Lew Visits Central Park
With the mall being closed because of a public holiday, Lew and Francois decide to put their heist on hold and give Central Park a visit...
When Lew and Francois find out that the mall is closed for the day, they opt to stop by Central Park instead to scavenge for some picnic goodies…
Here’s a link to the first part in Lew’s story:
And here’s a link to the previous part:
The sun was just coming up as I got back to the cinema roof. I was still giddy with excitement.
When I got there, it seemed like Francois hadn't moved an inch. As I lied down, this time I didn't have any trouble getting to sleep at all.
Even though I didn't sleep for long, it was a good sleep.
The day soon warmed up and I opened my eyes to the sight of Francois chomping down popcorn.
"Fun night?" he asked.
I was totally caught off guard by the question. I guess I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought.
It took me a moment to string some words together. “Yeah, I just stopped by that club behind the billboard.”
Francois smiled. “Good,” he said. “Now, are you ready to get going?”
I ate some popcorn and then we set off across town for another day of planning for the heist.
Once there, we landed at our usual ledge across from the front entrance of the mall. Something was strange though. There weren't any people coming in and out of the mall. The usually perpetually rotating door was completely still.
I turned to Francois and he looked annoyed.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"The mall is closed today," he said.
"Why?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said. "Every now and then a bunch of different buildings are closed across the city."
"What are we going to do today then?" I asked.
"We'll do the same thing that humans do on days when stuff is closed," he said. "We'll go to the park."
And so we headed across town to the big park in the middle of the city. We found a tree branch there that overlooked an open grassy area in the park.
Francois hadn't been kidding. The place was absolutely packed. There were people everywhere, and almost all of them were eating.
One glance at the trees and lamp posts made it apparent that we weren't the only birds that had thought it was a good day to join the humans in the park.
"Now, remember, Lew, Central Park can be dangerous," said Francois. "I only come here on days like this because there should be enough food to go around for everyone. You still have to be careful though. You and I both know how greedy birds can be. Never get into a fight over food. It's never worth it. Understand?"
"Sure, no fighting over food," I said.
"I'm being serious," said Francois.
"Ok," I said. "I hear you."
Francois moved on and turned his attention to the park in front of us.
"Look at them over there," said Francois, nodding towards a small family having a picnic. "They're leaving."
It took a moment for me to piece it all together, but he was right. They were wiping their hands and putting lids on their food.
"Now," said Francois, "it's all about timing, ok? The second they stand up and start to walk away, you go in. Before the next bunch of humans come in to take their place. Other birds will go in too, but you just have to keep your head down."
The family of people stood up and started to fold up the blanket that they had been sitting on.
"Stay here," said Francois. "I'll show you."
Francois stood poised at the edge of the branch, muscles tensed, ready to shoot through the air.
The humans finished packing and the instant they took their first step, Francois flew off. He sliced through the air and landed in the now vacant plot of grass where the humans had been sitting. In the same moment two other birds appeared out of thin air and landed there too.
I watched Francois urgently and meticulously scavenge the area, constantly stabbing his beak at targets on the ground that I could not see.
Barely thirty seconds passed and then a new group of people arrived to take over the spot. Just like that, the three birds got their final bits of scraps and took off.
Francois returned with a little chunk of cheese which he dropped at my feet for me to eat.
I graciously gobbled it down. "Thanks.”
"Do you get the gist of it?" Francois asked.
"I think so," I said.
"Are you ready to give it a go?" he said.
"Yeah, I'm ready," I said.
"Ok, keep your eyes peeled then," said Francois.
And so I scanned the park for signs of people leaving.
I then spotted a family rolling up their picnic blanket. I felt a rush of excitement.
"Over there!" I told Francois.
“Perfect,” he said. “Good job.”
We waited until the humans left and then we took off.
We landed in the freshly vacated grassy opening at the same time as two other pigeons. I kept my eyes planted on the ground as I scampered and scurried across the grass and snatched up any and every little morsel I could find. From the look and taste of it, the humans had been having burgers and fries, which suited me just fine.
"Time's up, Lew," said Francois suddenly.
I looked up and a new group of people were on their way over to sit down where we were.
I was about to take off when I saw it... one last French fry.
There was one last big French fry sticking up out of the grass that we had all somehow missed. Suddenly, the whole world disappeared. It was just me and the French fry. For one brief moment, I forgot everything I had ever known. Nothing in the universe existed except for that beautiful little stick of fried potato in front of me.
I opened up wide and bit down on the fry, but then I felt a tug of resistance. With my end of the French fry still in my mouth, I looked up to see a pigeon stranger biting down on the other end of it. It was one of the other two pigeons that had landed there with us.
"Let it go, Lew!" said Francois. "Let the French fry go!"
To be continued...
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