Chapter 04

MONEY BIRD

Tan Tan and the man followed us up the beach. 'Can I have a ride?' Tan Tan kept asking.

'Why not?' I said, drying myself on a towel. Sukee shook so hard to dry herself that droplets sprayed like rain!

Money Bird'Okay, I'll take you once up and down the beach,' said Dad, helping Tan Tan to mount.

Carefully, the man put his birdcage beside me and walked alongside Tan Tan in the sand. Was the man his dad? They looked similar, although the man had a limp.

The sun felt hot, even in the shade. I was alone. Maybe Dad and I could get rich by charging money for pony rides! I drank some water, watching Sukee growing smaller. The birdcage was wooden and the cotton cover was stained. Who wants a little bird when you have a pony? No birdsong. Not even a tweet.

Sukee and company were tiny now. They disappeared behind a big boulder.

Should I tell Ma about Sukee? Would she be angry?

A seabird with yellow legs flew by. What kind of bird was in the birdcage anyway? Why was it so quiet?

Nobody was looking. I tugged at the zip to take a peek. There was no fluttering of wings. No scattered birdseed. The base was covered with newspaper. And notes. Piles of notes. I unzipped higher. Piles of yellow notes. Money? Wah! Yes! A stash of cash. Thousands upon thousands of Hong Kong dollars!

I looked up, sweat dripping into my eyes. Dad appeared from the other side of the boulder and waved. Quickly, I zipped the birdcage shut.

When the group returned, I snuggled my face in Sukee's mane, not daring to look at anyone.

I still haven't told anyone about the money. Except you!

Until next week: toodle-pip!

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