They are looking in the window at me. They stand on the roof opposite, and flutter around, try to look nonchalant when I spy them out of the corner of my eye.
It started two weeks ago, when I decided to poison a tree that was blocking my light. I injected it full of dihexygluconate, and after a few days its leaves shriveled into papery yellow curls and fell like confetti.
The pigeons didn’t like this. It was their home, their private place. They liked to shit on my shed from there. Later, when I looked out of the little window in my back door, the big fat one was sitting on my lawn, looking directly at me. I quickly ducked from view.
My car wouldn’t start the next morning, and I missed the bus to work. Whilst I waited alone at the stop, they circled in the dirty steel-grey sky.
I got in late, and my excuses were dismissed curtly. At my review later, it was explained to me that I would not get a pay increase this year. After an eternity of boredom in the office, where I had to rewrite a huge database that I was sure I had saved the previous week, I headed down to the bus station.
Here, was their domain. They huddled in every available gap above the girders, under the eaves, on top of the signs. The council had put thin plastic spikes up, they’d tried to fill gaps with expanding foam, they’d curled wire mesh across the vacant spaces. But the pigeons didn’t care. Your pathetic efforts will not stop us.
Whilst I was looking up at these creatures, ensconced deeply within the local authority architecture, I was distracted and missed my bus. I was alone in this concrete wind tunnel, the timetables flapped against the walls, a can clattered by, and the cooing increased.
A group of them landed by my feet, pretended to fight over an old chicken bone, whilst another grabbed a fag end and put it in its mouth and strutted about, looking cool. But they kept a beady eye on me. I fled, and ran home.
Now I know what has to be done. I take a sleeping bag from the loft. I open my back door for the last time, walk across the grass, and after a few scrabbling attempts I manage to haul myself up the dead tree, branches falling away in my hands. I find a stable point and perch wrapped in my sleeping bag, and watch as the failing light becomes obscured by the frantic fluttering of grey wings, some birds swooping straight in through my door; a few hopping up the steps, taking one look back up at me, then moving in.