A man and a woman were walking arm and arm down a big city street.
At the same time, far above, a dangling safe was waiting to be loaded through the window of a sixth story room in a twenty five story office building. The man was old and the woman was young. The rope holding the safe was old and the safe was new. The rope was stretched and it strained as it held the heavy, heavy safe. Both the old man and the young woman wore a wide brimmed hat. But that didn’t matter. That wasn’t the reason they didn’t notice the safe far above. They were looking downward as they walked, trying to avoid stepping on the cracks in the cement sidewalk. It was something they hadn’t done for a while. Not since the young woman was a young girl. The old man was her great-grandfather and each smiled as they remembered back. Just then a passing garbage sounded its loud air horn startling the pair. They stopped and laughed as they watched the truck move on. They were now standing almost under the dangling safe. The wind picked up and the dangle became more of a sway. Then the swaying became a twisting and turning. One part of the rope, the part that secured the rig, began to unravel and where it was frayed from use, slowly and almost methodically, the strands began to break. As the young woman and her great-grandfather were about to walk onward, the wind nearly blew off their hats. Each reached up to hold them tighter to their heads. Heads which were still not looking upward. The wind stopped momentarily and the safe stopped moving about. Just then a pigeon, having earlier been chased by a strong gust of wind from its perch on the ledge of a nearby building, and then from another ledge when the garbage truck sounded its air horn, landed on the top of the safe. With that the wind picked up again. The safe twisted and turned and then jerked and dropped about an inch as more of the strands broke. The pigeon spooked. It flew from the now doomed safe, and as it did it let loose with a dropping, followed closely by another. Just as the old man and the young woman were about to move on once more, the first dropping landed on the sidewalk six feet ahead of them. Then the second one landed. Both with a splat. Standing still they looked at the two droppings just as the final four strands of the untwisted rope snapped, sending the now unsafe safe straight downward to the sidewalk below. It landed as any heavy compact thing would’ve landed. With a tremendous thud. Then the crash was followed by the old rope and the two pulleys that once guided it. There was a small cloud surrounding the now slanted safe that was partially forced into the cement, but the wind quickly blew the dust away.
A crowd gathered and then soon a policeman arrived. The old man and his great-granddaughter lay on the sidewalk, their hats lying beside them.
“What happened?” one woman asked.
“That safe fell from up there,” a man said as he pointed upward. “It’s criminal if you ask me!”
“Are they…..are they…..,” another woman started to say.
“It’s all right,” another man said as he knelt beside the old man and the young woman. “They only fainted.” Then he stood. “I’m a doctor. They should be okay once they come to. But I’ll stick around to make sure just in case their falling down hurt them worse then it appears.”
“Thank goodness,” yet another woman said.
Then, in chorus, the rest of the crowd agreed.
“All right now folks move along,” the cop said. “Excepting the good doctor here of course. We’ll take care of all this. Move along now the rest of you.”
Just then the same pigeon once again landed on the top of the safe.
“Oh so it’s you again is it,” the policeman said to the bird. “I saw the whole thing happen don’t you know, and I know that if it wasn’t for your lettin’ loose the way you did just when you did you little scoundrel…..well, one can only imagine. And now don’t be lettin’ it go to your head, but because of you, saints preserve us, these two lying here, only fainted away and not crushed to death, well they have you to thank for it. Why look, they’re coming now. I’ll introduce you.”
But before the policeman could do so, the garbage truck that sounded its loud air horn earlier sounded it loudly once again, and once again the pigeon spooked and flew away. At the same time a hawk took off from a nearby roof top. It had earlier flown to the area to investigate the mishap. The policeman watched as it followed the pigeon until both birds were out of site.
“What happened?” the young woman asked.
“I think we’re both lucky we didn’t start walking again, Honey,” the great-grandfather said.
“I seem to remember that something caught our attention, Great-Grandfather,’ the young woman replied.
“And you have a pigeon and its droppings to thank for that,” the cop said.
With that the hawk, still chasing the pigeon, flew through.
“Why there he goes now…..errr, I mean to say there goes a similar pigeon now,” the policeman stated, not wanting to upset either the young woman or the old man.
“And don’t worry,” he added, “In all likelyhood that similar pigeon will dodge that devil of a hawk pursuing it and get away clean. I’m practically sure it’ll be just safe.
Then as the cop looked to where the two birds had flown, he and the doctor helped the young woman and the old man to their feet. Then, after removing his hat to scratch his head, the doctor handed the pair their hats. Then all four of them looked at the fallen safe.
“Safe indeed!” the doctor said. “Safe Indeed!”
by John Patrick Seekamp 2015