Posters rose around the neighborhood describing a lost pigeon, which you might recognize because it might land on you. So meanwhile I’ve been hanging out with this very sexy girl Maggie who always wants to be with me but doesn’t want to date me. She’s recently lost-then-found her giant cat Hank, who’s a typical tom that way. Then she went to Spain and people in her building were taking care of the cat, who is allowed to go in and out of the window. Back from Spain, there were posters around for another lost cat, and the owners called her house and tried to convince her that Hank was actually their cat, the new lost one. Maggie won by saying Hank was at least 30 percent bigger than their cat. I don’t know if she knew their cat, or if it was an educated guess based on how big Hank truly is. “People appreciate data,” she said to me. I was holding a towel in front of her so she could change at the lake. Naturally I’d been sort of trying to tamp down my crush and sort of trying to let it do what it wants. So then later that day when we got back from the lake and I dropped her off and was at my house getting ready to take myself to the movies, I heard scuffling on my roof and went outside to look. There was a giant white pigeon like a foot above me on my stoop’s overhang thing, huge for a pigeon, with a pink beak and giant pink feet. It took off in a rush and a feather fell from it. I don’t know what percent bigger. Then I went to the movies, not putting anything together. When I got home my landladies were sitting in the dark garden. I joined them for a nightcap and they told me about seeing this white bird in the yard. “I saw it too!” I said. That made me remember the poster for the pigeon. I felt worried that someone had been missing their tame bird all this time and I’d just gone to the movies, and I felt like I’d forgotten because I was getting all the posters mixed up with my stupid feelings for Maggie in some way. So the next day I walked all over the neighborhood until I found a poster, and then I called the number. It was a weird guy. There’s a certain kind of weird guy in this town and they have a certain kind of voice, sort of lonely and sort of self-righteous. A kind of guy into ham radio. He said the poster was about a gray pigeon, not a white one with pink feet like the one I saw, but that he’d actually lost a white one, too, a while before that. He didn’t sound at all freaked out, or relieved, or anything, and that started to make me mad.
Next day I was biking over to Maggie’s and we were going to have brunch at a place that used to be a bank. There were leaves everywhere in the streets. I was thinking about the structure of many leaves coming from one tree. Then how they all fell away but there was still that one tree. I thought about money, about bicycling through money swirling around in the street surrounded by bald trees as if the money had come from the trees even though of course not. This is the way I use my brain. There in the street was a weird guy, and some distance away, maybe a house-worth of distance, there was a giant pigeon, and the guy was trying to coax it toward him. It was a black pigeon with red rims on its face. I didn’t want to bicycle through them in this delicate moment so I pulled over. I watched the man and the pigeon move in relation to each other like backward magnets. A cat that looked a lot like Hank sat on a porch and was definitely watching, too. I tried to think of what percentage like Hank that cat was. Then I tried to think of what percentage like Hank the rest of us were, living on this Earth. No cars were coming. I realized there was no way the man would know I was the person who’d called him, if he was the man I’d called. So I said, “Hey! I’ve gotta get through here, okay?” I said it the way I’ve seen people with Hummers say that to people like construction workers, or anyone really. It’s amazing how urgent something like brunch can feel. But the weird guy didn’t look up from the pigeon. I could have just gone right ahead through them, but something made me not do that, even though the guy was on another planet. He was on another planet in some kind of system that was beyond me, something where he was in a network with a series of birds, white, gray, black, and maybe with a whole separate weird guy on the phone interacting in a series of patterns. They’d tacked up these flyers onto trees, and some of the flyers were crumbling onto the streets. I let the man keep staring at the bird and then I looked at the cat watching them, too, like me. I backed up and went around the block. When I got to Maggie’s she was freaking out because she couldn’t find Hank. She was afraid her neighbors might be harboring him. I said maybe he was just out chasing tail, and she threw a pillow at me. Then she went to make a phone call. I picked up the pillow and held it in front of me by two of its corners, the way I’d held up a towel a day ago. For a second I thought about the posters around town and let go of one of the corners. That’s the opposite of a nail, if you think about it. Maggie and I are the same height, and we have basically the same haircut. We both wear glasses part-time and contacts part-time, but I really couldn’t tell you if it’s the same amounts. There could be so many more things to aim my feelings at, and sometimes I think the right thing is hovering just above my left ear. But it’s like every time I move, whatever the right thing is moves in exact relation to me. It makes me really want to get out of here, this whole brainspace, this country, whatever made me the version of myself that I am.