Every day on the train, at least once, somebody comes through begging for spare change. The spiel usually goes like this: "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I don't mean to bother you, and I hate begging, but I just got out of prison and I am disabled, and I have nowhere to go, and nothing to eat. Please, please spare some change..." Usually this is accompanied by a severe (seeming) limp.
I generally see the same guy on the train every day, and I can tell you, he lives in my neighborhood, walks perfectly fine when he's not on the train, and apparently has "just gotten out of prison" every single day of the week. Not that I'm cynical or anything. In fact, there's another beggar that I've seen in midtown, a small Indian lady, who dresses in beautiful saris, and is about 20 years old. When she's begging, she has this crutch that she leans on with one arm, back all hunched, and her other hand extended with a cup in it, and she says "Please, please" in the most pathetic voice EVER. Her disabilities look truly painful. Yeah. I've also seen her running up the stairs of the subway with cane and crutch in hand.
ANYWAY. Today I saw the pigeon version of this particular scam.
I was sitting in Bowling Green park eating my lunch, when all of a sudden I hear people around me exclaiming "oh, that poor thing" and "Oh, his wing is broken" so I look up and this pigeon limps by with his wing stuck out at a weird angle.
All these people are throwing the pigeon bits and pieces of their lunches, and the bird is eating voraciously. Then, as somebody went up to grab the pigeon (ostensibly to take it somewhere it could be helped), the pigeon folds up its wing perfectly and flies off.
I'm sitting there laughing my fool head off, going "Boy, y'all just got scammed by a bird."