Homing Pigeons by David Mauriello


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Brothers Ralph (80s) and Peter (70s) sit on a park bench


Pigeons roost on a nearby roof


RALPH:: Feed them. They got nothing to eat.

PETER: The sign says "don't feed the pigeons".

RALPH: Huh, what sign? ( grows emotional) Crazy, are they crazy?
They helped us in the old war. They carried messages and if they got
caught they were fed alive to dogs. All the sacrifice and who will
remember? Two of the guys on our street never made it home. And now,
"don't feed them!

PETER: It's a different generation.

RALPH: They would fly with legs shot off, eyes shot out, just to get
home. Then they'd just go away quiet and wait to die 'cause they
weren't whole anymore. Give 'em the bread.

PETER: I can't. The sign.

RALPH: Just do it. My smart little brother. (places his hands around
Peter's face) You're not afraid anymore are you?

PETER: That was good of you to come home early like that. So I could
sleep.

RALPH: Remember when it rained?

PETER: Ralphie, I, yes I remember. I loved when it rained. There
it was raining on the roof only inches away from us under those eaves.

RALPH: Petey. I didn't change you did I? By letting you touch me
like that. You said you liked it.

PETER: No, you didn't change me. I remember those nights as special.

RALPH: Remembering them was all I had after the grenade hit me. They
patched me up, but…

PETER: What? Is that why you stopped getting in touch? I thought it
was because I was gay. All these years. Did you think I'd care?
How bad is it?

RALPH: Something got broke. A connection. I guess there's a lot of
little nerves down there and if they break.

PETER: We never should have stopped Ralphie.

RALPH: I was older. We were brothers, it's..a..

PETER: Taboo? Like signs that say "don't feed the pigeons"?

RALPH: You were so young.

PETER: No, not near the end, before you went into the army.

RALPH: But still brothers.

PETER: You used to tell me that pigeons mated for life. Where does
that connection come from? That's not something a mind decides.
It comes from something, big, inside all life. We had it. We let the
rules break it. And I've lived all my life with a great big hole
in the middle of it. I figured there must be something else,
something acceptable that I'd want instead if I found it. But I
never did.

THEY sit quietly for some moments

RALPH : Petey. Look at me Neither did I, neither did I. That's
really why I got in touch. Yeah, I, I wanted to tell you how it is
and, and just get it right and I thought I should do it before, well
at my age, who knows?

PETER: Ralphie ( takes Ralph's hands, kisses the palms)

RALPH: But we can't go back.

PETER: We don't have too. We still have the cake. US. We're
still here. We'll just come up with new frosting. Let me make the
decision this time. I'd love to, to get you to the barber more
often, make sure you shave, do your laundry.

PETER: Nooo..

PETER: Yes, to touch and smell the things you wear or sleep in, or
eat out of.

RALPH: I can't let you do that?

PETER: Help you keep house. Do you make your bed? Dust?

RALPH: Sure..ahwell..

PETER: We can watch old Rita Hayworth movies. I'll be Rita and you
can be that handsome actor she played with.

RALPH: Glenn Ford.

PETER: Guess what we are going to do right now?

RALPH: Ditch the doctor?

PETER: No. (pulls loaves of bread from bags, unwraps them) Feed
the pigeons. Here.

THEY rise, PETER fills their hands with crumpled bread.

PETER: Give them a feast.

RALPH: Petey, I think they heard you. Look, more and more are
coming. Whoa..look at that, a flock of 'em, circling overhead.

PETER: They didn't hear me. They smelled LIFE. LIFE. I'm not
going to let them get so hungry that they have to eat poison the
way I did.

RALPH: Petey, up there, all alone on the roof. I think it's ..a RED!
(he taps his forearm with his fist filled with bread) Red, come
on home boy, come on home!

[end of extract]



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