The streets were cold and wet. Not a place anybody would want to spend the night on. The homeless though had no other place to go.
T settled down in the doorway of what once had been a large Woolworths shop. Somehow, he had remembered that, despite the place being closed and boarded up years ago. Making sure to tuck his sleeping bag in to try and slow the cold from sipping underneath him, T lent back.
The pattering of the rain started to lull him to sleep, but a soft quacking awoke him. T opened his eyes and looked down at the large cardboard box by his feet. One of the two pet ducks inside the box was staring over the top at him with black beedy eyes.
‘There’s no more bread, Petal,’ T said gently.
The duck quacked and retreated back into the box.
T settled down again. He was just falling asleep when the sounds of police sirens cut through the quiet night. T awoke with a start. He looked around and saw a police car and van pulling up on the edge of the street. Uniform officers were getting out and coming towards him.
Sighing, T slowly began gathering his stuff.
‘Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be gone,’ T said as the first police person reached him.
‘It’s not about that,’ the man answered.
T paused and looked up. Rain was dripping off the policeman’s hat and shoulders of his jacket.
‘Do you have any ducks in there?’ the officer asked nodding to the box.
‘Yeah…’ T trailed as five more police people joined the first one.
‘I’m sorry, but we are going to have to remove them from you,’ the policeman said.
‘But why? I’ve done nothing wrong!’ T cried, ‘they were dumped and I’ve been looking after ’em. They is fancy birds, not wild ones. They’re my pets now.’
T reached defensively for the box and placed his head inside. He began stroking the ducks, who eagerly pushed against his hand.
‘There’s be concerns about their health. We have to take them,’ a female officer said.
‘I can look after ’em! I’ve been doing so for the last month,’ T declared, ‘you can’t take ’em there’re my friends.’
‘We have to. They don’t belong to you,’ a second policeman cut in, ‘just hand them over and won’t move you tonight.’
T shook his head, words failing him.
The female officer reached over and patted his arm. She guided T’s hand away from the ducks and before he could reach out again the first policeman had swooped in and picked up the box.
‘What will ya do with ’em?’ T shouted.
‘They will be fine. The RSPCA will look after them. Don’t worry. Why don’t I get you a cup of tea?’
‘Alright,’ T huffed as he watched the policeman hurrying away with his ducks.
The other officers began to disperses.
A sad hole sank into T’s chest that even the warmth of the tea couldn’t fix.