Mr. Lunch has an office off the park, filled with birdcages, but he is not in it very often. After all, Mr. Lunch is a diligent worker. He graduated top of class in ornithology at the City College. He hangs his shiny certificate on the wall, wipes his desk clean of any discourteous dust, pours himself a glass of water, adjusts his tie, and goes out into the park for a morning constitutional.

If asked, Mr. Lunch has no Mrs. Lunch! He will laugh heartily: "I am married to my work! Let us discuss the matter of settling our accounts!"

To be anything less than a man of pure professionalism would be insulting to his career. However, for whatever reason, there are really never many clients at Mr. Lunch's immaculate office. He is gone for long stretches, returning only with a single antique birdcage in which an alarmed avian squawks, or trills, or, on the rare parroted occasion, shrieks greetings.

The other occupants of the offices in the parkside office building do not like meeting Mr. Lunch in the hallways, birdcage or no. They do not ask, or want to know, where his stock in trade goes after it enters the office. The birds are not released through the single sparkling window of the room. The door closes on their noises.

Inside, Mr. Lunch sets the cage down on his desk. He sets himself down on the rolling chair behind. He lays out his kit before himself: he lifts the bird from the cage with firm, muscled hands.

And then his mouth spreads wide around his meal, his jaw unhinging to swallow, head-first, the struggling bird.

With a perfectly white napkin, Mr. Lunch wipes his lips clean of nonexistent fluff or mess. He takes it from his collar. Folds it. He sets the birdcage down atop the filing cabinet. He sets his hat on his head, and he locks the office behind himself when he goes.

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