Monday, February 05, 2007

GBA(s)FC Entry #18

Pigeons
by SilverTiger

The old man entered the park. There was only Mrs Johnson from the council flats hurrying through with her shopping but otherwise it was quiet as he knew it would be.

He sat down on his usual bench, placing the carrier bags within easy reach, wedging them against his legs so they wouldn't fall over. A pigeon fluttered down and waddled purposefully towards him. Then another arrived. And another. And another. And in a sudden rush like a gust of wind the air was full of pigeons, the sky was dark with them. Down they came from the trees, from the lawns and from the pathways where they had waited.

Where they waited for the old man in the dirty raincoat, spattered with pigeon droppings, the old man with the supermarket bags full of stale bread carefully broken into small pieces just the right size for a pigeon to grab and swallow in a melee of jostling squabbling pigeons.

"Shouldn't be allowed," muttered Mrs Johnson on her way out of the park.

"Them's pests. Making a mess pooing on everything. Oughta be ashamed of 'imself." She stopped at the gate and looked back. "Oughta be ashamed of yerself," she croaked and then turned and went on her way.

The old man smiled at his pigeons. Yes, his pigeons. He fed them and they knew him. Every day he came to the park with his bags of crusts and his pigeons knew him. They pressed around him, even fluttering onto the bench beside him, even onto his knees and his shoulders leaving streaky traces on his dirty raincoat.

The pigeons loved him. He was sure of it. He knew it from the bold stare in their sparkly pigeons' eyes, from the way they waddled around him and the way they said rrrroooo rrrroooo to him. And he loved the pigeons. His eyes grew moist as he thought this and tossed out handfuls of bread. The pigeons jostled and pecked and chased one another. "Plenty more, boys and girls, plenty more," the old man crooned.

The bread was finished and the bags lay deflated beside him. The old man leaned back on the bench. Suddenly he felt unwell. A sharp sigh escaped him. A pain went through his chest as if he had been shot with an arrow.

He was suffocating and clawed at his throat. He rose convulsively from the bench and hung suspended for an instant like a marionette on its hook. And then... And then...

He was in the air. He was flying. The park lay below him, jewel-like in its miniature perfection. He swooped and soared. All around him pigeons were flying too. Rrrroooo rrrroooo they said. And he smiled for the joy of it.

Mrs Johnson looked back into the park at the ambulance men and the crumpled figure in the dirty raincoat. They covered him with a sheet and lifted him into the ambulance. "Silly old bugger," she muttered.

"Only the pigeons'll miss him."

11 comments:

opinion-minion said...

One of the few decent entries of the lot. This takes my vote. I liked the story with the weird young man the women hit with her car, but I like this one best.

The Moon Topples said...

I'll thank you not to flame other participants while voting, OM. It's sufficient to say that you like the entry in question.

Ms Melancholy said...

Quite beautiful. This gets my vote.

Caroline said...

I like this one too. But the other one didn't have any votes and I liked that one too. Oh bugger! I'm really crap at making decisions.

THE PERIODIC ENGLISHMAN said...

Oh no. I like this one, too. Does this mean, by commenting here, that I have voted three times now? I've just been working my way through them and idly commenting here and there - I'm not sure if these count as votes, Mr Moon? If they do, good. If not, I'll have to go and check the rules again. Is multiple voting allowed (each vote being cast for a different story)? There are just too many good ones to narrow it down to a single choice, I find. Six entries have particularly caught my eye to date.

Anyway, I'm having great fun reading them, whatever your verdict turns out to be, Hero Moon.

Kind regards etc...

Brian said...

This is such a vivid story and at the end, thought provoking and sincere.

Brilliant job, worthy of the award. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the way this is written, with him in the end, 'flying' with the pigeons. Well done!

Miss Understood said...

This was a fantastic entry...I absolutely loved it. It was brilliantly written, and it pulled on my heart strings which is always a good thing. Well done...you deserve it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Great story, all the way! I liked it so much. Most deserving of the award.

ZigZagMan said...

I know voting is over.......but great story. I can see this being done as a short movie.

Well done! :)

Cailleach said...

I thought this one might get it. Congrats Silver Tiger, a worthy story, very visual and making social commentary effectively without being too preachy.
Lovely job!