A small group sat on a bench by the door of Callahan’s General Store, waiting for it to open.
“We ought to just snatch one from Town Lake,” Captain James said.
Lori shook her head, “Look, the press is already on our side, we don’t need to add a crime to whatever publicity we get.”
Mother Nature added quickly, “But there definitely has to be some kind of consequence, right? Like when those Vietnam protesters out in Berkeley threatened to burn the puppies if no one listened, right?”
The bells on the door jangled and an employee poked her head out.
“Good morning, folks!”
Diana replied with a warm smile, “Can you show us where you keep your swans?”
A few days later on May 6, 1988, the officers from the newly-formed Street People’s Advisory Council met on the banks of Barton Creek in Central Austin, Texas. About a hundred supporters were there, along with representatives from most of the major press outlets.
A man was listing his grievances behind a microphone but the attention of the reporters kept being drawn towards the bird honking away inside a parakeet cage.
“...and these are our ten demands: First, a public meeting with the mayor...”
A journalist from the Statesman leaned over to Lori, “What happened to the swan?”
“We only had $17... Who knew swans cost so much? We had to improvise...”
As the speaker wrapped up, “Either these demands are met...“, another homeless man came swimming up from the creek. He removed a Bowie knife from his mouth and yelled out, “...or the goose gets it!”
Homer the goose didn’t “get it” though, this time or the next. And his perpetual reprieves soon made Homer one of the celebrity-faces of homeless advocacy across the nation and the world.