Humor Fiction posted June 12, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Hitchhiker or carjacker?


by Sis Cat

Ever since the Loma Prieta earthquake of ’89 had collapsed a section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge upper deck onto the lower deck, killing a driver, I felt nervous driving the old cantilever span. Whenever I drove it, I rolled down my car windows and inhaled the Bay breeze to relax. 

You’ll be off this bridge soon, Andre.
One day, I had just left San Francisco and driven through the Yerba Buena Tunnel in the middle of the bridge when I rolled down my passenger and driver side windows.
Something struck the side of my face.
My hands released the steering wheel and covered my head. Earthquake? I looked ahead, but the bridge didn’t collapse into the Bay. I heard a loud rustling sound and became aware that my hands were not on my steering wheel. My car drifted across lanes of traffic as drivers honked and swerved. I veered toward the side rail separating me from the Bay.
Don’t drive off this bridge, Andre!
I regained control of my car, but still heard rustling nearby. Rubbing the side of my struck face, I examined my fingers.

I'm bleeding? What hit me?

I looked in my rearview mirror.

Is that a pigeon outside my rear window? No . . . it’s inside my car. How did it get in here?

I then realized that the pigeon had flown through my open car window on the bridge. It bobbed and fluttered along my back window. “Coo-coo.”
I unrolled all windows and honked. “Get out of my car, please!”
The wind pinned the pigeon against my back window, and then the bird leapt onto my headrest. I screamed like Tippi Hedren in The Birds. “Get out of my hair!”
My hands off the steering wheel again, my car drifted across lanes of traffic as drivers honked and—“Hey!”—flipped me the bird.
I regained control of my car. The pigeon settled into the seat.
“Don’t make me drive off this bridge. I only have a little more to go.”
I looked up ahead and saw the light at the end of the bridge where the upper deck separated from the lower deck and leveled out.
You’re almost there, Andre.
I drove onto land, pulled to the side of the freeway, and jumped from my car. I ran around and flung open all the doors. I yelled like a priest conducting an exorcism. “Get out of my car! Get out of my car!”
The pigeon in back—“Coo-coo.”—wasn’t going anywhere.
I never said the pigeon was smart, but I'm smart enough not to call 9-1-1 to evict a pigeon from my car. I took off my sweater and stretched it between my hands. “Come here. Come here.”
I caught the pigeon. Its wings beat against my sweater as I carried it out of my car and raised it above my head. I opened my sweater. The pigeon dipped to the ground and then rose. It flew over the eastbound lanes, the toll plaza, and then across the Bay towards its home on the bridge.
I had driven that bird across the Bay Bridge in my car and paid the toll. But in the back seat, the pigeon left a deposit. 




I thank the San Francisco Free Folk Festival of 2017 which hosted the Bay Area Liar's Competition. I signed up to tell a five minute lie--an exaggerated form of storytelling--mine being "Carjacked by a pigeon--I kid you not, really!" The only problem was that I had no story but eleven days to create one.

I thank Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaiden's Tale" which gave me the idea of turning to personal and local history to craft my story--a friend with a pigeon phobia, my fear of crossing a local bridge after a quake, a bird loose in my house. I created a lie--a story--out of facts. While it did not win me the competition, it won me praise for my storytelling and the interest of Toastmasters which want me to give a speech on humor.

I also thank my clients and coworkers at Ability Now Bay Area who watched a dozen performances of drafts and rehearsals of my story and provided feedback. After the first public performance of my story at the lying contest, a producer named Bonnie provided feedback on tightening my story by decreasing repetition. I will never again perform my story the same way I did in my video. It will continue to evolve with each performance.

I thank "I'm Here!" by suzannethompson2 for use of her image.

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