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Robert Farquhar – Pigeons (short story)

“Pigeons” by Robert Farquhar

[This story was entered into Bohemia Village Voice Short Story Competition 2011.]

Well, when I was a young boy, I kept some pigeons and I wanted to belong to a pigeon club. So I joined the British Berlin Flying Club, in Belvedere, in Kent.
I kept pigeons and used to race them to Belgium. They gave me some magazines, you know, about racing pigeons and that, and kept going for a while, but then I, you know, got in trouble with the police. I was put in a remand home . . .
Years and years later, I came across an article about pigeons being used in St Thomas’ Hospital to carry blood samples over London, because it’s quicker and safer than taxis.

Anyway, so I thought I’d study this up. I wrote to St Thomas’, saying that I was going to write an article for the Racing Pigeon Magazine on pigeons that are being used today, to do services, like they did during the war. Anyway, I got a message back saying that I could come and visit them and have a word with them.
Well, I went there and they showed me the harnesses that the pigeons wear and the weights and the amount of blood samples they carry. And I wrote all this down and thanked them and went away. I immediately thought of a way of making some money by using pigeons to ferry some dope across from Belgium and Holland. I thought it would be a good idea.

So I went back and started breeding racing pigeons especially to do the flight between England and Belgium. I kept racing them across there so they would get used to the distances.

Eventually, after about six months, my pigeons were trained to do the Channel crossing, so I decided to give it a test run. Anyway, I started and got the first samples of cannabis and put it in the back of their pouch and flew them over and they all arrived back safely and I thought – ‘ooh, that’s a good idea, I might be able to follow this up a bit more and get some more pigeons’.

Eventually, I had eighty pigeons going across to Belgium and coming back with samples of cannabis.

Long story, short.

I told a friend of mine and they said, ‘That’s a nice little nest egg there, could you put me in?’

‘Anyway’, I thought, ‘he knows too much about it now, so I said ‘alright’ ’.

He said he’ll start his own loft and he did. He got his loft and some pigeons and after training them for about a year, his pigeons were ready to do their own runs. But, unknown to me, he told too many people about it. And so the police got to hear about it, and they waited. And when he put a basket full of pigeons over to Belgium, they put a tracer on it.

So when they came back, they found out where the loft was and, of course, he got arrested. I was implicated by the fact that he was connected to me, because he had my pigeons in his loft. And that was it. I ended up getting five years.

So you see, although it was a nest egg, it ended up becoming my burden.

1 Comment

  1. Great obituary and wonderful story.

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