Harold rested in his recliner, shifting uneasily. The pigeons were back. He watched them through half-open curtains. The pigeons roosted underneath his overhang and tarps on his vine garden, probably drawn by crumbs from all those kids playing across the street at the playground.
He turned up the TV louder, hoping to scare them away with the old western gunshots. The birds shuffled but did not fly away.
He loathed the bird droppings all over his patio and walkway. He detested their ruffling of feathers at night. He despised their cooing in the morning. He hated everything about those flea-ridden rat birds.
“You’re a poor excuse for a man,” a muffled voice said from his window.
“Who is that? Who’s there?” he shouted, muting his TV. Only a rustling of feathers responded. He pushed the curtain of the front living room back further and saw a pigeon resting on his windowsill.
“Coo?” the bird said.
“How dare you!” Harold exclaimed. The pigeons usually dirtied up his windowsill, but they knew better than to get on it while he was prowling at home. He rapped on the window to shoo it away, but it stood, stoic.
He pulled his curtains closed, grumbling to himself. If they weren’t going to go away while he was here, then he’d pretend not to be here. Harold hunkered in his chair and covered himself with a blanket. It wasn’t long before he drifted off to sleep.
Harold awoke with a start to the sound of clattering in his kitchen. Creeping toward it, he saw the light was on, and a man around 20 years old was going through the cookie jar he kept near the fridge.
“Hey dad, I’m just stopping through. Thought I would pick up some food before I went down to the club tonight,” the man smiled. Harold sighed with relief, it must be his son.
“You don’t want anything in there , Daniel, let me fix you up something,” Harold replied, opening the fridge and pulling out some sliced ham.
A loud rap at the window got his attention. They wouldn’t dare. He scurried over to the living room window, ham in hand, to find hundreds of pigeons sitting in his yard. Dozens sat on his once pristine windowsill.
“Hey, dad, where do you keep the dough?” Daniel said from the kitchen. “This tin is full of old receipts.”
The pigeons’ fluttering roared through his head as they all took flight, shaking the window. Harold backed against his chair and ran to the kitchen.
“Daniel, they’re here!” Harold said gripping Danie’s shirt collar. “They’ve finally come for me!”
“Who’s here?” Daniel asked as he crept to the living room.
The sound of pigeon wings grew louder. Harold heard them throwing their bodies against the window. It wouldn’t be long before they broke through, not with that many birds flinging themselves at his old glass panes.
“What the fuck are all these pigeons doing, old man?” Daniel nearly shouted. Harold wasted no time in explaining and grabbed a knife from the counter.
Harold heard the glass shatter and rushed to the living room. His curtains flailed, and feathers flew everywhere. Daniel screamed and wildly slapped his arms about, trying to dislodge pigeons tearing at his clothes with tiny beaks.
“Daniel, no!” Harold screamed and charged into the flurry of feathers himself. “Die you fucking rat birds! Die! Die! Die!”
Four hours later , two police officers stood outside Harold’s house. “Do not enter” tape was plastered all over his yard.
“I heard he tore the guy up after he broke in. Chopped him into bits,” one officer said. “They couldn’t even find half of him.”
The other officer whistled.
“The strange thing,” the first officer continued, “this guy Harold was raving about rat birds and pigeons or some shit. Blood was running down his shirt, knife still in hand, stabbing the dead guy screaming ‘Pigeons! Pigeons!’ Not a feather in sight. Poor burglary choice.”
The other officer nodded, and they roped the area off as Harold was carted out, still screaming.
A tuft of feathers floated unseen to the ground from his clutched hands.