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The Perfect Pigeon Heist
Francois is crafting the greatest heist in pigeon history...
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Today’s story follow the series about a pigeon named Lew that is lost in New York City.
Here’s a link to the previous part in the story:
And here’s a link to where it all started:
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So Francois wanted to steal from a human luxury mall…
Do you want to know one of the most dangerous things a pigeon can do? Go inside a human building. There is just something that happens to humans once they see a pigeon inside their buildings. They hate it. Outside, no worries — just don’t snatch anything straight from their plate. But inside, it’s a different story. They freak out. And so do we.
There is something that happens to us pigeons once we’re inside human buildings too. We get panicky. We get nervous, jittery. The slightest fright can send us flying into a glass window. We can’t help it. Or, at least, I’ve never met a pigeon that’s been able to help it.
“How are you going to do it?” I asked Francois.
“That’s what I’m trying to work out,” he said. “Look at the main entrance.”
The main entrance was one of those weird glass human doors that is always rotating in a circle as people come and go. Glass doors are already a nightmare for us pigeons. Those rotating glass doors are like a nightmare inside of a nightmare.
“The spinning doors are tricky,” said Francois, “but not impossible. I did a practice run at another quieter shop nearby.”
He then raised his right wing, revealing a big red spot where he was missing his feathers.
“I made it through,” he said. “Although it did sting…”
A wince slipped out of my beak before I could stop it.
“Ouch,” I said. “Surely, there is another way to get in there.”
“There are back ways in,” he said, “but they have too many doors. Go through that main door and you are right in the thick of it. You can go straight to the jewellery from there…”
There was a moment of quiet as we both watched the constant tumble of humans in and out of the rotating doors. It was the crunch point of all crunch points. I could just imagine the humans inside those rotating doors going absolutely berserk when they have an equally panicked bird flapping its wings in their face. And yet if you wanted to keep quiet on the ground you would have to dodge around and manoeuvre past a downpour of giant stomping feet.
The true weight and risk of the operation was beginning to dawn on me. I’ve seen humans throw punches and kick at birds just for taking a chip that had fallen off their plate; who knows what they would do if you took a gold necklace or a diamond ring…
“I need to go and train,” said Francois. “I just like to come here to check the place out and prepare myself.”
“What training?” I asked.
“Indoor training,” he said. “I need to get comfortable with being inside human buildings.”
He was about to take off.
“Can I come?” I asked.
He gave me a grumpy look. “Fine.”
I followed Francois for a few quick blocks across town. Eventually, we arrived at an extremely high building window that was slightly ajar.
Francois landed on the edge of the window and slipped inside without a moment’s thought.
I couldn’t help hesitating. I could already feel myself getting more tense. My bird instincts were telling me to turn around, to fly away from that window right that second.
“What are you doing?” my pigeon self was telling me, outraged. “Why on earth do you want to go in there?”
Standing on the edge of that window, the wind was cold and gusty. It whipped by and fluttered my feathers.
Finally, I took a deep breath and went for it. I tucked in my wings and took the plunge.
Immediately, the howl of the wind disappeared and my ears suddenly buzzed with a loud silence. The brightness of the day outside disappeared and it took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the heavy darkness of the inside of building.
I looked around. There weren’t any lights on and Francois was nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, at least, there were no humans around either.
It was a giant, mostly empty room that seemingly went on forever. It looked and smelt like a human construction site back home where we would sometimes sleep.
Although I had made it inside, I then couldn’t take a single step. I just stood there completely still, scared and alone, terrified of the walls and ceiling around me.
“Francois?” I called out. “Francois?”
My belly was full of nerves. I felt ill.
“I’m here,” Francois then said casually.
I whipped around and there he was, freshly landed by my side.
“Do you trust me?” he asked.
“I have no idea,” I said honestly.
“Just follow me,” he said. “We’ll start slow.”
Francois took off into the air and started flying. He soon stopped, though, once he realised I hadn’t left the ground.
“Come on,” he said. “We’ll start easy. I promise. Stop whenever you want.”
I felt a sudden powerful urge to be brave.
For some reason, I believed him. I guess I did trust him.
I took off from the ground and flew up to where Francois was hovering.
“Go on then,” I said.
He started at a casual slow pace across the room, just cruising.
He looked back. “How are you feeling?”
I just nodded, fighting the tension in my body.
“Stay close,” he said.
He began to accelerate.
I flew faster, keeping up.
I felt my fears slightly easing. The walls and the ceiling began to not feel so close. I was feeling more free. It felt more and more like I was just flying, like I would anywhere else.
“It’s going to get a little tricky up ahead,” Francois called back.
We passed through an open door and we were then going down a much narrower hallway. The blur of white feathers that was Francois just ahead of me swung to the side and ducked into a new room. I pulled a tight turn and followed him through, just missing the edge of the doorway.
This new room was way more cluttered than where we had started – still no humans or lights, though. It was jam-packed with stuff all over the place. Desks, chairs, ladders. I could see exactly why Francois went there to practise his indoor flying. The room was one big gauntlet.
Francois flew straight towards the mess of stuff and began to duck and weave between it all.
My wings were moving on their own as I swerved in and between the obstacles ahead of me, keeping close to Francois. I was surprising myself by my own ability. My instincts guided me and I felt like I was untouchable, like I could make it through anything that room threw at me.
It was at that moment of highest confidence that my brief experience of grace was humblingly cut short due to a collision with a water cooler. The next thing I knew I was on the ground on my back with my wings laid out by my side.
Francois appeared above me.
“You ok?” he asked.
“Never better,” I said with a wheeze.
Here is a link to the next part in Lew’s story:
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