Lew is lost in New York City. When he sees a fry on a deli floor, his pigeon greed takes over...
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Today’s story is part of the Lew series about a pigeon named Lew that gets lost in New York City.
There are three previous parts in the series. Here is a link to where it all started:
Thank you and I hope you enjoy today’s story!
There I stood on the edge of a trash can in New York City, staring at a deli window display. The food scraps in the trash can had been fantastic, but a pigeon’s appetite is never satiated — not truly. For better or worse, we are all about our next meal.
There is a dangerous quality that all pigeons have. It’s called pigeon greed. We’re all born with it. And there’s no greed quite like pigeon greed. It’s what leads a pigeon to risk it all for one more crumb, even when they’re already full.
As I looked through that deli shop window at a majestic display of meats and cheeses, I was overcome with that pigeon greed.
There were tables of people eating inside the shop too. They were eating sandwiches from paper wrapping. Then I saw them — fries!
Yummy yellow fried fingers of great greasy, juicy joy. My favourite of all.
When I was stuck on that boat, fries were the food that snuck into my dreams. I remember one dream where a fry grew wings and we danced together among the clouds. I then bit the fry’s head off and for a brief second my hunger disappeared.
From the moment I saw those fries in the deli, I could feel that pigeon greed like a second soul in the pit of my tummy, telling me to get a closer look.
I hopped off the bin, but had to stop on the ground. There was a constant stream of humans walking. I took a deep breath and tried to conjure up the ballerina and ninja within me.
I scuttled across the gauntlet of the footpath, weaving through, and made it to the glass façade of the deli. I took a closer look at the humans eating.
Then I saw it, the last push over the line that would seal my fate — a fry on the ground under some people’s table.
My mouth was watering. I was doomed to pigeon greed.
I waited by the door for a human to open it and then I slipped inside.
I was wonderfully overwhelmed by a gust of magical scents — meats, cheeses, fries, salt, ketchup, grease. It was bliss. But I had to stay focused.
I started to make my way towards the fallen fry I had spotted from the footpath. I walked under the tables, around and between the legs of sitting humans.
Finally, I reached the fry.
Without hesitation, I chomped it down, then savouring the taste of it on my tongue long after the last mouthful. For a moment, I was transported back home. Fries were one of our main food sources when we were scavenging on the beach. That deli fry took me back to the shore, together with my family and friends.
At that moment, a broom swung through and knocked me off my feet, yanking me from my daydreams of home and plopping me back in NYC.
The human swung the broom at me again and this time I was only just able to dive out of the way.
As well as pigeon greed, there is another ancient pigeon quality called pigeon panic. The recipe for pigeon panic is being indoors and being chased. Safe to say, I was ripe to be overcome with it.
I felt my pigeon panic starting up. My heartrate was rising. My sense of direction was quickly becoming scrambled.
Trying to get to the exit, I ducked and dodged in between the windy forest of swinging legs and stomping feet. My vision was a haze. All I could see was blurs of movement; all I could hear was the floor vibrating in my ears.
The human with the broom was chasing me, shouting at me, trying to sweep me up.
Amid the shaking chaos, I felt someone suddenly grab me. It wasn’t a person though. It was a bird.
The bird wrapped their white wing around me and pushed me along through the storm of shifting legs. Struggling to keep up, I stumbled and fell, but the white bird picked me straight back up and continued moving me along.
Then we made it! But the human with the broom was still after us, following us out onto the street. The white pigeon took off. I tried to fly but I couldn’t move my injured wing.
The white pigeon was hovering nearby in the air and shouting at me with a very deep voice, “Go on, fly!”
I felt the wind of the broom as the human swung it down through the air and only just missed me.
I tried again and jumped into the air. I pushed through the pain and forced my wings to flap.
Up I went, staggering, stuttering, swerving. The white pigeon was flying alongside me.
“Get to that roof,” they said.
I saw the roof they were talking about and I went for it, flying my heart out. It was a low roof compared to the skyscrapers that surrounded us, but my wing felt as weak and brittle as a twig.
I just made it above the lip of the roof where I then landed head-first into a brick wall…
Who knows how long I was out cold for. When I came to, my brain was aching.
I looked around and saw the white bird sitting on the lip of the building, looking out over the city. I could see now that they were actually a pigeon, although I had never seen a pigeon with all white feathers before.
Suddenly, as if sensing I was looking at them, they looked back at me.
“How are you feeling?” they asked.
“In a word: bad,” I answered.
They walked towards me.
“In all honesty,” I said. “I haven’t had a great couple of weeks.”
“I can tell,” said the white pigeon. “You’re not from here, are you?”
“No,” I said. “I got here on a boat barely an hour ago. My real home is somewhere very far away.”
“Same,” said the white pigeon.
They then turned away and started walking.
“Come along,” they said. “Let’s get you some food and rest.”
Here is a link to the next part in Lew’s story:
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A reader also very kindly used AI to create some images for the Lew series! I have posted the images to Story Whale’s social media. I’m going to try to post more bonus content on the Story Whale socials in future!