The pigeon strolled up to his feet as pigeons so often do, in that head-bobbing stumble that looks as if the pigeon only vaguely understands how to use its feet. The pigeon promptly began to peck at Allister's boots with persistence. And perhaps it could be chalked up to being a simple error, that the boot was perhaps mistaken for bread-they were after all brown. And it was only that the stubbornness stretched and the pecking fervor increased, as if the pigeon believed that the harder it pecked the more likely the boot would turn to bread, that Allister finally felt compelled to give the pigeon a polite shove with his foot.
The bird's body felt like a sack, a tiny sack of tiny bird bones-if one were to attempt a description of both figurative and realistic nature. The bird hobbled back a few steps seemingly unaware of the reason for this hobbling. But, whence the idea that the bread had pushed sunk into the bird's brain, it raised its head and a pigeon eye met Allister's human eye. And there they stood, locked together.
Allister felt the pigeon's grey pear body heave and contract as if it breathed from its eye. And Allister felt the surprise of the pigeon, understood the loss of innocence that came from the discovery of a world where bread becomes boot. The pigeon suddenly was helpless and Allister tried to send the connection through his eye, tried to heave and contract his own body, so that the pigeon understood that the world was not the way he thought it would be either. That surprises of the frightening variety were not exclusive to pigeons.
And the pigeon just stood there without even a single twitch, a single urge to head bob. Allister wondered if the pigeon would simply die right then. Had its world disappeared? Where do you go and what do you eat when bread fights back? Allister thought that, if he were the reason for this pigeon's most depressing end, he would most certainly have to take his own life. The mourning was palpable. Anguish became audible. The air smelled of despair. Sadness could be tasted in all things sour and sweet.
And at the brink of this uncompromising pain-when the pigeon's head should have simply bent forward and fallen to the ground, its grey pear body following soon after-something most surprising happened. The pigeon's head did not fall. Instead, it bobbed. And kept bobbing. Its feet kicked in that vague malaise of a walk and when its head did finally bend, it seemed to be done in answer to Allister's concern over what the pigeon would now eat. And Allister watched, for the remaining moments of the day, as the pigeon stumbled clumsily down the path and pecked with satisfaction at a wide selection of stones and gravel.