It rained today, so I used the walkway between buildings when I went to class. The walkway goes from the second floor of the building with the teachers' room in it to the second floor of the building with my classroom in it. I was almost across when I heard a disgruntled voice:
"Do you really have to stamp your feet like that?"
I stopped. "I beg your pardon?" I asked.
"Can't you walk a little more quietly?" said the voice. "You'll wake the babies."
I looked up. Then I looked down. And then I looked behind the door, which had been chained open.
"Why on earth did you build your nest down there?" I asked. "That's just silly. People go past all the time, and when the door is closed you have no protection at all!"
"Tell me about it," said the pigeon. "I chose this corner VERY CAREFULLY. There was nobody around, and it looked perfect. And then a week later there were people everywhere and someone closed the door, and it was too late. It was AWFUL."
"It must have been the holidays," I said.
"Probably," said the pigeon. "But nobody told ME."
"The door is open now, though," I observed.
"Yes," said the pigeon. "I asked very nicely, and the janitors chained it open."
"How are the babies?" I asked.
"Bloody noisy and demanding," said the pigeon. "And ugly. I'll be glad when I can push them out and get back to normal life. Do you know how EXHAUSTING it is, being a mother? Look at the size of this beak! These guys do nothing but eat and poop. What a mess!"
"It is a bit messy," I agreed. "But are they really so ugly?"
"They're hideous," said the pigeon. "I have to sit on them to hide them."
"I thought you were keeping them warm," I said.
"They can freeze for all I care," said the pigeon. "But I'd be a laughing stock if anybody saw them. And everyone would know they're mine. They keep yelling my name. I have to keep feeding them to shut them up."
"Oh," I said. "I didn't know it worked like that."
"I never wanted them in the first place," said the pigeon.
"You should have thought of that before," I said, reprovingly.
"I did!" said the pigeon indignantly. "Do you think I became a single parent on purpose? I didn't plan this! But one day I was scratching around in the dirt, minding my own business, and suddenly some great lout snuck up behind me and - "
"Yes, I get the picture," I said, hurriedly.
"He didn't even ask permission!" said the pigeon. "And where is he now? Chasing somebody plumper, probably. Or scrounging food off gullible humans and not bringing me any."
"Terrible," I said.
"Got any food?" asked the pigeon.
"Sorry, no," I said.
"Then bugger off," instructed the pigeon. "QUIETLY. And next time, bring food."
"I will," I promised, meekly.
And I went to class.
© BadAunt 2008