to rufus, wherever you are

yes. yes it’s true. i killed rufus the pigeon. rufus wasn’t his christened name, unless it counts that i was the one that christened him (posthumously, of course), but it is how i remember him fondly, pre getting stuck in the grill of my car.

i woke up thursday morning without blood (of any kind) on my hands; had my tea, ate my eggs, and made my way to work. on my way, however, around 16th and Valencia, i had to make a detour so as to avoid a truck that had decided to park perpendicular to the road, blocking all traffic. making my way down the side alley to 17th street, free spirited and gay (in a happy way), i came upon a mound of feasting pigeons in the middle of the road. now never, in my entire life, has a bird not flown out of the way of my approaching car; but as my mother always taught me — and what i know now is true — there is a first time for everything.

rufus didn’t see me straight away. he was too busy eating whatever was smooshed on the road. his friends, as they flew to safety, squawked at him, but he was too hungry and it was no use. and while staying completely still would have saved his life — for my car would have gone over him without contact — his little pigeon instincts kicked in and he flew at the sight of me — straight into the front of my car. moments later, in my rearview mirror, i saw the fluttering carcass of my feathered friend and i knew — in my blood and guts — he was gone for good.

a crowd of pigeons stalked my vehicle like a cloud of gray fury. they squawked and descended, then just as quickly dispersed. i imagined rufus’ pregnant wife at home, getting the phone call whilst packing lunches for their other three children: sandy, gertrude and bruce (2, 4 and 5, respectively). a plate would slip from her grasp and shatter as she slid down the oven door until she was slumped on the linoleum floor. slowly, her children would come to her, none of them making a peep until she looked up — pale as paper — and opened her wings to them. they would nestle into her and sob, without yet knowing what they were sobbing for. i thought of the christmas — now one month away — that rufus would not be able to celebrate with his family. i thought of the daughters he would not be able to walk down the aisle when they were old enough to get married. i thought of jerry, rufus’ best friend, deleting rufus’ phone number from his cellphone in an emphatic sign of finality.

i immediately called my sister to tell her i’d be going away for a while. and when the cops came to get me, to make them a cup of tea — they were, after all, just doing their jobs.

“courtney,” she’d responded. “what the hell are you talking about?”

“rufus!” i sobbed. “i fucking killed rufus!”

“who the hell is rufus?”

his death was coming back to me in slow motion like polaroid pictures developing behind my eyes: “a pigeon. a poor, defenseless pigeon.”

“oh courtney…” she sighed. “a felon…and so young, too.”

when i said goodbye i told her i loved her (it might have been my last chance to do so). she cooed back “see ya george manson”. as she hung up, i didn’t have the heart, nor the energy, to tell her that it was, in fact, “charles manson” and she was, in fact, retarded.

the universe has a weird way of balancing itself out. only earlier that morning i had been notified that the company that manufactured the microphones i used to record my CD had heard my project and wanted to sponsor me for the next 15 months. perhaps it was that elation — that euphoria — that intoxicated me; that caused me to drive so carelessly that fateful morning.

whatever it was, rufus: if they have internet access in bird heaven and my blog is saved under your “favorites”, please hear me when i say that i am truly sorry for what i did. you were a damn good pigeon, a damn good father, and a damn good american.

don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

in other news, two days later a pigeon shat on me. fuck that shit.

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