Today I am dreaming of warm, sunny California and my day spent at Venice Beach. Though Venice Beach in itself is a subject for much discussion, Venice Pier is where I have chosen to take you today.
Rather than simply describe to you the sights I took in while standing on Venice Pier, I thought it might be simpler to create a short story with my pictures. Therefore, please enjoy: “The Birds and Beasts of Venice Pier”. I apologize in advance for what you are about to read.
The Birds and Beasts of Venice Pier
With consideration for the light winds wafting off the ocean, the temperature at Venice Pier was near an even seventy degrees when Ernest and Sam landed from their morning flight.
“They’re at it again, Sam,” Ernest said tucking his wings against his body.
“Eh? What’s that Ernest?” Sam twisted his head left and right, his beak following pointedly with each movement. Birds in general do not have very large eyes, but Sam’s were especially small and his hearing was somehow worse when not flying.
“The humans. They’re at it again. Trying to stand on the waves.” Ernest nodded his beak at the water behind him where a wave was crashing and sending one human flying in the air, while another human slipped and disappeared beneath the water.
Ernest couldn’t decide if it was the actions of the humans or the condition of the water that bothered him more.
“How can they do it? Tell me, Sam. How can they do it?”
The water was brown to the naked eye, but with the sun shining just right it was brown with puke green hidden beneath. A few years ago, Ernest took Penny Pigeon up on a dare and sat on the water for five minutes.
He felt sick for a week.
The pigeons could enjoy floating, he would rather fly then rest his wings at the pier.
“Maybe they are trying to teach themselves to fly.” Sam walked to the edge of the railing. White splotches of droppings covered the railing, but neither bird paid them any attention.
“They’re learning to walk on water.” The voice from down the pier was ominous and angry, a voice they both knew all too well. Sam and Ernest turned to see Fishing Sink Willie at his usual spot.
“They’re gonna learn to walk on water for fishing. That way they aren’t stuck with fishing only here. They’re testing the waves to see how to get their footing just right. You wait. The day is going to come when the humans take over. You’ll be flying in the middle of the ocean and see a human just walking around, fishing pole in one hand and a bag of your dinner hanging from the other.” Willie hopped from the faucet into the sink, his eyes staring steadily at Sam and Ernest.
Not wanting to be rude to Fishing Sink Willie, Ernest hopped in the sink across from him.
“Don’t you think that water’ll kill ’em first? Look at how dirty it is!”
A fresh wave was taking another human down as some more swam out into the water with their long, flat standing boards and Ernest saw Fishing Sink Willie do something he had never done before.
He hopped out of the sink.
“Now look here. Those humans are wearing special coverings that are keeping them safe from the water. They got all their vital organs covered up. Their heads are the only things not covered really, and they don’t ever do too much with those.”
“Why’d we ever leave Miami, Sam? The water there is sparkling blue and there are no humans walking on the water there.”
Sam wasn’t listening again. He was staring down at his feet counting the splatters below them.
“I’m outta here fellas.” With no other remark, Fishing Sink Willie flapped his wings and sailed away.
“Where’s Willie going?” Sam asked looking up from his feet.
“Suppose he’s going to Miami. I’m sure he’ll find another fishing sink to call home there.”
On the other side of the pier, Charles and Reginald were discussing the humans as well, but in a slightly different way.
“I just gave it to that one in blue.” Charles said as he landed next to Reginald.
“You didn’t! Charles!”
“Sure did, gave it to him good. He was standing on top of the wave, and SPLAT! I let him have it! That’s gonna leave a stain for sure.”
Reginald shook his head and looked down at the human in blue out of the corner of his eye.
He was a regular. The only one out there who almost always tried to stand on the water. The rest of the humans sat on the water, looking like they were going to stand, but never doing it unless the wave looked especially safe.
“Come on Reginald! Stop being such a scaredy bird! What have the humans ever done for you? Look at ’em all!”
A safe wave was finally rolling by and more humans readied themselves to try and stand on top of the wave.
“What are you boys talking about?”
Reginald didn’t need to look to know Penny Pigeon had landed beside him. She reeked of ocean. If she was white like a sea gull, she would be a faded brown with streaks of green. Luckily for her, she was grey all over.
“Humans? Like this crazy one with the camera? What does she think this is…a zoo?”
“Hello human girl! Do you like it better if I turn this way? How about now?” Penny tilted her head back and forth, her eyes bugged out wide at the human with the camera.
“Well, that did it for her.” Penny said turning back to Reginald.
“Where has she gone?”
“Off to bother the new kid.”
In the distance, Reginald thought he could hear the little guy whispering for help.