dares my male staff to complain about the food she has just prepared.
Badger and I are forbidden to enter Hell's Kitchen. When we were younger a tall cardboard barrier was placed across the entrance to the valley, and though we sniffed and snuffled at this wall, neither of us had the courage to try to force an entrance. These days there is no barrier, but still an aura of evil hangs about the place and neither of us dares to put even a single paw onto it's glossy, cork tiled floor.
Legend has it that within Hell's Kitchen they lies a cool cave. An oasis of calm and plenty from whence comes all manner of good things to eat. It is even rumoured that there are unlimited supplies of basil and cucumber within. The entrance to the cave is sealed most of the day, but when one of my staff utters the magic words "Time for a snack." the entrance to the cave creaks open to reveal all the wonders therein.
Neither Badger nor I have seen inside the cave, but Paolo the budgie says he once glimpsed it's wondrous interior as he flew past en route to a collision with a window one day. Sadly that collision left him with concussion and he was unable to remember what he saw. His only recollection was that of a blinding light emanating from within the cavern and then all went dark as he collided with the glass.
I have heard tales of an another cave situated not far from the cool cave. This is a hot cave though, and is so deep that it reaches the molten magma at the very centre of the earth. It is known as "The Bloody Oven". Now and again the putrid stench of burning flesh seeps through the house. This is a sure sign that my female staff has sacrificed some sort of animal within this hot as Hades hole. Once the sacrifice has been made, the cremated animal is withdrawn from the cave and my staff mutter and chant incantations over the smouldering carcass. From where our cages are it's hard to tell exactly what they're saying, but I'm sure I've heard the words "Oh bollocks! Looks like beans on toast again" uttered more than once.
One day Badger and I will summon the courage to mount an expedition into "Hell's Kitchen", and who knows? Maybe we'll even venture into the cool cave. We'll need another reconnaissance flight by Paolo first though, and that in itself is a problem because Paolo doesn't "do" corners. He tends to fly in a straight line until he hits something big and unyielding - a wall, a window, my male staff. Therefore he can't be relied upon to return unconcussed with reliable information about the lay of the land.. Still, all great adventures have to start somewhere. I doubt that Sir Edmund Hillary got his budgie to fly over Mount Everest before he made his historic ascent and yet he still made it to the top. On the other hand Scott of the Arse Antics or whatever his name was didn't instruct his budgie to fly over the South Pole and report back, and look what happened to him.
There's no way I'm setting foot inside "Hell's Kitchen". If Billy wants to go, he's on his own. I'll stay behind and tidy my cage thank you very much. I don't want to be sacrificed in "The Bloody Oven".