On wet mornings when people are still sleeping in their beds in their bedrooms breathing rhythmically slowly approaching the end of their nightmares, only birds scavenge the city. Birds don’t waste their lives lost in dreams as much as humans do. They even sleep with only one eye open.
An absent-minded bird is standing at the edge of an empty street looking undecided, his three pink fingers clutching the cold concrete.
And then more birds start to arrive marching in military formation to inaudible commands: Left, Left, Left Right Left!, carrying the blades of their beaks like pink bayonets, oblivious to the vacuum of the empty city.
They take their post up on a strategic wall, their silk uniforms emanating nuclear white light. Balancing on one leg, one eye locked towards the imaginary slaughterfield, they wait.
As more birds join the ranks of the bird army each minute appearing out of nowhere like puffs of breath on a cold mirror, the anxiety swells.
One Hundred and Nine.
Suddenly, an old man on a bicycle gracefully skimming between the impenetrable green and the wide-open unprotected grey glides in like a ghost. From all directions, alarmed, the birds lift their weightless bloodless bodies pirouetting through the air like puffy clouds chased by winds and gather around the man on the bicycle.
Oh my God!, they have been expecting him, I just realised! They knew where and when, and they knew why (or so they thought) the man was arriving. All this marching and waiting and gathering has been meticulously planned many days in advance. The arrival has been inevitable.
Again suddenly, the man stops in the midst of white feathers and pink beaks. His name is Johnny, but the birds don’t know that. All they know is that Johnny has been arriving on his bicycle every early morning for the past four years gently throwing dog food in the air.
When Johnny goes away the birds become disoriented. The air is void again. The city awakens, the birds disappear. Only scattered droppings remain.
Are you a good guy, Johnny? White feathery hair.
One soldier is going to be missing tomorrow, only his feet to be found.
He has been the bravest but also a bit foolish.
His flesh tastes just like chicken, so he won’t be remembered.
One Hundred and Eight.