Still jittery from what just happened and experiencing ambivalence with a capital A. Warning to readers:(especially PETA empathizers and Buddhists) in the telling, there’s bloodshed involved so click away from this site if you feel your karma will be compromised.( I’m feeling that mine might have been.)
An hour or so ago, I was at the ironing board, pressing a new apron prototype, when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dark profile of an animal heading towards the back of the house. I rushed into the bedroom where Andrew was reading and shouted “Andrew. Animal, fisher or raccoon, heading around the back”. He bounded out of bed and hovered by the window and said “I see it. It’s heading down towards the pond”. Well, it seemed like that was the end of that. No further conversation. We each resumed our activities. Ten or fifteen minutes later, Andrew dashed through the room, heading for the back door, and grabbing for a flashlight while he struggles with his boots, he says “I heard something, something in the back”. I immediately don my boots and head out through the front door, thinking that whatever he heard will be spooked by his presence and come back around the front, to be spooked by me. He’s heading towards the chicken coop. I make a cursory surveillance, and, finding nothing, head towards the chicken coop to join Andrew. There we are, with a flashlight. Andrew articulates his hunch: “I heard something coming from the chicken coop..I heard the chickens”. There we are, at the door to the chicken coop. I say “I’m going in”. He says ” No, we need a brighter torch.” (He’s English). Me: “Goddamn it. F__K the torch. I’ll use the light in the henhouse”! We open the door to the henhouse and scan the place with the feeble flashlight. Nothing seems amiss until eagle-eyed Andrew notices something. Andrew: ” What’s that? I see fur…there, up there, above the doorway”. Me: “What????? Show me”. (he shows me) I freak out. Me: “I’m going in”, as I grab a four foot long wooden spike. Andrew: “No. Don’t be an ass….we need a better torch”. Me: “F__K that, I’m going in”. I do and behold what is clearly a raccoon, that has chewed its way in through the hardware cloth and is now comfortably ensconced on a 2″ x 4″ between a pair of studs, enjoying the warmth, looking adorable, and just biding its time for the right moment to kill chickens, ducks and turkeys. I jab at it with the long, sturdy, 2″ x 2″ spike. It shrieks and grabs hold of the weapon that I’m attacking it with. I’m shocked by its strength. I’m pumped up on adrenaline and thinking that I can dislodge it from its newly found comfort zone and send it on its way. Not a chance. Not gonna happen. This creature is fierce. Shockingly fierce. Andrew has, almost without my noticing, gone off and returned with a blazingly bright light. He takes over and thrusts a wooden spike into its throat. The creature screams and screams but doesn’t give up the fight. This is awful. I’m shaking and nearly in tears but the adreneline seems to keep me in the moment. Andrew is a powerful ,man…5’11”,190 lbs, and incredibly strong and fit. He himself is shocked by the power of this predatory creature. He says “Get the gun”. Me: “Okay, where is it?”….I’m running towards the house, I hear him directing me. His voice becomes fainter and fainter, I just need to get the gun…..I’m overwhelmed. I find the gun, handle it with care and fear, as I run and pass it to Andrew. After some struggle, with the raccoon, seemingly, knowingly, pushing its powerful arms against the barrel of the gun, Andrew fires and kills it.We’re splattered with blood.
We shove it out the door of the chicken coop. The chickens and ducks and turkeys have gone mad during this episode and, once the evil deed is done, they seem to settle back onto their perches.
Andrew goes back to his reading. I serve myself a glass of wine and post this incident. Confused, sad….in some ways. Glad and satisfied, in other ways. Our flock is intact and safe.