• Day 124: How Is A Dead Pigeon’s Head Like Hard Candy?

    Date: 2010.07.01 | Category: Uncategorized | Tags:

    A day that begins with a gruff lawyer for the Vatican waking up you at 2 a.m. complaining about a line in your story about an arcane Supreme Court decision involving the increasingly freaked-out Catholic Church never bodes well for the remaining 22 hours.

    Sure enough, after putting out the Vatican fire, I went back to sleep and was awakened again from a dead slumber around 8 a.m. by my friend Allison down the street.

    Allison sounded a little freaked out herself – which was enough to freak me out since Allison is usually cool as a cucumber no matter what the circumstances.

    “What’s up?” I said.

    “Well,” Allison began. “ I woke up this morning and next to my bed I found a headless…”

    You know how your mind works so fast you’ve got the whole thing figured out before the next word comes out?  I heard “headless” and for some reason thought of the horse’s head from “The Godfather.”  Oh no, someone’s placed a bloody horse’s head on Allison’s bed. This can’t be good.

    “I woke up this morning and found a headless pigeon next to my bed on the floor,” Allison continued. “It’s huge.  I am totally freaked out.”

    Uh-oh.  This could mean only one thing.  Her French cat, Sienna, who looks like a huge piece of butterscotch on legs, had apparently bitten the head off a pigeon as it flew into Allison’s apartment sometime in the night in the old section of Nice where we live.

    Then, Allison surmises, he carefully dragged his headless trophy up to Allison’s second-floor chambers and dropped it next to her bed for her morning viewing pleasure.

    However, very eerily, there were no signs of a “struggle,” i.e. feathers or blood, Allison reported, which would certainly be expected if a pigeon flew into an living room at night and encountered a fur predator.

    “It was a clean kill,” said Allison. “A spectacularly clean kill.”

    My head re-spun with more conspiracy theories – unknown enemies of Allison slipping in at night with headless pigeons.  We are only 12 miles from the Italian border, after all.

    “My door was locked,” Allison said flatly.

    Paging CSI: Nice!

    Could I come over, Allison suggested.

    How could I not?

    I grabbed a cappucino from my friend at the café downstairs and headed over to the crime scene.

    My first impression of Sienna, who was reclining on an armchair, was that he looked a little… uncomfortable.

    “You would too,” said Allison.  “If you were digesting a beak.”

    Allison got her rubber gloves and a garbage pail with which to dispose of the headless pigeon and we walked upstairs to observe the unfortunate victim.

    Allison then summoned Sienna upstairs to see if he would evince any emotion.   At first he looked a little bored when he saw his former prey on the floor.  He perked up a bit and got up on his hind quarters to re-inspect it after Allison gingerly prepared to throw it in the waiting garbage pail.

    I finished up the rest of my coffee while Allison and I pondered if the headless pigeon was an omen of some sort, a cosmic harbinger of things to come.

    I went home to do some research at the University of Google.

    Not only did I find that cats often bite the heads off of birds and small animals like rabbits with “surgical precision,” I discovered why Sienna had just eaten the head and left the rest of the body behind.

    It turns out that like me, Sienna prefers dessert to any other meal.

    Why do cats only eat the head of (an animal) after catching them?”

    Said one scholar at Yahoo! Answers:

    “It probably has something to do with the fact that the heads are nice and crunchy due to the skulls and the brains are sort of soft and gooey and probably a little bit sweet because they are full of fat. For cats it is probably a lot like a human eating a hard candy with a gooey filling.”

    Bon appetit!