Friday, 16 September 2011
It was hot and I had left the window open when I heard the noise of fluttering wings and saw a few feathers floating by.
I looked out and saw a pigeon hanging upside down on the edge of the roof. It had somehow gathered some twine on one of its legs and as it flew here and there with the string attached, it eventually got caught on the rainwater gutters of our building. So here it was hanging upside down by its leg on the edge of our building fluttering madly to free itself.
What do I do? Ignore it and let it die a slow death? Hit it on the head with my cricket bat which I bring to work on match days and put it out of its misery? Or phone the Animal Protection people and let them deal with it?
The more I thought about it the more the poor creature fluttered away desperately to set itself free.
In sheer desperation I did a desperate thing.
I opened the window wider and stepped out on the ledge. It’s wide enough for me to walk on slowly if I lean gently against the tilting roof. It seems solid enough despite the age of the building. And if I’m careful … very careful … I can ease myself slowly near the bird and then, if I bend down a little, I can untangle the string from the gutters.
Great plan! Badly thought out and executed.
As I neared the bird it fluttered even more widely than before and somehow freed itself from the string as it flew away without a word of thanks.
It was then that things got worse. I could not move back towards the window.
No … No … It was not panic … or fear of heights … or anything like that.
It was much worse. My trousers got caught in some loose nails on the roof. It was where you have those loops through which you thread your belt … I think.
Anyway … I was caught … or nailed to the roof by the seat of my pants. I couldn’t move backwards or forwards.
Dash it all … why do people gather in the street at a moment’s notice? Have they got nothing better to do?
I hear my boss talking to me gently through the open window?
“Come back in … I’m sure we can discuss matters like grown ups. Perhaps you need a few days holiday?”
Why do people jump to conclusions whenever someone stands on a ledge? Why can’t they believe my story about the pigeon? Where is that stupid bird? Why is he not here confirming my story?
Miss Frome, the beautiful young Company nurse leans well forwards out of the window and soothingly tries to calm me down. Her décolleté revealing top confuses my troubled mind even more than it is.
Do I look away modestly and lead her to believe I’m not listening? Or do I look her in the eyes … if I can … and explain my predicament.
“Look at me …” she says calmly, “we all care for you … this is a caring employer as you know … despite all the job losses of late …”
I turn back at her but don't know where to look ... I can’t speak as I stand there open-mouthed.
“Ehmmm …” but my voice fails me as no sound comes out.
She continues to calm me down by reciting platitudes about how good our employer is until eventually the fire brigade arrive and release me from the nails which held me captive by the pants.
I don’t know what’s more embarrassing. The story about the pigeon or leaving half my trousers back on the roof!
Had I fallen to my death leaving my trousers behind how would I have answered St Peter when he asked “And where are your slacks young man?”