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Pigeons in the Park: Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
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Death House: Poem by Richelle Slota
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Moments Before Awakening: Poem by Michael Keshigian
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Roy Dorman: Pigeons in the Park

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Art by Joseph Richkus 2024

PIGEONS IN THE PARK

 

by Roy Dorman

 

“I knew your parents, grandparents, and probably some of your great-grandparents,” said the old man as he threw popcorn to the dozen or more pigeons that had gathered around him by the park bench.

A few of the birds stopped eating popcorn and turned their heads questioningly at him in that way birds will do.

Oscar Brinkman had been feeding pigeons in this park for many years. While he was employed as a bank teller, he’d done it during his lunch break. Now that he was retired, he gave out popcorn any time he chose to.

“I wanted to let you know that there may be a time soon when I won’t be giving out popcorn,” he said.

This time, more of the birds stopped eating to look up at him.

“My son and his wife moved in with me recently. My house had just gotten too much for me to maintain by myself. My son is a great kid, but his wife is not a nice person. She’s nasty to me and I know he feels badly about it.”

Almost all of the birds were now listening.

“I think he’s afraid of her, but I’m not,” Oscar continued. “But that’s probably gonna cause me to have an ‘accident’ one of these days. One of those fatal accidents. I can tell by the way she looks at me sometimes. Like she’s sizing me up.”

All of the pigeons were now facing Oscar. He’d stopped throwing popcorn. People passing by gave the group a wide berth as if they could sense something not quite right was going on here.

“We live at 304 South Street. She’s usually laying on a blanket in the backyard sunning herself about this time of day. If ya wanted to, ya know, go and meet her.”

Heads were now cocked to the side as though the pigeons were listening to something only they could hear.

Then, as one, the flock rose and flew away from the park.

***

Oscar was still on the bench when the pigeons returned. He’d been throwing popcorn to a couple of squirrels, but they skedaddled when the flock landed.

The birds were damp from getting cleaned up in the park’s fountain. Some of them still had traces of blood on their beaks and breasts.

Oscar started throwing popcorn to them again, and the pigeons pecked away, strutting and cooing.

“I’m going to be meeting with my financial planner here tomorrow at noon,” Oscar told them. “I think he’s been stealing from my retirement account. He says I’m making money, that there are always ups and downs in the market, but I don’t know. Maybe since you’ve got a vested interest in my popcorn money you could be here. Ya know, listen in to what he has to say.”

Now the late afternoon sun was warming Oscar’s face, and he closed his eyes.  He dozed.

The pigeons continued pecking at the crumbs. When no new popcorn had been thrown, a large male looked up at Oscar with a questioning look. Ascertaining that Oscar was asleep, it hopped up onto his lap and snatched the almost empty brown paper bag from his hand.

It threw it to the pavement and there was a raucous free-for-all for a few minutes until the bag was finally empty.

The birds took a few seconds to look up at the sleeping Oscar and then took off for who knows where.

But they’d be back tomorrow at noon. They fully intended to check out that financial planner fellow.

There were future generations to consider. Children, grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren.

  

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Art by Joseph Richkus 2024

Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 65 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction and poetry published in Black Petals, Bewildering Stories, One Sentence Poems, Yellow Mama, Drunk Monkeys, Literally Stories, Dark Dossier, The Rye Whiskey Review, Near to the Knuckle, Theme of Absence, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Unweaving a Tangled Web, published by Hekate Publishing, is his first novel. 

Joseph Richkus is an enthusiastic illustrator, photographer, writer, and reader. He has been an essential oil perfumer for more than 20 years, and has worked as a history teacher, chemist, security guard, and circus canvasman. He bemoans the limits of time and regrets that he is not 10 people, one of whom would happily devote every waking hour to reading the Sunday New York Times. 

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2024