The Pigeon

I saw a pigeon tottering down the sidewalk near the train station. I don’t mean to suggest he lacked balance or might fall. Tottering is normal behavior in pigeons.

Passengers, not pigeons, were leaving the train with their briefcases and shopping bags flopping against their sides like broken wings. A boy on a skateboard weaved through the crowd, almost hitting the pigeon.

“Sorry bird,” he said as he continued on his way.

Then a man in a suit walked by and waggled his foot at the bird. The bird hopped out of his way with an animal’s sense of decorum.

I wondered if the man had a dog. Did he waggle his foot at him or, perhaps, kick him? Was he like the guy on the news who chased owls with an ultralight?

I watched the pigeon move from the sidewalk to an overhead wire. I waited for his vengeful, smelly missives to spackle his tormentors with regret. There was evidence on the pavement he’d been practicing.

But, no, he was content to wait for the crowds to thin, then returned to the sidewalk to clean up after them.

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