As winter settles in and cold nips at the city-dwellers’ extremities, their coats come out in force. But little do they know they are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of temperature but of migration patterns and molting. Welcome to: the Twilumbia Zone.
It is a brisk day in New York City, late in autumn, bitterly cold, a prologue of winter’s coming fury. Traveling uptown along Manhattan, we arrive at the campus of Columbia University, and observe that students have begun wearing their winter-weather clothing, including heavy parkas and down jackets.
Naturally, among these jackets, some are Canada Geese. In normal life, these carry their own associations and social meanings, but normal life is about to be inexplicably suspended.
At the stroke of noon, these jackets, are instantly transformed into full-grown adults of their living, breathing, squawking Anatidaean namesakes.
In the initial moments, before the situation is fully understood, those who were outside wearing their jackets will first notice the cold suddenly brushing previously protected skin, as well as the sensation of beaks and webbed feet suddenly offering sinister caresses to their backs. Bystanders’ eyes will immediately flick to the sudden change in scenery, and then all hell will break loose.
The geese, rudely yanked out of nothingness into an existence of suffering, suspended above the ground, will squawk loudly with terror and confusion, flapping their wings wildly and buffeting their former wearers with wind and feathery blows. Stunned victims will have the matcha or pumpkin spice lattes smashed from their hands, as onlookers initially laugh at their plight or pull out their phones to take video.
Most, finding themselves surrounded by gigantic apes, will go on the offensive, and the air will be filled with hissing and the screams of anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in their path, as well as the horrified cries of onlookers whose outlook on the humorousness of the situation will likely shift rapidly. Those geese inclined to peaceful contemplation of the situation quickly find themselves swept along by the tide of violence, forced to defend themselves against frightened humans willing to engage in shocking ferocity to protect themselves from the gruesome fates of their unfortunate fellows.
Inside Ubers, cabs, and crowded subway cars, there can be no escape: human and goose must live or perish by the sword. On the streets of New York, the panicked citizenry flees as their avian attackers take unsteadily to the skies, testing their powers of flight for the first time in their brief existence. As yet untrained in the principles of bowel control, their excrement begins to rain down on the burning city below.
Meanwhile, in the rooms of those who remain asleep or who luckily chose to wear other garments when they left to go about their business, many more geese find themselves laying on couches or trapped in closets. Household pets of all sorts, with their owners either absent or asleep, are left as the city’s final line of defense against the infiltrators, who will wreak terrible devastation in their frantic attempts to escape the confinement of their unfamiliar surroundings. Those unfortunate sleepers without pets to defend them will have to gather their wits quickly once awoken by their new, unwelcome guests if they hope to survive. Like those trapped in cars, theirs will be a bitter struggle that can only end in death.
In a matter of minutes, all across New York, thousands are dead or injured, millions of dollars of clothing gone missing along with billions of dollars in further property damage, and goose shit coats the entire city like the falling ash of a mushroom cloud after a nuclear strike. The geese, previously spread thin, concentrate their forces in Central Park for a last stand, while a few make a desperate break for freedom somewhere out in the wide-open fields of Long Island.
With the city’s emergency services paralyzed by the scale of the disaster and the National Guard’s anti-air missiles proving useless against such small targets, another group must step up to save the city- humanity is not equipped to face down such a threat.
New York’s many falcons, however, have just gotten their big break. The geese are inexperienced flyers, their ungainly bodies ill-suited to maneuvering in the city’s strong winds and complex topography, and their long necks are tempting targets for a plunging falcon to make a gruesomely efficient kill. The feeding frenzy eventually will reach such furious proportions that even pigeons and crows join in, swarms of them picking off wounded survivors or tearing the geese to pieces even before they go limp in the falcons’ claws.
The slaughter produces a hurricane of feathers, and the dazed and bloodied survivors, realizing they need new coats, gather all manner of totebag, purse, and messenger bag to scoop up the spoils: the hard-won stuffing for their next parka.
before the transformation via Wikimedia Commons