Two pigeons outside Pret

‘Your feathers are ruffled, mate. Look at ya,’ she said before plucking a piece of corn from a discarded plastic bowl.

‘You bloody love that Pret corn, you do,’ he said.

‘It’s better than that rubbish —’

‘Yeah, yeah, that rubbish from Tesco. Sing me a new song Carolina.’ He heard the frustration in his tone, but the ruffled feathers comment had ruffled his feathers. He shook it out and watched her peck her neck. Supple, she is. Been years since I could do that. He swivelled his own, flexing and retracting. He scanned his surrounds. The other pigeons looked rough: pockmarked, balding and, at the very least, covered in grime. He shook his head as he watched a bird try to gobble up a cigarette butt. ‘It’s not right this. It’s not bloody right, I tell ya.’

‘What’s not bloody right?’ she asked.

‘This whole scene, darlin. The whole goddamned mess. You think my feathers are ruffled. That geezer with the fag end in his beak ain’t got any left. He looks like he’s been down the hospital, getting cancer treatment. This ain’t right, this ain’t bloody right. We’re living off scraps darlin. When was the last time you ate a worm? It’s not like it was in my day. Summit’s got to change.’

‘Oh, for cluck sake, ’ere we go. You’ll keep cooing about this until the morning. Why not just fly away if it’s got you so down?’

‘To where? I ain’t got nowhere to go.’

‘How about Leeds? You like it up North.’

‘Too cold. Too cold and boring. There ain’t no buzz up there. Pigeons fly like its Sunday. They don’t know nothing about the peak commute. ’

‘Brighton? You like the ocean don’t ya?’

‘Yeah, I like the sea. Who don’t like the sea? Every pigeon with a hope and a dream loves the sea. Of course I love the sea.’

‘Go to the sea then.’

‘Don’t like the sand, darlin. It’s no good. Gets in my beak. Summit’s gotta change around here.’