Pigeon English was originally published in A Box of Stars Beneath The Bed: The 2016 National Flash Fiction Anthology
Dom entered the shabby bus station and walked past a shabby pigeon, which said ‘Alright, mate?’
He stopped dead, looked at the bird, then away, then back again. ‘Did you just say something?’ he asked.
‘Course not mate, I’m a bloody pigeon,’ said the pigeon.
‘Bugger me, a talking pigeon,’ exclaimed Dom.
‘Read my beak,’ said the pigeon. ‘I am not a talking pigeon. Coo, bloody coo, OK?’
‘No, no, you’re speaking now,’ said Dom. ‘I heard it.’
‘Nah, mate. You’re cracking up, that’s what it is. Voices in the head and that, innit. I’d see a doctor, if I were you.’
‘What? No, you’re bloody well talking!’
‘Am not! You ask that lot.’
Dom turned to the small crowd at the bus station, who looked away simultaneously while being absolutely sure to keep staring, which is quite a skill when you think about it.
‘You heard it, right?’ he demanded. ‘That pigeon spoke!’
The crowd avoided eye contact. A few people shook their heads and mumbled.
‘See mate,’ said the pigeon. ‘You’ve gone round the twist. Loco in the coconut. Nuts in the nut. Check yerself into a clinic, that’s my advice.’
Dom looked around desperately. The crowd were all taking a tremendous interest in the timetable for the number 42.
Then a small voice piped up nearby. ‘I heard him talking, mister!’ it said.
Dom wheeled round in joy. He wasn’t going mad after all.
‘A talking pigeon, who’d ever of thought it?’ said the rat by his foot.
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About The Author
David Cook’s stories have been published in the National Flash Fiction Anthology, Spelk, Ellipsis Zine, the Sunlight Press and many more. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee and was shortlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 Flash Fictions 2020. He lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife and daughter.
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