Process writing 2- Draft 1
September 29, 2014
Death by Pigeon
“Can we have some breadsticks?” My little sister asks a man standing outside a restaurant. He chuckles and nods. Without hesitation, Anna bolts into the restaurant and then runs back out, her hand full of packaged breadsticks. She runs toward the square like it’s Christmas.
“We have to go! Hurry!” she yells back at us. My brother takes off after her. My dad rolls his eyes. My mom suppresses a laugh. I just look up. The buildings that line the narrow streets are brilliant, the bright colors practically shimmering in the July heat. The black box windows contrasting every building make me wonder what may lie on the other side. As we cross a small stone bridge, a long, black gondola passes beneath us, complete with a tall man in a red beret. He sings a beautiful song in Italian and rows lazily down the canal. Small artisan shops selling colorful glass pieces are stacked like blocks along the cobblestone street, their creations catching and scattering the light. Ah, Venice.
We had been waiting all day to get to the square. After touring a million museums and churches (which I enjoyed, while my siblings loudly complained) and stopping for gelato three times (which we all enjoyed), we could not hold in our excitement any longer. We spilled onto the square and each took in a sharp breath of anticipation. St. Mark’s Square, or Piazza San Marco, is the buzzing center of Venice, Italy. Artisan shops, fancy restaurants, gelaterias, and a huge church surround the square. Vendors set up shop anywhere they please, and yell out to tourists, boasting the best prices. That is all well and good, but my siblings and I have our eye on one attraction in particular: pigeons.
Hundreds of these flying fiends flock the center of the square. These pigeons are unlike the ordinary birds you might find in New York City. Around us, other tourists have the right idea. They hold breadcrumbs in their palms, arms out, and if luck is with them, a few pigeons may land on their arms and feast on the bread. It is an honor to have a St. Mark’s pigeon land on your arms, or at least it makes for a good story. Anyway, my siblings and I get right to it, crushing the breadsticks in our hands and holding them out for the pigeons to snack on. Much to our delight, several birds land on our arms, their small talons digging into the sleeves of our shirts. They peck away at our palms, snatching up breadcrumbs as fast as lightning.
At first, there were two pigeons on either of my arms, then came another, and another, and another, until birds were stacked up to my shoulders. I laughed nervously, but hey, they were just pigeons, right? Suddenly, I feel something land on my back, something sharp scratching my skin. Something else lands squarely on my head, tangling itself in the only nest-like thing in all of Venice: my hair. I am overcome with them. I cannot see, and I am convinced they will lift me off the ground and fly away. These somethings, of course, are pigeons, but that does not stop me. They have crossed the line from adorable pigeons to evil, I am sure of it.
“AAAAAAAAAGH!” I let out a shriek and whip my arms around violently. All I can see are gray and white wings, in the air, in my eyes and mouth. In a flurry of feathers and obnoxious squawking, every vicious pigeon takes off, hovering in the air for only a moment, before swooping down onto some other innocent victim. I take a deep breath, they are all gone, I think. I am so wrong, so hopelessly and foolishly wrong.
I feel an aggressive tug on my scalp. I yell some profanity and make another helicopter motion with my arms. The bird will not let go. It whips around, its left leg wrapped up in a sun-stained mane of brown hair that belongs to me. Some part of me knows it is stuck, but I am in panic mode, seeing red, and hitting at the poor thing with everything I’ve got. By now, people are staring, laughing, and taking pictures with their phones. My life flashes before my eyes. This is how it ends, I think to myself, death by pigeon.
Fortunately for me, that is not how it ends. My mother contains her laughter long enough to step in and attempt to extricate this stupid pigeon from my hair. When she is successful, the deadly winged creature flies away, all too eager to find a nice rooftop to sit on for a while.
Anna laughs and laughs, her rambunctious shrieking echoing through the square. “Maybe,” she spits out between breaths, “you’ll learn to brush your hair someday.” I inhale deeply, trying to recover from the aerial attack. I slowly open my eyes, and catch the glint of something white and glistening on top of her head. Immediately, an evil grin spreads across my face like a disease. I point to her hair, smooth, shiny and super straight.
“Better a nest than a landing strip for poop,” I smirk.