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For the Birds

When a blood spatter analysis expert with the NYPD investigates a scene, she finds the most unlikely witness in the office’s history - but only she can hear him!

By Elizabeth Kaye DaughertyPublished about a year ago 4 min read

The inside of the apartment stank of old beer and blood, in contrast to the building itself which smelled like Vietnamese cooking and cigarettes. While I was no fan of old beer, the scent of blood was something I’d become accustomed to.

“As you can see by the darker color here,” my little finger hovered centimeters from a dull crimson spray pattern on the wall, tucked in a corner near a bookshelf, “the blood pooled as gravity pulled it from this way. That means the strike had to come from there.”

I pointed with my other gloved hand toward the center of the room. One of the two officers with me scrawled on a note pad while the other chewed his gum with loud smacks.

“If you can get me some luminol we can look for anything that the attacker might have cleaned up,” I urged.

“Right, right,” said the one writing, or pretending to write.

I rose from my squat and peeled off my gloves. “What matters is determining if this is a homicide or missing person in distress. If you want those answers, I need luminol.”

“Get a load of this dame,” said a male voice with a thick New York accent.

“What?” I looked between the two cops. I hadn’t seen either of their mouths move.

The one with the notepad shook his head.

“Don’t get your panties in a twist,” said the second man.

The officers turned and sauntered toward the door, around the small markers on the floor by the entrance.

The accented voice laughed, once, then said, “Oh, we love the boys in blue don’t we? Protect and serve my ass.”

I came to a stop and scanned the room again. All the officers were bunched up at the entryway with a roll of yellow tape between them and speaking quietly.

“My feathery ass!” It said again.

My eyes settled on a nearby window, filtering light from the morning sun through the smog. I stepped up to it and checked for dried streaks, like those someone would have left behind from cleaning up evidence.

Perched on the rails of the fire escape sat a broad-chested gray pigeon.

The pigeon turned its head to stare at me with a round eye. “Hey, yo!” Said the voice. The pigeon opened its beak.

I threw open the window.

“What the-”

I lashed out and snatched the bird, pinning both spindly legs and one wing against itself. The other thrashed and threw feathers.

“Hey! Hey! What do you think you’re doing! I ain’t that kind of bird!”

The officers at the doorway stopped their conversation and turned to look in. Then they closed the door and left us alone. For once, being seen as a crazy lady wasn’t such a bad thing!

“You can talk,” I said.

The flapping slowed to a stop. “You can hear me?”

I nodded. “What is this? Why is a pigeon talking about my crime scene?”

It wiggled its head. “Well, as you can see, I’m no ordinary pigeon.”

“You’re missing a toe on your left foot.”

Its feet flexed and curled. “Hey mind your own business! I didn’t insult your clogs that give you clubbed-lookin’ feet.”

I shook the pigeon gently. Its head thrashed.

“Woah, hey, police brutality! I got rights, pig!”

“Answer my question.”

“Put me down first. You’re givin’ me whiplash.”

I paused, then lowered the bird to the railing again and leaned my hips against the window sill so my head stuck out. “Okay, if you can talk then talk.”

“Easy, lady. Ya ruffled my feathers,” it said, then preened with its beak.

I sighed. “Alright. Fine. Can all pigeons talk or just you?”

“Oh, just because I’m a pigeon I’m supposed to know all the other pigeons in New York? Yeah, we’re all good buddies. Between cannibalizing chicken nuggets and running from bored kids in the neighborhood we get tons of social time.”

“Yep, I’m crazy. Finally snapped.”

“Well before you get toted off to a padded cell, you probably wanna nab your guy, eh?”

“My guy?”

“The perp. I saw the whole thing last night. Beat the gal over the head with a hammer. Threw his shoes in the dumpster.”

“What? Why didn’t you lead with that!”

“I was fightin’ for my life!”

I put my fingers to my temples and rubbed in circles, drawing myself back inside the apartment. “Why am I even indulging this delusion? Someone probably slipped something into my coffee.”

“How ‘bout this? If I am a figment of your drug-addled imagination, then you won’t find those shoes. Trash hasn’t come yet, it’s runnin’ late.”

I peered out at the bird. “The dumpster, you said?”

It flapped its wings and turned to face outward. “I’ll race ya there.”

I watched as the pigeon took off from the rail and careened along the side of the building. One of its loosened feathers drifted down into the alley below.

“This is crazy,” I whispered to myself. “This is crazy, this is crazy.”

Then I strode through the front door and past the officers whose alarmed eyes I could feel boring into my back as I walked.

A familiar pigeon sat on top of a gray and stained industrial dumpster, and chastised me as I threw open the lid with determination. I barely heard it, clawing through the upper layer of garbage.

“Sasha!” Called the gum-chewing officer from before. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Got ‘em,” I called in reply, digging my fingers into the soles of white Skechers with dark stains. I dropped to the cement and shoved the sneakers into his hands. “Find who bought these shoes, you found your guy.”

He took them with a silent, wild stare. He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped short as a pigeon flew overhead and left a long white streak across the front of his uniform.

HumorShort Story

About the Creator

Elizabeth Kaye Daugherty

Elizabeth Kaye Daugherty, or EKD for short, enjoys a good story, cats, and dragons.

Though she has always written fiction, she found a love of creative nonfiction while studying at Full Sail University.

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