second draft of a story I have been working on. apologies for the insane punctuation.
The pigeon was just chilling in front of a house on Washington Street with a purple fence
or that’s what he told himself
as he continued on the sidewalk.
he knew something was up
but sometimes you just don’t wanna be bothered with inconvenient shit like a dumb ass palota that forgot how to walk
especially today when he was trying to lay game on a lady
and a beautiful one at that
long brown hair, big brown eyes
his type for sure
he’d met her three nights ago at the spot
which was really called La Hacienda
the joint where he often met his dudes after finishing up his cashier shift at Walgreens during the week
he was taking his scrawny ass to Union Square from his crib in Somerville to surprise her
at her job at Union Square Vet Hospital.
five blocks away, on Washington Street
he began hearing a chirping sound
and looked down to find the sick palota
lying stomach down
occasionally trying to lift its fucked up leg
When he was younger
he’d sneak up to the roof of his apartment complex with his buddy Julio
whenever his dad would show up to ask his mom for agua
A lot of times there’d be pigeons up there
and he and Julio occasionally fucked with them
but most of the time just let them be
even gave them some stale bread they kept up there
after they started smoking el pasto and keeping snacks up there in case.
they did shit everywhere, which was annoying, but the way he saw it, they weren’t leaving, so they might as well be cool with each other
He kept thinking about those pigeons as he stood over the bird
and wondering why he didn’t just keep walking
everybody else was, so why shouldn’t he?
Shit died every day
It was natural selection
survival of the fittest
he tried to tell himself
and anyway what could a dumbass like he do?
he couldn’t pick up a random pigeon
what if he got a disease?
who knows what else?
well he didn’t want to get bird flu
so after standing there for a few minutes
he finally took off down the road to the vet clinic
when he got to the clinic, he hugged his girl at the counter
the day was wrapping up
she and her coworker were closing up shop
sweeping the floor
drawing the shades
the coworker peaced
and right after, thats when he mentioned his coming across the pigeon on Washington St
how he knew he was being stupid
by thinking about it so much
“Dude it’s a pigeon,” the woman said eventually.
“I know. I know. But I can’t stop thinking about it. Can we just get like a cage or box or something? and go look at it?”
“yeah. I’m sorry”
“no it’s cool. I’m not touching it though,” she said.
“But you’re a vet tech!”
“For dogs and cats,” she replied.
“Right. okay lets just go see it.”
So they left in the woman’s tan jeep, with an orange towel and a small box the woman had grabbed out of the closet
when they got to the house with the purple fence
the woman parked the car alongside it
the two got out
he pointed a finger in the direction of the pigeon
the woman looked at the bird
which now had it’s eyes mostly closed
its belly rising and falling
“I’ll call the South Shore Animal League,” she offered.
“Cool,” he said.
She pulled out her iPhone and looked up the number.
“Hi, there, there’s an injured pigeon on the side of the road here in Union Square.”
“Yup, a pigeon.”
“Oh. really? Okay.”
“What’s the deal?” he asked, after she’d hung up.
“They don’t take pigeons. Let me try one other place.”
So she did. She called the local university’s animal hospital.
“Hi we found this injured pigeon…hang on? oh okay sure.”
“See you have to tell them it’s injured not sick or else they’ll think he’s got bird flu or something,” she told the man now, on hold with the hospital.
“You think he got the bird flu?” asked the man.
“I don’t know. I don’t know if pigeons even carry it.”
And then the veternarian or whoever the fuck on the other end started talking, and she listened and then spoke into her phone.
“Oh really? Well I don’t know if it’ll still be alive in the morning.”
Then she listened for another minute.
“Oh okay. Thanks anyway.”
Talking to the young man again: “First they told me they didn’t have anyone there to see him that knew about birds and then they were like no altogether.”
“Don’t these places see birds?” the man said more loudly than he’d been expecting to.
“Probably, but this isn’t someone’s bird, comprende?”
“Okay so what now?” the man said.
“I don’t know. We could give it some water.
“Let me run back to get some. Wait here,” she told him.
“Where am I gonna go, morena?”
She rolled her eyes and hustled down the road back to her office.
He waited a few minutes, sitting a few feet from the bird
hands and back on the fence.
The pigeon opened its eyes to see this guy
was who was sitting near to him
Not knowing what else to do, the man took a stick and gently poked the bird’s foot.
The bird started making like it was gonna get up and go
like he really was just sitting there gettin a tan
the man watched it struggle to lift its feet, getting one up before for falling back down awkwardly when its injured foot wouldn’t cooperate
The young woman showed up a few minutes later and set a bowl of water 2 feet from the bird
When the bird didn’t move she put the bowl of water a little closer
so that all the bird had to do was lean its head over into the bowl
which it did
“This is fucked up. Can’t someone take this palota estupida?” the man shouted. ”Can’t someone who knows what they’re doing come out here and do something.”
The woman shrugged.
And then the man did something he didn’t expect to do
He opened the box up and grabbed the towel
“Are you serious right now?” said the lady.
“Just close down the flaps when I get him in.”
And he smiled at her.
Not the smile he reserved for morenas at the spot
but the one he used with his sisters and mother
“Fine. But if I get avian flu, you’re taking care of me and looking after my daughter for the rest of her life.”
So the man took a breath and reached down
his hands wrapped in towel
and scooped up the bird
in his grip, though
he held on tight
he’d always been cool with handling the mice he found in traps
around his mother’s house after she got old and couldn’t keep up with the weekly cleaning chores she once forced herself to do
so when it was time to drop the bird in the box
he did so gently
without freaking out
After the bird was in
he took the box from her and climbed into her jeep.
the bird in his lap on the drivers side
“Oh so it’s gonna be like that,” she said. ”Okay what next crazy dude?”
“We’re going to the animal hospital.”
They drove the 20 minutes to the outskirts of the city, where the animal hospital
sat on a flat piece of land in the middle of a university campus.
He looked for the emergency parking and pulled into a spot.
Once parked, he opened the door and carried the bird inside the box up the many steps which led into the lobby of the hospital
The lady sat in the passenger side waiting for him to return
When she finally saw him coming down the steps and toward the car, she noticed he still had the box in his hands.
She got out of the car and shrugged
as if to say “well we did all we could.”
He was drooping down like a boxer who’d just got his ass whooped as he walked toward the car. He thought for sure once they’d seen the bird they’d keep him or at least put him out of his misery.
But the lady at the counter looked at him as if he was una persona loca
for bringing in a pigeon in a box.
He kept thinking about this as he got closer to the jeep.
Thinking he probably would have acted the same way if he was in her position
and she had brought in a pigeon in a box to his hospital
Hell he might have joked about the whole experience over beers with Julio and the rest of his crew later on at the spot.
As he thought this, he could feel the bird’s warmth coming through the box and into his hands. It reminded him of the old feeling he’d get when his mother would take him in for big ass bear hugs when he was a kid, and how one time he’d asked her why she gave him such crazy hugs when the other kids got normal sized hugs. She’d told him that when she hugged him, she’d been doing it for two people. His mama and his papa.
“So you see, I have to hug you from both of us, hijo? Comprende?” she’d said.
The man was thinking this and still looking down at the box.
When he got to the car, he spoke. “Hey lady I’ll be back in a hot minute.”
“Dude you aint giving up on this bird are you?”
And with that, he turned around and speed walked back up the steps and through the lobby doors
As he approached the desk, bird still in his arms,
the lady at the counter got to her feet and made as if to speak
Before she could, the young man
raised his voice:
“I’m sorry lady, but you’re taking this fucking pigeon!”
before setting it on the counter in front of her and
running out of the lobby back to the jeep
and his girl.