Peter Orniphobe
Series Life with Lamarr
First appearance In which Breen Dyes
Appearances Book Three: Land Sakes
Book Four: The House of Longfigger

Peter Orniphobe is a tall, lean man who works as a painter and decorator. He is mild-mannered and shy, unless faced with his own personal 'nemesis', a pigeon to whom he refers as 'Baron von Tailfeathers'. When confronted with the Baron Peter tends to lash out in fear and rage, and his actions usually have some negative effect upon anyone in the vicinity - in particular, Doctor Breen.

Character HistoryEdit

The Orniphobes were a well-to-do family with a successful painting and decorating business just before the outbreak of the resonance cascade. An impressionable boy, Peter wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and was rather wary of his mother, who had a great interest in the occult. One day, chasing after a Tonka Trunk, young Peter bumped into his Mother's dressing table and upset a small bottle of nail-varnish.

His mother flew into one of her characteristic rages, and announced that Peter was surely the seed of Satan's loins, that she wished she'd never married Peter's father (an inoffensive man, fond of Real Ale and Pipe Tobacco) and proceeded to throw herself out of the window.

Despite his father's gentle explanations that his mother had been a "frigging fruitcake" Peter felt responsible and although his mother hadn't specifically cursed the menfolk of the family, Peter was sure she would have done had she thought of it at the time.

Shortly after, his father announced over tea that in the garden that afternoon a pigeon had "looked at him funny". This pronouncement, on top of his mother's death, the guilt that brought, and the fact that the Combine Invasion of Earth had started that morning and at the very moment headcrabs were devouring his pet Guinea Pig 'Comrade Snuggles' had a lasting effect on Peter's emotional state.

Soon after the Combine took control, Doctor Breen - in one of his rare positive and popular decrees - announced henceforth pipe tobacco and Real Ale were banned for being subversive. In the last hour before the ban took effect, Peter's father consumed six pounds of pipe tobacco and a hogshead of Real Ale which, combined, lead to his premature death.

Sadly, Peter took up his father's paintbrush and became the new proprietor of 'Orniphobe's Painters & Decorators'. As he was now the only man following this profession in City 17, there was a lot of work and it was rather hard to catch up.

Peter now began to believe he was being watched at all times by a pigeon, which he named 'Baron von Tailfeathers', decided it had been summoned by his mother's curse and imbuing the bird with all the responsibility for the collapse of his family and his life in general. Becoming highly upset and aggressive whenever the bird showed itself, Peter lost the few friends he had left and became a rather sad and lonely figure in City 17, gloomily painting whatever he was commissioned to paint and living quietly with the exception of the occasional outburst at the sight of the Baron. Despite Peter's multiple reports of the danger the Baron posed to public safety the CP's did not take action against either the Baron, or surprisingly, Peter himself.

Book Three: Land SakesEdit

Fonzie <(This Wiki needs work, get to it you rapscallions!) (Yes sir!)> Cunningham

Book Four: The House of LongfiggerEdit

Fonzie <(This Wiki needs work, get to it you rapscallions!) (Yes sir!)> Cunningham


  • Although I knew well in advance that Breen would be recoloured by falling wood dye, exactly why the wood dye fell was a puzzle that I still hadn't thought of a good reason for until actually posing the scene for the comic. Still unable to think of a good reason for the dye to fall, I sort of turned tables on this poser by coming up with a very silly reason for it to do so, and gave myself two new characters and another story thread to throw into the mix on the spot.

The idea of the evil Pigeon didn't come from nowhere, however. When living in Cromer, Norfolk circa 1998, I rented a flat that was on the third floor. The kitchen window looked out over the back, and one day I noticed this pigeon, just sitting there... looking at me. Having noticed it the first time, I then noticed it almost every time I looked out of the kitchen window. It was always there, just looking back at me, google-eyed, putting its head on one side and going 'Coo'.

Like the Baron, there was no real clue if this was always the same pigeon or many pigeons. But, ridiculously, it was slightly unnerving!

-Co Fiori-McPhee