The Birds

Note: This was posted to my Facebook a couple of months ago. Thought I'd repost here for my blog readers. Enjoy.

The events described herein are true.

Last week, I took a trip to McDonald's, as I sometimes do. Hunger had struck me on my commute and I wanted something cheap and fast. Zipping through the drive-through, I ordered a 10-piece Chicken McNugget ® combo meal with a Diet Coke ® and a side of ranch for dipping. Being in a hurry (I had class later that day), I ate alone in my car. I typically don't like eating in my car — I get claustrophobic. I also feel cripplingly lame and lonely eating alone in a parked vehicle. But that's beside the point, because now, claustrophobia and loneliness are the least of my worries.


As I parked my car and dug into the greasy, fried goodness, I noticed absently that there was quite a number of pigeons milling about the mostly deserted parking lot. They wandered around, bobbing their heads back and forth in that weird, pigeon-y way. A couple of them even got into a tussle, which was entertaining to watch for a while as I munched on fries. But it wasn't long before the pigeons noticed me — more specifically, it wasn't long before the pigeons noticed I was eating food, alone and defenseless.

They closed in.

At first, a group of about four or five of the pigeons gathered around the driver's side door of my '93 Toyota Corolla. I stole a sidelong glance at the birds and, with a pang of panic, noticed two things:

1) These pigeons were staring at me.

2) These pigeons were not normal-looking pigeons.

Bloated and horrific from a diet of what I can only assume consisted mainly of discarded french fries and ketchup packets, these pigeons had mutated into something else. Their bodies were grotesquely huge, threatening to swallow their necks. They hobbled when they walked, as if their pencil-thin legs weren't built to carry such a load. No, I realized, these birds were not of this plane of existence. They were bred on grease and now they craved it.

They craved it. And I had it.

I regarded the cardboard box of nuggets before me — the odd, boot-like shape of them; the sad little puddle of ranch. Outside, more birds had gathered. There were at least a dozen outside now — standing, staring. Those little red eyes bore ceaselessly into me. I grew increasingly uncomfortable. By the minute, more came. It wasn't long before 20 birds had assembled outside my car door. And then, one landed on the hood of my car. It stood outside the windshield, cocked its head, and stared at me.

I have never been afraid of birds at any point in my life. But believe me when I say that it was like I was living Alfred Hitchcock's film right then. They were everywhere. Another car passed by, missing the pigeons by mere inches, and the stupid beasts didn't even try to move out of the way, so focused were they on me and my fast food-y goodness. The people in the car stared with wide eyes as I heard little talons scraping the roof of my car.

I started my car.

The birds didn't budge.

I honked the horn once. Twice.

They. Didn't. Move.

At this point, I was in full panic mode. Visions of the birds pecking at the windshield until they shattered the glass and piled in, devouring me and my meal, ran through my mind. I set my unfinished meal on the seat beside me, pulled the car into drive, and inched forward. The fat birds in front of my car limped out of the way, taking their sweet time, never taking their eyes off of me. The one of the hood of my car remained there.

As I cleared the mob, I floored it, screaming across the empty lot. The bird on the hood stumbled, lost its balance, and took flight, struggling to carry its immense weight into the air. In my rear-view mirror, the birds watched me go. In my mind, they said Next time, Click. And then I saw them turn around and walk, collectively, towards the nearest occupied vehicle.

I drove away then as fast as I could.

UPDATE: I have since gone to this same McDonald's one more time, eating in the parking lot again to see if the pigeons would again appear. Sure enough, they descended upon my car almost instantly. I no longer eat in the parking lot of this particular establishment.

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