Thursday, February 09, 2006

What I Saw On The Sidewalk

Scattered yellow corn
handful of pigeon feathers--
write your own story.

Update: Bobbe writes:

The psychotic attack-pigeons of Gammatron-9 have been put to pasture
after the Galactic War. Forced to live in a world they fought for but
don't belong in, they cluster together in small groups, living on the
fringes of civilized avian society, outcasts in the modern age. They
flock together under rotted trees, in abandoned nests and various
parts of the "wrong side" of the forest. For the most part, they just
wish to be left alone, a solitary brotherhood of a hellish
beak-and-feather conflict, dangerous relics that the "upper crust" of
Gammatron-9 wish to forget like a bad dream.

The Eagle overlords of Gammatron-9
have decided that the people need a diversion from the harsh reality
that the Great War has actually stripped their forest of precious
resources. There isn't enough food or space to accomodate everyone.
So they send out the Hawkeye Sky-Wing-Search teams to round up &
capture the once proud units of Recon Attack pigeons. With no choice
offered them, they are forced to fight each other to the death over a
handful of corn for the savage amusement of the crowd in an avian
death nest.

But the travesty doesn't end there! The victor isn't "awarded" the
handful of corn, he has only earned the right to face the Trial of
Traffic, a hellish gauntlet of perilously navigating oncoming human
cars at low altitudes to swoop onto the opposite sidewalk a mile away
for the pile of food.

Golden corn, more precious than life itself, a commodity that would
drive a pigeon to risk everything in a life-or-death gamble for
freedom & a full gullet. A pile is enough to live like a game hen for
the rest of your life. Many a bird has risked wing and feather for
just a single kernel, only to have their teal and yellow innards
splayed across the windshield of a shit-brown '78 Buick Skylark. The
kind that is always loaded with human children screeching for
God-knows-what, and missing at least one hubcap.

Slipwing Jack, the heroic fowl of freedom, hero of the disasterous
"Gullfyre" project and lone survivor of the SpecFlight Ops command
"Black Talon Squadron", has fought and pecked his way to the final
hurdle, this quiet noise. He faces the human death trap with a cold
realization: Win or lose the gauntlet, the dream he has lived for was
never really his. The life he has led has been a lie, killing his
brothers at the command of the Eagle Overlords for nothing more than
their amusement. He looks over at the gathered host of avian society,
now perched with anticipation on the myriad electrical tightropes that
makeup the human power transfer system. He sees the gossamer trace of
malice in their eyes, the obscene hope that he WON'T make it through.
A thought goes through his head, which is actually a short journey for
the thought since his brain is roughly half the size of a chigger's


Jack makes a choice and dives. He gains speed as he approaches the
pavement, head tilted in defiance of the traditional respect owed the
Eagles. His wings slant as his velocity increases, but he doesn't
alter his trajectory and the observing crowd gasps...Is he committing

NO! With adroitness of wing and tail to make even the Falcons
envious, Slipwing Jack jinks his body left at a dizzying speed,
dodging a Volkswagen Bug, negotiating a milk truck and skimming the
surface of the asphalt under a fully-loaded 18 wheeler. He is a
streak of grey, leaving a blurry trail of courage behind him as he
comes within a few feet of the yellow, precious prize piled with
perfect precision and persistently pleasing panache.

HE IS THERE! The highway is behind him, the polluted air that gave
him lift is past and he relaxes his guard as he alights onto the curb
near the riches that are his to claim. He sees a new life ahead for
himself, perhaps with a special Chickenhawk who has been nestling
close to him recently. To Jack, these are dreams that shine brighter
than a thousand suns, and they fill his mind (again, smaller than an
amoeba) until there isn't room for anything else.

Which is why he never saw the kid on the skateboard.

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