by RAIMUND WONG

Crumbs

Two pigeons. The dying one, sliding its hard-swollen leg over the plate, made a tapping sound as it recovered, from mortal battle over crumbs with its healthier, if one-legged, companion.

Between them they actually challenged me, and won the right to another passenger’s left-over chocolate cake, two seats down.

The oily, rat-looking, days-numbered one, just saving its eyes from its stockier counterpart, was the bolder of the two, presumably through desperation, and approached me, zombie-like, and genuinely threatening – tap, tap, tap on the dinner table. At this point I wondered, is this the moment where I must act, shoo them off, clear the space, banish the blight, finally stand against the pestilence, the putrefaction, the death that would embrace me, should I remain impartial enough, reticent enough – moved for long enough, by the vanity of a liberal, innocent, goodly ideal of myself.

I’ve been wondering about that more and more lately, I noted, as the staff finally arrived to clear away the mess for me. Things are being done, in earshot, or before my eyes, that make me less and less comfortable, less and less quietly pleased with myself, less and less able to sit still.