Left Behind

A Flash Fiction Story as told by Pauly Pigeon to Pamela Eason
Information about the modified image can be found below the story.

Because of the spreading infection (Just yesterday, I saw signs of it only three blocks down!), most of the flock flew to N.O.A.H. to try out for a spot on A.R.K. It’s the largest spacecraft in the fleet. N.O.A.H. built it to take the youngest and healthiest of all the species to ACTS29, the newest man-made planet. I heard a lot of jokes about A.R.K. for years, but now nobody’s laughing. So, anyways, now it’s just me, and a few other old birds who still show up at this bench.

I’m not worried. Over the years, I’ve learned to trust the Heavenly Father. He hasn’t let me down yet. I’ve never seen a day pass without a few breadcrumbs.

This particular bench has been in my flock since the time when benches were first set in cities. My grandfather’s great-great-grandfather won control of it during the year of The Great Pigeon Wars. It was a great victory at the time for it had been set between Burdine’s Bakery and Sam’s Sandwich Shop.

In the early years, when downtown was hopping and humans were more generous, the entire flock would gather ’round this bench. Grandma told stories about whole Bavarian Cream donuts being offered while they were still warm and sticky. Grandma was a German Modena immigrant and loved her pastries.

Years past, all kinds of humans have sat on this bench. When Frilly’s Dress Shop replaced the bakery a few years back, I saw mostly males though. In general, males are less generous with their food than females. Now, that the shop is deserted, nobody much sits there, so you can imagine my surprise to see a N.O.A.H. astronaut when I flew down from my loft this morning. I knew that’s what he?, or she?, was because of the white suit, the reflective helmet, and the boots and gloves. They were the same as the astronaut’s on the posters around town. 

Of course I was curious about why the astronaut (I’ll just say, he.) was there, but, even though I can understand humans, they can’t understand me. Glory be to the Heavenly Father’s wisdom, but humans are a dull-witted sort in that way. Sometimes though, when I start cooing, it gets them talking. So, I paced back and forth in front of him, and I cooed and cooed.

Eventually, he started mumbling something about the final journey, waking up late, and getting left behind. He was hard to understand because there were lots of sniffles and moans between his words and because of the visor. I couldn’t see anything of his face. It helps to see the face. I wanted to comfort the astronaut. I wanted to say, if the Heavenly Father cares for an old bird like me, surely he will take care of you too. I knew he wouldn’t understand me though, so I just hopped up on the bench beside him and rested my head on my chest ’till he calmed down.

The image of the astronauts has been modified from its original state and put into poster form. The starry background and the words, “Try Out for a Sport on A.R.K.” along with, “Are you young an healthy? N.O.A.H. Wants You!” has been added to the the original image that can be found at https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/artist-concept-of-an-astronaut-in-the-xemu-space-suit/

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