Patty the Pigeon

Patty was the type of pigeon who always had a sense of adventure and an active curiosity. She lived in a brick hole near the top of a building near Union Station, in Washington D.C.

Patty loved watching the trains come in and go out of the station. She loved the clackety-clack sound of the trains as they picked up speed going down the train track. And she loved the loud whistle that the train made.

Just before the train would blow its whistle, Patty would throw back her head and pretend as if the train's glorious whistle sound was coming directly from her own beak. Her friends looked at her a little strange when she did this, but those poor pigeons had no idea what it's like to ride a train.

Patty knew almost everything there is to know about trains since she once took the Amtrak train all the way to Boston. Actually, that's not totally true. She first took the train to Philadelphia, and then caught a second train to Boston.

First, fly down to the train tracks and pretend as if you're just pecking around for sandwich crumbs. Act as if you're just a regular pigeon looking for the odd scrap of food.

Then make your way over to the doorway of one of the cars of the train. All the while, pretend as if it is the furthest thing on your mind to hop onto a train.

When you get near to one of the doorways to the train, check to see that there aren't any conductors too close to you. Then just at the moment when someone is getting on or getting off the train, pretend as if you're startled and fly up into the air while screeching just a bit.

The hurried traveler may take notice of you for a second, but you can be sure that they will be quickly on their way. Then when you're up in the air near the doorway to the train car, pretend as if you accidentally land on the top step of the doorway of the train car.

Then pretend as if your sense of curiosity is so strong that you need to take a quick peek inside the train car. Waddle a little bit forward in the way that they tell you to do in the Pigeon's Acting Book. Then you can duck underneath one of the first seats you come to, put your head underneath your wing, and then snooze all the way until the train has completely left the station.

It's important that you not engage in regular pigeon clucking when you're hiding underneath the train seat. If the man in the seat above you is carrying on and on in the most boring way imaginable, resist the temptation to cluck. And if the kids in the seats across the aisle always seem to be making a big fuss about everything, resist the temptation to cluck.

The first big city you will reach is Baltimore. You know you have reached Baltimore when the train conductor yells over the loudspeaker. "Baltimore! Baltimore! I can't imagine a city with anything more. Baltimore!"

The second big city you will reach is Wilmington, Delaware. You know that you have reached Wilmington when the conductor yells out, "Wilmington! Wilmington! The best place to play badminton is Wilmington!"

After the Wilmington train stop you will reach Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in about twenty minutes. You know that you have reached Philadelphia when the conductor yells out, "Philadelphia! Philadelphia! Best philharmonic in the world. Philadelphia!"

Philadelphia has a fine train station well worth visiting. I once spent a week there visiting some cousins.

After Philadelphia the train gets to Trenton, New Jersey. You know you have reached Trenton when the conductor yells, "Trenton! Trenton! Terrific Trenton!"

About an hour after leaving Trenton the train pulls in to New York City. If you're a pigeon who likes opera or Broadway plays, it's worth getting out at this stop.

I personally like to stay on the train for the twenty minutes that the train stops in New York City. One of the stops after New York City is New Haven, Connecticut. A friend of mine from high school is going to law school at Yale University, in New Haven. Yale has a fine law school, especially if you're interested in Pigeon Law, International Pigeon Law, or Criminal Pigeon Law.

About two hours after New Haven you reach Providence, Rhode Island. Here the conductor usually yells out, "Rhode Island! Rhode Island! Take the Rhailroad to Rhode Island!"

And within an hour of leaving Providence the train pulls into the central Amtrak station in Boston. Stay underneath your seat until all the passengers have gotten off the train. Then pretend as if you're a Boston pigeon who accidentally jumped up onto the top step of the train's car.

With a squawk, jump up into the air and pretend as if someone almost stepped on you. The train conductor will never ask a pigeon for a ticket if they think that someone almost stepped on you. You can then take your time visiting Boston before catching a train back to Washington DC. An excellent place to visit is the Boston Commons, the large park in the center of Boston. Some of the best crumbs from the best sandwiches in the nation fall onto the ground in the Boston Commons.

Also, you might enjoy visiting Harvard University, in nearby Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard is a place where human beings go to try to become as smart as pigeons.

But don't be too concerned about human beings catching up to the intelligence of pigeons. Until human beings figure out a way to ride the train for free from Washington DC to Boston and back, we pigeons will always be smarter than they.

Phil Shapiro

Copyright 1997

All Rights Reserved

[This story may be freely copied and distributed for noncommercial purposes. In particular, it may be freely used for any freeeware or shareware software projects. (I'd love to see a copy of anything you make with this.)

I'd be happy to communicate with any software development companies interested in producing multimedia stories. I've written a bunch of stories that lend themselves to multimedia presentation.

Phil Shapiro


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