Six by three

July 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s a fair drive out, no doubt about that – a good twenty miles from the house. You need to give them a decent run at it though, a chance to spread their wings. Can’t be making it too easy.

He’s not been into the pigeons long, perhaps two or three years now. The wife says he’s addicted, that all he ever thinks about are those bloody birds. He’d not like to admit it but she’s a point. They’re his thing now, he supposes; they’re how he helps the time to pass when he’s driving around in the van, thinking about his girls all cooped up in the shed and wondering where he might set them off next. Always looking for a good spot and the right weather.

Started with a couple, bought them off a bloke in the pub who said he’d too many and would our lad take ’em? Really, they’re very easy, no bother, he’d said. Well, you should have seen the fuss the wife kicked up. You’d have thought he was taking up battery farming, the way she carried on about shit and feathers everywhere and who was going to be cleaning them out, muggins, that’s who – but you know what, she never has. Pretends they don’t exist. Buries her head in her magazines and what’s on telly. She’s not interested. She’s no passion.

There’s eighteen of them in total, all tucked away and cooing at one another. Three wicker baskets each with six birds, slotted neatly into the back of the car.

So here he is, up on this lonely stretch of road, and he’s letting his girls out to race him home. Knowing that when he gets back she’ll be mithering about dinner and repairing the guttering, but he’s pushing that out of his mind, unbuckling the leather straps, lifting his birds out one by one and letting them out into the empty blue sky.

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