A Pigeon in the Rain (a short story)

David usually leapt at the prospect of going to the park, but today was an odd day for him. It was raining. “There’s no point in going to the park in the rain,” he thought, “because I’ll not be able to feed the pigeons.”

Pigeons – as you may know – don’t like the rain. Or, at least the pigeons where David lived didn’t like the rain, or so David suspected. Truth be told, David had no idea if the pigeons where he lived didn’t like the rain, because David himself didn’t like the rain, he never went out in the rain and therefore had no first hand knowledge of whether or not the pigeons liked the rain. In all actuality, pigeons anywhere don’t mind the rain, because where would they go if it were raining? David wasn’t sure. And was in no hurry to find out.

So David decided he was going to stay in today.

He flicked upon his computer and set down to watch videos of pigeons. David liked pigeons this much. It was about a half an hour into his watching of the videos of pigeons when he heard a loud knock on his front door. David turned to look, wondering who could it be.

He stood slowly, wondering if perhaps he had imagined the sound when he heard it again- one short loud knock. David was startled, but quickly went to see who it was.

He opened the door slowly and when it was finally open, he stood in staring disbelief at who had knocked. For, standing there about six feet tall was a pigeon.

“Are you a man in a pigeon costume?” asked David. “I’ve never seen a pigeon so tall.”

“I’m nothing but what it seems, David. I’m a six feet tall pigeon. I’m King of the pigeons. And we need to talk.”

***

David and the pigeon were sitting across from each other at David’s kitchen table. Both were silently mulling this odd occasion; David at the prospect of what it meant to be sitting with a pigeon, and the pigeon at the awkwardness in how he was being made to sit at a kitchen table, when he had asked to go to the roof to talk. “It’s raining,” David had said. And they ended up here, where this scene is set, at a kitchen table.

“It’s raining,” said David, more to cut through the silence than to actually start conversation.

“As you know, David, pigeons love the rain,” the pigeon said.

David was surprised. “I thought pigeons hated the rain! Like me!”

“No David. Pigeons love the rain. And yes, we know you don’t. But that’s really what I’d like to discuss. What’s your big problem with the rain?”

“I get wet,” David replied.

“And what about getting a little wet in the rain should keep you inside all day, every day it rains. Why, there is so much to discover in the rain. There’s the beauty of the water in droplets; there’s the look of the city in the almost black and white landscape the rain creates; there’s flying above and seeing the tops of the umbrellas bumping into each other. And when the rain is done, there are worms that come out of the grass in the park that you can feast on. In fact, it is the latter reason to love the rain which is the only reason us park pigeons don’t starve, seeing as how it’s always a day you don’t come to the park to feed us. So, I ask you again: Why truly do you not like the rain?”

“I get wet,” David replied. “And besides, if you pigeons still are able to eat well without my feeding you, what’s it to you that I don’t like the rain?” David was feeling indignant, sitting there feeling much superior to the pigeon, for even though this was no pigeon like he’d ever met before, it was still a pigeon and therefore beneath in airs than a standup guy like David.

“David!” exclaimed the pigeon. “I’m surprised at you! Why, do you really think it’s the food you bring that makes the pigeons love you? David, it is your very essence that the pigeons enjoy. Us pigeons can’t ever wait to see you. You’re a beautiful human who can’t stand to see a pigeon hungry. That in and of itself makes you our favorite human.”

David was taken aback. Here was this pigeon, six feet tall like a man, talking about how the pigeons loved him. “I thought you were just dumb pigeons! I had no idea you could think and love and talk and be six feet tall! Why, I couldn’t even dream up something so wonderful!”

The pigeon’s expression didn’t change. “Well you know now, David. So tell me, why is it really that you don’t like the rain? I, and every pigeon, would like to know. Why is it that rain should keep you indoors?”

David thought for a moment, contemplating why it was that he didn’t like the rain. “I really think that it’s just because I get wet. I go out there, and my clothes get soaked through to the skin, and I could catch a cold. It’s uncomfortable to have soaked clothes, Mr. Pigeon. I just don’t like it.”

The pigeon raised his eyebrows. “And so lose the clothes, buddy. We want to see you out there. You can take today and that’s that, but the next time it rains and you don’t come to the park, we’ll be having another little chat. Now, I have to go outside and be a pigeon now. You think about what I said.”

The pigeon got up from the chair, strolled over to the door, opened it, turned to give one more look of disappointment to David, and left the house. David raced over to the still-open door to see if the pigeon had taken flight, but when he got there, there was no one in sight, and nothing but a note taped to the door itself.

David reached out and took the piece of paper off the door. It was a Fed Ex receipt, which read that they were “Sorry we missed you. Please pick up your package within 5 days.” And there was an address listed where he needed to go.

David turned and shut the door, and returned to where he was sitting in the kitchen.

“What was that?” he said outloud. “There had just been a six feet tall pigeon sitting here with me, right? I mean, there was! He told me to get naked and go outside in the rain. Like I wouldn’t still catch a cold? I say!”

***

Weeks passed and no word from the six feet tall pigeon, until one afternoon, it began to rain. David, naturally, resigned to be inside for the rest of the day- he didn’t like his clothes to get wet, after all.

Then, David stopped. Had it been his imagination those weeks ago? Had a six foot tall pigeon really told him to get naked and go running in the rain? “As I live and breathe,” said David to himself, “If I am a sane man, there really was a pigeon that came in and sat with me at my kitchen table, and he really did tell me I should go naked through the rain.” David sat down. He heard a knock at the door, which startled him out of his thoughts. “Who is it?!” exclaimed David, suddenly sure he was to open the door to a six feet tall pigeon.

“Fed Ex!” he heard from outside.

Quickly, David went to the door, and opened it, expecting a man with a package to be delivered. As it happened, there was that six foot tall pigeon. “Tricked you!” laughed the pigeon. “Now come on, let’s go dancing naked through the rain! Take off those clothes!”

Glee spread over David’s mood as he replied, “I will, Mr. Pigeon! I look forward to it!” With that, David stripped down. “Let’s go!” he cried.

Of course, it wasn’t long before David was spotted on his way to the park to play pigeon for a day, naked and cold. “Look at that man!” said someone across the street. “Somebody stop him!”

And of course, the police got involved. They took one look at the man and arrested him for public indecency.

The moral of the story? Never listen to what a six foot tall pigeon might tell you to do. You’ll never get to pick up that package that wasn’t delivered.

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