Malcolm's coo became a cry.
The child peeked into the cardboard box, vexation clearly etched etched upon his face. "What's the matter, little bird?" he asked, reaching down to stroke the wounded pigeon. His mother had warned him to stay away, that sometimes birds would bite and a wild bird like Malcolm could carry diseases. He didn't care. He wanted to stroke his back feathers, far enough back that the bird's beak couldn't reach his pudgey fingers... just in case.
"David! Stay away from that bird!" his mother called.
The boy yanked his finger back just as the pigeon lunged for the pink flesh, just out of reach. Instead, David ran to his room and pulled out one of his old baby toys, a ratty purple bear with plastic hands and feet with little bumps on them. He put it into the box with Malcolm and watched joyfully as the bird pecked away.
"I thought you'd like that," said the boy. "Mommy said that when I was little, I liked to chew on things too." He smiled. "You can have it."
The shiny button eyes of the bird glinted slightly as it pecked away happily at the unresponsive