The tiny bell rang once. Only once, and quite lightly. Juan heard it, left everything, and ran upstairs. There she was. Juan recognized her. She had given birth not long ago and was a special bird. Why she hadn’t left the jewelry shop he didn’t know. Maybe the birth had made her less attentive. In any event, she was here now. Home.
He took her and saw the leather strap bulging with the geometrical shaped object in it. With not a second to be lost, he quickly wrung her neck. He opened the satchel and saw the GPS blinking. Then he looked up at the sky and listened closely. All he could hear was the defending noise of the city all around him. Cars everywhere, honking, and noise, just immense and unceasing city noise. He ran down the stairs and into the backyard, jumping over his fence like a crazy person. If Virginia had seen him, she would have thought the devil himself was chasing her boy. He ran down between two homes, then onto the next street. About a hundred yards down, he hooked left into what seemed like a ravine. On this strange path, there was a concrete footbridge that connected the sides of the ravine. And at the bottom of the ravine was a two-way road with a constant flow of traffic. Juan stopped in the center of the footpath and looked below. The chain-link fence meant to keep people safe was all that separated him from a fall to certain death below. People crossed back and forth here all day long, passing and greeting one another politely. Juan waited, holding the dead pigeon in his hand until the busiest time arrived. A huge truck carrying gravel in an open container approached. He put the bird through the links with his hands and squeezed his left hand through the chain link fence, holding the bird on the other side, and then he quickly put his right hand through another hole in the fence, grabbed the bird, and waited for the exact moment when he saw the gravel below. He was about to let go, then he stopped. He quickly opened the leather sack and pulled the GPS from it. He dropped only the GPS device.
The two seconds it took were enough for the GPS to miss the cargo bay of the cement truck. Luckily, the truck was carrying a double load, and a second container followed the first, which was where the GPS device landed. For an instant, Juan thought it would land on the street—it barely made it into the second container! The operation was a success, and Juan was so happy. He brought the dead pigeon and his hands back inside the fence and hid the bird in his clothing. People kept crossing the bridge in their daily routine and barely glanced at Juan. He sat there, waiting to see what followed. About five minutes later, a speck appeared in the sky in the distance. Slowly, it grew until he could see it was a helicopter. He watched as it moved diagonally toward the road. It was following the truck into the freeway system of Mexico, and from there, who knew how far. His heart raced and he breathed long and hard to control his emotions, then he sat up to finish his pigeon obliteration campaign. He walked back into the property from behind his mother’s home and placed the thirty-fifth pigeon into the still-smoking steel drum, then added fuel that quickly shot flames into the air. Then he went up on the roof, whereupon he demolished the pigeon aviary. He pushed it off the roof and it fell undramatically and quietly onto the dirt floor. Juan burned all the wood components and neatly rolled up the chicken wire. He wanted all evidence down to the last feather incinerated beyond recognition, so he placed the rolled-up chicken wire into the fire and watched as the small feathers burned off the steel.
He was feeling a bit safer now about leaving for Mexico City. Getting there was more important than ever. He needed to leave the home that same afternoon but did not want to drive in the middle of the night. He would drive to Mexicali that evening and sleep in a motel there. From this day on, he knew he was going to play a new game and that he would be smart about it. He walked to his chained pit bull and gently petted him while removing the collar that was attached to the chain. He warmly embraced the dog as it eyed the street and the freedom it craved too much.
Go, be free. I won’t keep you here against your will any longer, Juan thought.
The dog ran away like any wild animal would when released from a cage. It would probably be a statistic soon, faced with the harsh reality of Tijuana street life. Juan removed the leather collar from the chain and dropped it into the fire. By now, the chicken wire was all black and had no sign of feathers. He pulled it out and stomped on it, flattening it. He then dragged it out back and dropped it into the ravine that many residents used to dump the stuff they no longer valued. The bottom of the ravine was so filled with junk that nobody went there. It was a no-man’s-land of wasted construction materials, rusted mattress springs, and debris. A truly toxic bottom to a ravine that, had it not been impacted by the presence of humans, would probably have been a beautiful, nature-filled ecosystem.