A Pigeon Explores the City that Never Sleeps
Bored and unable to get to sleep, Lew decides to hit the town...
Today’s story follows Lew—the lost pigeon in New York City—as he gets restless when he can’t fall asleep and decides to hit the town.
As always, here is a link to the first part in Lew’s story:
And here’s a link to the previous part:
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I quickly learnt that life in New York City wasn’t just all parties for birds and hot dog scraps.
Francois was committed to his mall heist and his preparations were as boring as watching bird poop dry.
Francois’ schedule was rigid. He would wake up at dawn and go straight to the mall to scope it out. He was there constantly, researching the area and when the mall was quietest. He was also checking all of the other ways into the building and trying to figure out if there were any reliable patterns of people coming and going through the doors that required a human touch.
We would fly up the side of the mall to the jewellery store and look in through the glass. Francois was trying to work out how he would grab what he was after. It was all locked away in glass cabinets, but the cabinets were opened constantly. He would just need to time it right. Exactly, precisely, perfectly right…
We would be sitting there on a ledge and looking in through the glass for hours. I was bored to tears, but Francois’ focus was relentless.
I would whine, “Why don’t we go get something to eat?”
He wouldn’t even take his eyes off the store as he responded, “Not yet.”
It went on that way for days.
One night I just absolutely couldn’t fall asleep. It had been a long dull day of studying the mall and all we had had to eat was some leftover popcorn from the cinema.
Lying down on the cinema roof and forcing my eyes shut, I was full of unspent energy.
Francois was fast asleep already, probably dreaming of the mall.
Finally, I just went for it. I decided I was going to go to Howell’s club behind the billboard.
I felt a rush as I made my way across town. It was my first time flying alone since I met up with Francois. The city felt a lot less scary now than when I first arrived.
I flew up high above the buildings and then nose-dived through the air and pulled back up. The chilled night air felt incredible as it rushed through my feathers.
I made it to the back of the billboard and went inside. The place was booming. It was jam-packed with all sorts of birds. They were dancing and chatting and flying about. It was a different band — a flock of little ones with an owl providing bass. They were singing a wild fast-chirping song that made you want to tap your foot.
The place still blew my mind. I was still in awe.
I made my way through the party towards the counter, ducking and weaving, trying hard not to get in anyone’s way.
Behind the counter, there was the same red robin from last time.
“Ruby,” I said as I stepped up to the counter.
“Ah, Lew, I remember you,” she said. “Francois’ new right-hand man. Where is he?”
“Resting up,” I said.
“Tell him I wanna talk to him,” she said.
“I’ll do that,” I said.
“Now, how are you feeling, Lew?” she asked. “You hungry?”
“I don’t have anything to trade,” I said. “I just wanted to stop by and see this place again. I was…”
“Restless,” she suggested.
“Yeah,” I said. “Restless.”
She ducked behind the counter and picked up a bottle cap full of seeds.
“You come from somewhere a lot quieter than here, don’t you?” she said.
“I’ve never been anywhere like this city before,” I said. “Where I grew up, everyone was looked after. We had all the food we needed… until it all fell apart.”
“So you left to come here?” she asked.
“Not on purpose,” I said.
I chomped down the seeds.
“Do you like the music here?” asked Ruby.
“I do,” I said. “It’s fantastic.”
“It’s good dancing music,” she said. “It keeps everyone moving and chatty.”
A moment passed as we soaked in the current song.
“Do you want to hear the best music in all of New York City?” asked Ruby.
“I mean, sure,” I said. “I’d love to.”
“It’s not far from here,” she said. “I can take you. Are you ok with a little trip?”
“Absolutely,” I said.
She went over to another bird that was behind the counter.
“Hey, Lil, I’m going to take my break,” said Ruby. “You have everything covered?”
“Yeah,” said Lil. “Go for it.”
Ruby jumped over the counter and then looked back at me. “Come on then,” she said.
I followed Ruby out of the billboard and we took off.
She was rapid through the air.
It was a short journey and then we arrived on the roof of a smallish building. I was still clueless as Ruby led me to a wall with a square piece of metal in it. The square was about the size of a pizza box and had horizontal gaps in it. I had seen squares like it before on rooftops and on the sides of buildings.
Ruby pecked at something at the bottom left corner of the square and began to rotate it a little bit at a time. After a while, she pulled out a little metal thing with her beak and set it on the ground. She did the same for each of the other corners of the square.
“Watch out,” she then said with a smile.
I stepped back and Ruby bit down on one of the horizontal bits of the metal square and gave it a yank. The square tumbled forwards off the wall. Ruby slipped out from underneath it and the metal square twanged against the ground.
“And we’re in,” said Ruby.
Beyond the square was a long dark tunnel.
Ruby hopped inside without hesitation and started walking.
She was chirping a little song to herself as we made our way along the dark tunnel. We took a few turns and then we arrived at another metal square with horizontal gaps, except this one was on the ground of the tunnel.
We stopped at the square and looked down through the gaps. The light was dim and we couldn’t see much.
“Humans bring injured animals to this place,” said Ruby. “This particular room is for injured birds.”
I could just make out the stacked cages against one of the walls in the room below. I had no idea places like that even existed.
Ruby then started singing a very gentle wordless song. It took a moment and then other voices from the room below began to join in. I looked down and the singing birds were walking up to the edge of their cages and sticking their heads out between the bars. It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard.
Ruby turned to me with a soft smile. “Best music in all of New York City.”
Thanks for reading and have a splendid week!