May 25, 1907
For eleven years, pigeons have filled the nooks and roosts of the city’s police station, watching over the parade of troubled souls who come to that refuge, some dragged in bodily, others seeking aid. The police officers have coddled their feathered confederates, keeping them fat with daily offerings and giving names to the most distinctive of their numbers.
All that ends tomorrow, by order of the city’s judges and police officials. They have determined that the impromptu coop is a filthy nuisance and a hotbed of avian vice, and with that stark declaration, these spoiled creatures have been sentenced to death by sniper.
Yes, they will all be shot–starting with Old Bill, the big black male who reigns over his flock, and followed by all his courtiers, wives, children and cousins. Once their fate became clear, the officers insisted guns must be used, for they could not bear to snare and strangle their friends, and if they trapped and shipped them away, it would only be a matter of days before they returned to their longtime home.
Tonight the police station is a mournful place, and the sweet cooing of its aerial residents inspire only sadness in those below. Old Bill has but one night to live, and when he dies so too will a piece of the hearts of all who knew him.