[Editor’s Note: I had fully intended to post this before I left for Texas, yet and alas, I forgot. My further intentions would be to write, and post a follow-up. Good luck to us all on that one.]
So. I was over to Katy’s place at Fascist Dyke Motors making a response to one of her postings, and as my ADD was in full winter bloom, my eyes wandered out the window and fixed upon the sight of my small, brown puppy. The Squirt was in full huntress mode—neck bowed, chest out, eyes steely and Devil’s grin plastered to her face—watching a mouse squiggle a red slinky upon the three-day old snow.
OK, for an early interruption, why isn’t it “…the three-days old snow,”? Word informs me it is “three-day old” snow even though the snow has lay grounded for three consecutive days and not lay a day, go away then lay again for a day, leave and come back. OK, and why not three-day olds, likes spoon-fulls?
The little mousie has lived the summer and autumn somewhere in my, or the neighbor’s back yard, and has lived off my garden and compost patch. Since most of the garden was ruined by a spring hail, I’m assuming it was the food scraps I compost that supplied most of his rodent daily required nutritional values. I, once and again, assume that he was getting his full and complete daily needs as he was a plump little shit with keen senses and quick feet.
“OK, Mooner, I’ll block his route to the shed and you scare him to me,” Squirt told me last month after she’d spent the better part of a day keeping the mouse trapped inside our garden enclosure. She alternated all summer between chasing the mouse and catching the giant green grasshoppers our wet summer brought.
“No, dumbass, use a stick to prod him,” she admonished when I opened the gate to step inside the enclosure, “He’ll get around your slow ass, so use a fucking stick!”
I poked and prodded at the mouse and finally got him to bolt. He jumped through a gap in the wire and did a perfect head-and-shoulder fake leaving the Squirt snarling and bitching at his shadow.
“Dammit, Mooner, you chased him to my left side. You know my right side is my faster.”
“He’s a right quick little shitbird, my chick-a-dee. No shame in losing him again. You’ll get him one day.”
My adorable mix of Chihuahua and miniature Dachshund must have captured, tortured, viewed with pride and then consumed a hundred or more grasshoppers as practice for catching this small rodent. While I missed the chase, capture and initial tortures, I made first sighting as she sat like Snoopy waiting for Charlie Brown to load the feed bowl. As the mouse made pathetic efforts to run away with a severely mangled back leg, the red loops were growing smaller—just as a Slinky does when stretched to length.
I typed a few words of description of this event as a comment to Katy, then watched the rest of the death play. Mercifully, Act3 came quickly as the Squirt picked the mouse up by its head and pranced to the back door. I heard her bark, repeatedly, and ignored her, repeatedly. She came to stand outside the office window, barked. I ignored her there.
“Hey shithead!” I heard, muffled. “I’ve got a present for you.”
With that she sat like a bunny on her back haunches and held the bloodied mouse aloft. The she set it down to Slinky circle again, nudged it with her nose, picked it up and slung it across the snow. It slid, then banged to a stop against the rock wall. I banged on the window and hollered. “Don’t play with it like that. Either eat it or put it in the garden to compost. I won’t have you waste it, and it is NOT coming inside.”
That’s when I deja-vued my childhood, the memory hitting me like a brick. I was sitting at Thanksgiving dinner between Aunt Hilda and Mother, not my usual spot. I sat here because the buttered Brussels sprouts I didn’t eat Tuesday were still sitting on my plate Thursday afternoon. As the lone occupant of my holiday dinner plate, the small, now brown cabbage halves were getting worn thin from my moving them around with my fork.
“Stop playing with your food and eat it, you disruptive little shit. You’ll not get another morsel until all those greens are eaten!”
My mother’s voice was seething with anger, hissed through half-clenched teeth. I’d endured a second whipping at breakfast for refusing to eat the now cardboard-like vegetables. I was then threatened with a third.
OK, that was waaaay off point, and likely my ADD-addled brain’s method of dealing with the simple fact that I’m headed to Texas for T-givers. It’s been awhile since I saw my maternal unit and I’ve those mixed emotions one has at these holiday memory moments, still comment way off subject.
What I meant to ask is this. Why do other animals play with their captured food and we humans scold for same? Mother lions and cats and dogs teach their kids to play with their captured prey yet we punish ours for pushing a few green things around a plate with their forks. I get that we humans don’t capture our vittles any longer as all our food has long been products of systematic incarcerations. But why must our kids eat everything we want them to?
My guess is that should we still be chasing our breakfast, we’d be a thinner population by miles. Hard to be 5’8” and 300 pounds after hunting pigs all day.
Anyway, may you all enjoy this best holiday and fuck Walmart for some added joy.