Mr. Green picked up the bird gently. ‘How are you today, my dear?’ he asked. He looked at her black and white face. Usually, her eyes were bright, and she held her head high. Today, her eyes were dull and her head rested against his hand. The bird’s name was Sally, his favourite. She didn’t always win races, but she always came back home. Last year, in a race in Scotland, a snowstorm killed many of the birds; and in the end, only four returned. Sally was one of them. Mr. Green looked away. From the top of his building, there was a good view of the city’s streets, but there was no one on them. He turned to the vet beside him.
‘Soon, all my birds are going to die. Then I’ll have nothing,’ Mr. Green said.
The vet stood with his back to the other sick birds. A strong wind pulled at his clothes and hair. He felt sad: Mr. Green was an old man with no wife or children, and he loved his birds.
‘I can bring medicine for them,’ he said. ‘Do you want me to do that?’
‘Of course I do,’ said Mr. Green angrily.
The vet nodded. ‘It’s expensive.’
‘Don’t worry about the price. I can pay,’ said Mr. Green, but he didn’t look at the vet’s face.
The vet said nothing. He knew Mr. Green was lying.