Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Another short story from the collection, 'Banfield Tales' (2015)
'Pigeon' by Michael Braccia
He’s there again. That middle-aged bloke at number thirty-six. Thinks he owns the place. I need to describe him so you can get an image of what a prat he is. Six feet, losing his hair from the front, glasses, and I imagine he used to be lanky. Spindly legs (God, I hope he doesn’t wear those shorts this summer) but a ridiculous pot belly. Not sure if he’s a drinker, just a bit pathetic in old age. Not the most attractive site first thing in the morning. I don’t like him; neither do my mates. He’s trying to get rid of us. Here we go again, the start of another day. Once again, the idiot’s out to get me. Prat.
Here I am, minding my own business, sitting on the fence watching the world go by. I’ll have a bit of a scratch – get rid of a few fleas. Those lice are a pest as well. Let’s have a good go at them this morning. Bloody Hell, Prat’s here again. Here he comes with his dawn chorus - clap, clap. Not sure he’d have the guts to actually hurt me, but I’ll fly away anyway. There’s always some bits and bobs to eat on the garage roof at number fifty-six in the next street. Best come back later.
Hang on, he’s gone back in; just as well, I need to go to the loo. Nice and comfortable on his fence. He had the landscape gardeners in last month laying some nice expensive beige slabs. Soon sort that out. No, get in position, ready, aah... much better. Good, I’ve made a mess of his slabs. Serve him right, clapping his hands at me. Goes right through me, but I suppose that’s the general idea. Reminds me, union meeting tonight. The lads have been moaning about Prat ‘Ed and seem to blame me as it’s my territory. Sorry lads, not my fault. I always get the brunt of it. Hang on, he’s coming out again. Flippin’ Eck, he’s got a bucket of water; I’m off. Just hang about in that tree.
It’s ok, he’s spotted my doings. He likes a clean slab. Oh, get him, Fairy Liquid Deluxe (other washing-up liquids are available), scrubbing brush, the works. Still won’t come off. His wife told him it’s the berries we eat. Makes it a funny colour. You’ll have to wait for a few days of rain. That’ll shift it. Sure we have acid rain from Scandinavia these days. Shifts anything.
At least he hasn’t got a cat. Or a dog. All things considered, I could be a lot worse off. He had foxes last year. He got rid of them, so we must give him some credit. I lost two of my mates to that fox. Never mind, the damn thing’s gone now. If my patch was next door, food would be put out for me. Bits of biscuit, piece of bread, even those little blue pellets they accidently dropped in the soil around the plants. Not sure what they are. Bit exotic for my taste. Gave me a dicky tummy.
The main reason I don’t like him is that he’s ruining my love life. How can I bring a bird round when Old Prat Face keeps running out and clapping his hands? I wouldn’t mind if it was a round of applause in appreciation of my performance, but it’s like watching a folk singer on speed. Next thing you know he’ll be putting his finger in one ear. After a bit of coo-cooing last Wednesday night, my last bird said she’d heard about the problems at my place and didn’t believe it. She was prepared to give it a go, but never again. I don’t mind being given the boot, but this is getting out of claw. He’s got a lot to answer for. Don’t know how his wife puts up with him. I’m getting desperate now, though. I’m the only one in the gang without a bird. Jim and Clive have produced three broods already this year. Jim says that ‘er indoors is very pleased with their new gaff. I helped him with a few twigs the day they moved in. His missis gave me a funny look. Think she fancies me.
What’s he up to now? The Prat’s taking a cardboard box to the shed. Hang on, he’s getting some tools out. Hammer, hacksaw, screwdriver. What’s all this in aid of? I’ll drop onto the shed roof for a closer look. What the... no one else knows that I can read. On the lid of the box it says ‘Pigeon Spikes’. Now, unless he’s entering me for the 400 meters relay I fear that Prat has gone and bought what is known as a ‘Pigeon Deterrent’. Small (very sharp) plastic spikes are lined up in rows. You cut them to size and screw them to the top of the fence. Boy do they hurt your rear end. Old Tommy had to move house last year when his human occupant put them on every fence and on top of his shed. Tommy couldn’t sit down for a week. Hang on, he’s talking to the woman over the fence. Chatting her up? No, he’s just warning them about the spikes.
‘Let your husband know; just in case. It’s seven foot to the top of the fence from your side, but you never know.’
‘Think his climbing days are over.’
I know us pigeons only seem to sit and coo all day, but if we could talk, our level of humour and banter would be far more sophisticated. Wonder if he’ll put them on the shed? My mates use that as the public loo. It goes down the back of the shed so he doesn’t tend to notice. No, he’s just doing the three fences overhanging his brand new slabs. Fair enough, I can live with that. I’ll just do it over the lawn and the flower bed further down. As long as he leaves me alone. Hold up, here he comes.
‘Get off, you stupid pigeon!’
More hand clapping.
Xen he is not. Think I’ll nip round to Tommy’s. See how he is. I’ll share a curry with him and fly back home after. Make Prat’s day.
I enjoyed that. Mind you, I couldn’t wait until I’d got home, so I’ll let him off today. What’s he doing now? That neighbour’s called him back. He’s on the top of the ladder. Looks precarious. Even I think he should be careful.
Crikey, he’s slipped forwards right on top of the fence. God that looks painful. Right through his trousers.
Someone should have warned him about the spikes...