The vast majority of these cases are based on true events… The short story ‘Pigeon Hearted’ was first published in magazine format in 2009: here is a very brief excerpt:
“I’d just witnessed the first cracks in a breaking heart.”
Fireworks in daytime are not particularly spectacular, but that doesn’t deter my Spanish compatriots from setting them off. The clear blue sky was momentarily sprayed with silver and red stars as the single rocket exploded above the town square. Minutes afterwards, a profusion of colours darted above our heads, but this display wasn’t the transient starburst of more pyrotechnics. The palette that soared in the sky came from garishly painted pigeons released from patios, balconies, rooftops, and gardens. In the next few minutes, the number of male birds increased to perhaps seventy.
“My prize bird has been stolen!” a man shouted from a balcony on the opposite side of the street. He gestured at us and added, “Pilar, tell your brother I need his help!”
Pilar leaned on her balcony’s metal railing and waved acknowledgement. “That’s Lorenzo Sousa, last year’s champion,” she said. “It seems a bit drastic, to steal his prize-winning pigeon, don’t you think?”
Resting my forearms on the rail next to her, I smiled. “All part of the competitive spirit, I imagine.”
This pigeon business, organised by the Federacion Española de Columbicultura, was highly popular. There were competitions at various levels: the comarcal, the inter-comarca, the regional and comunitat, and eventually on to the Spanish championships, where the winner could come away with a prize of €30,000.
Pigeons are big money, here in Spain and elsewhere. From time to time news reports echo the Cazador tales, and this is but one of them. In Burnley, England, arsonists destroyed a pigeon fancier’s loft, killing 100 of his best racing birds worth thousands of pounds. In Cartagena, Spain, a man was arrested for stealing 210 pigeons in the area. From such reports stemmed this tale, part humour, part romance, part crime… To learn how Leon Cazador gets involved, please read the book…
Image courtesy of Derek Workman – See his website ‘Spain uncovered’ - http://derekworkman.wordpress.com/spainuncovered.net/
[Derek moved to Spain in 1999; ex Merchant Navy, antiques restorer, muralist, exhibition organizer, and audio magazine producer, he settled in Valencia city and worked on regional and international newspapers and is a freelance writer. He has written two guide books – Inland Trips from the Costa Blanca and Small Hotels and Inns of Eastern Spain.]
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