The Pigeon of Death
originally posted on unknown day, September 2000
All right, I admit it: I'm not a fan of birds. All my bird-owning buddies have just put me on their shit-lists, to be sure, but, what the hell.... I don't mind finches or house sparrows or whatever those little, brown, innocuous flitterers are. Watching a clutch of little seed-eaters hopping about and making "beep" noises as they peck up a spill of birdseed can be rather charming, but, frankly, if its wingspan is larger than my head, it's not destined to be my friend.
Parrots, macaws, cockatoos, avians of that ilk, have been known to hop down off of remote locations and run across rooms, braving a severe trampling or even a vacuum-cleaner to get to me and take a bite of whatever limb presents itself. They hate me on sight and, after many bites, wings in the face, screams in ears and shit deposited on clothes with the distance accuracy of a B-2 bombardier, I return the favor (of hate, that is). They're gorgeous to observe (especially from the blue-glowing safety of my video monitor), but keep them away from me. The phrase "burrito on the fly" always comes to mind when a large bird starts giving me that look.
And my wary observations extend to other, less-attractive birds as well. I can, with a cup of coffee in my hand, sit on the benches in Westlake Park and watch the pigeons flock and strut and try to make time with one another for... oh, at least as long as it takes me to finish a very large hazelnut latte, sometimes even a whole lunch. But when they suddenly start coming toward me in a rush, I'm out of there: no time for coffee, gotta run....
So... my husband and I were sitting outside the Westlake SBC coffee-vendor on a very pleasant summer afternoon, having a bit of iced caffeine and watching the pigeons, when we spotted one that was truly different from all the rest. He wasn't of any determinable color, though he seemed to have started out black. Maybe that was just the charring.... His head seemed to be attached to his body in a curious and slip-shod manner and one eye was... missing. Feathers stuck out of his head and body at bizarre angles and he walked in rushes between sudden stops to scan the area for his next victim. And yet, he was not sickly or weak, he was determined and kind of scary. The other pigeons moved away from him, eyeing him uncomfortably. We expected them to fall over, dead, as he passed, but, apparently he was on the prowl for a specific victim. Neither we, nor the pigeons in the park, had ever seen a bird that looked so much like it had been raised from the dead and reconstructed from parts. Frankenstein's pigeon!
"Doesn't he look like the Pigeon of Death?" I asked. "You know, the little birdy-incarnation of the Grim Reaper?"
"Well, he certainly looks like he's been dead a while," my husband said.
"Maybe he's a minion of Death, you know: Thanatos' Little Helper."
"He looks evil, to me, with that missing eye and all...."
"The Pigeon of Death, Evil Incarnate."
"Satan's Little Helper."
"Nah. He's the bad-guy's right-hand dude in the avian-world."
"Shouldn't that be the left hand? I mean, this is the Prince of Darkness we're discussing, here."
"Naturally: He-Who-Sits-on-the-Left-Hand.... No, wait... make that He-Who-Shits-on-the-Left-Epaulet-of-Satan."
"That's disgusting. But funny. The Pigeon of Death, Evil Incarnate, He-Who-Shits-on-the-Left-Epaulet-of-Satan...."
And the stinking little bastard rushed us!
So much for that cup of coffee....
Did I tell you that birds hate me?
To view the PoD in his evil glory: go to the Pod Animation page at KatRichardson.com.