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Being Mike

By: Whackanory on the 29th August 2009 at 5:46pm

Short story

Charlie was standing outside his office in a thoughtful mood. It was his lunch hour and he was considering where to spend it. Sometimes, he went to the park, but the pigeons annoyed him – always pecking around him, staring enviously at his crusts. Charlie hated pigeons. And everything they stood for. ‘If pigeons ever take over the world,’ thought Charlie, “I’ll probably pay a heavy price for my crust-withholding.’ But he didn’t care. A pigeon revolution didn’t look imminent, so Charlie continued to be mean to them.

On this particular day, Charlie definitely wanted to go somewhere very pigeon-free. ‘But where?’ he wondered. Then, someone tapped him on the shoulder: “Excuse me, my good man, but are you Mike?” said a rather posh voice.

Standing in front of Charlie was a short, stout man in a smart, pinstripe suit. ‘Now, he doesn’t look like he gives his crusts to pigeons,’ thought Charlie, looking at the man’s rather portly figure. Warmed to the thought of perhaps talking to a fellow pigeon-disliker, though, Charlie thought it might be quite fun to be ‘Mike’. So he said, “Yes, I’m Mike.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Mike,” said the man. “Shall we go and eat? I know a nice little place around the corner where we can get some lunch and discuss our business,” he said, winking at Charlie (who was now Mike).

Charlie (now Mike) squinted back. ‘The wink might be code,’ he thought, ‘maybe he was a spy. Interesting.’ The man started to walk quickly on and beckoned Charlie (now Mike) to follow him. He led him into a café and went up to the counter and ordered: “Two pie and chips, please.” He turned to Charlie (now Mike), “Is that OK, Mike?” he asked Charlie (now Mike). Charlie (now Mike) nodded.

“Good,” said the man, we’ll have two of your specials then,” he said to the man behind the counter, and he winked at Charlie (now Mike) again. ‘More code?’ wondered Charlie (now Mike). If it wasn’t, then the man winked far too much for Charlie’s (now Mike’s) liking. He reminded him of pigeons – he was sure he’d seen them wink before.

But the man was buying him lunch and Charlie (now Mike) was very hungry, so he decided to put up with his spy code. After all, he may be about to tell him some important State secrets. And Charlie (as Mike) could sell them to the papers and make some money. At the thought of this, Charlie (now Mike) thought he could put up with the winking.

The man came over with two cups of tea and pulled out some papers from the file he’d been holding. They had lots of figures on them and he started to talk about statistics and business-like things that made Charlie (now Mike) think it might have been better in the park with the pigeons. But he just nodded when he thought he was meant to nod, and shook his head when he thought he needed to shake it. He hoped he wouldn’t give away the fact he wasn’t Mike before his pie and chips arrived.

At last, it did, and the man stopped talking, as he greedily tucked in. Charlie took a bite of the pie and thought it was very tasty. In fact, it was one of the best pies he’d ever tasted. He polished it off faster than any pie he had ever polished off.

The man cleared his plate and picked up his file. “I’ll be off then, Mike. Think about the quote and if you’re still happy with it, get in touch.”

Charlie got up and shook his hand. “Thanks for lunch,” he said, “it was very tasty.”

“It was rather, wasn’t it?” said the man. “I’ve never quite tasted anything like their pigeon pie here.” And off he went, whistling.

Charlie (who was now not Mike any more, but Charlie again) slowly walked out of the café, with his lunch companion’s words still ringing in his ears. “Pigeon pie,” the man had said. “Pigeon pie”!

Charlie had just eaten pigeon. Being Mike meant he had eaten pigeon. He’d wanted a pigeon-free lunch, and this had happened. Being Mike had made this happen. Charlie decided that he would never be Mike again. If this is where it got you, it was a bad idea.

Back at his desk, pondering the awfulness of this wasted hour of his life, that he could never ever get back again, Charlie concluded that he had learnt three very important things:

Never say you’re someone else.
Never go off with strangers.
Never be nasty to pigeons… because they even get into your pies.


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  • Bexley, United Kingdom

    Riley on the 30th August 2009 at 10:13am

    If I hated pigeons, I don't suppose I'd much mind eating them. As it is, I'm afraid I find them rather intriguing as a species, and thus have not found the need to consume one. I do tell everyone this, but do you know the history of the noble pigeon? They used to be Wild Rock Doves long ago, but found a niche living amongst us and are the most successful living example of an animal that has evolved to co-exist with humans without being domesticated. Now isn't that fascinating? Jolly good writing, though - bravo young person!