And not a nice dry, party balloon type pop either.
But a horrible, muffled, wet kind of pop.
I know this for a fact because last Thursday I saw it happen up close and personal right in front of me.
I was on my way home after a shitstorm of a day at work and, quite frankly, the last thing I wanted to see was a pigeon playing chicken on the main road that runs through the south part of town. But there he was (I'm assuming he was male, as females tend to have more sense). Strutting his stuff in the middle of the road. Damned stupid when nature had provided him with the means to make an instant airborne means of escape.
But no. He seemed determined to walk his way out of trouble.
I put it to you, my learned friends, that it is nigh on impossible to walk your way out of trouble when a double decker bus is turning 45 degrees and heading right on top of you at 25mph. The first wheel missed and the turn of the bus took the pigeon well underneath the undercarriage. When he emerged again into the light it was plain that the back wheel of the bus had crushed the pigeon's left wing.
The pathetic crawl-flap-crawl-flap commenced.
I felt decidedly green at this point and wanted to rush out and pick the pigeon up. Unfortunately the lights had changed and the through traffic was now starting to come the other way. Not one of them seemed intent on stopping or slowing down. And I confess a little voice in the back of my head was asking what difference any intervention I could possible make would ultimately have. Even if I got him to the vet did I really think they'd waste good money saving one pigeon out of the millions that were already lined up to take his place? The chances are they'd nod sadly and administer a lethal injection as soon as I was out of the door (electric chairs being so costly to run these days) and Mr Pigeon would be off to the incinerator. And all that would cost money too.
As it was there was no time to act anyway. The fourth car along completed the job the bus had started. I had to turn away before impact but could hear the moment of death plainly enough. When I turned back around there was a mass of mangled feathers and raw spaghetti spread all over the road. I felt sick. And I felt sad. And cross with myself for not leaping into the path of the oncoming traffic to save this poor suicidal pigeon. Ridiculous, I know.
Next day only a few feathers and a stain on the macadam remained. I'd like to say we will not see his like again but it just wouldn't be true.
To end then, I'd like to present you with a poem I wrote in my twenties (back in '92) about just this kind of pigeon centred demise. I no longer think the glib tone of the poem is at all fitting but it is all I have. Enjoy.
Oh blue plumed and portly blown pilot,
A tyre has done for you.
Popped like a paper bag obese with
Breath between a clap sandwich.
Macabre children, passing, coo for
You, enquire after your
Two-dimensional demise, your brave
Unbirdlike stand against a
Post office van.
If God had meant you to
Strut the road's white hyphens a gunless
Gunfighter, he would have cursed
You human and alcoholic!
You should have known: the mail
Always gets through. You're a sober sight
Now, a sheriff’s badge on a
Black macadam breast, a toe level
Monument to avian
Derring-do or die.
Chiselled by chance
Yet as if by a maestro.
You're almost symmetrical, arranged
Like a vain martyr. Could
Your corpse have been beautified by hand?
Havoc has no such aesthetics.
For a humble pot of a bird, a
Strategy has left you ready made
For the Tate; a model of
Dis-assemblage on asphalt.