Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Happens Behind the Shed

I've known it for a few days - she's gotta go.  Matilda2 is sick.  Her poop is gooping up, hardening, and backing up.  Her hips seem to have given out.  She can't walk.  I mentioned it to Jeremy and he said he would do the deed, take her our, wack her.  Matilda2 is a chicken, by the way.  (Yes, there was a Matilda1, she is no longer with us; her blood is not on our hands but on Einstein's paws, jowls, teeth....)

So I wake up this morning, dole our breakfast for the kiddies and head to the backyard to check the chicks.  Matilda2 is down, literally - lethargic, listless -  if one can describe a chicken thusly.  Jeremy has already left for work.  Without thinking about it too much I go back inside, grab a (very expensive Wusthof) knife and a garbage bag and take them behind the garage, where the kids can't see me.  I put Matilda2 on the table of the potting bench thing  - she barely moves.  I try the big dramatic one-hack-to-end-all-hacks move, and it fails.  I've cut her and she squawks that horrible hurt animal sound but is still very much of this world so I put the knife down on her neck, put the other hand on top of the knife, and press.  The head is severed, blood squirts, the body flops off the table onto the ground, jumps around a little, and then lays still.  Matilda2 shuffles off this mortal coil.

I return to the kitchen, wash the bejezus out of my hands, sanatize, wash again, consider spraying with bleach, do not, and get myself and the kids dressed.

I've been shaking ever since.  It was horrible.  The adrennelin carried me for awhile but now I feel tired and sick to my stoumach.  Why do I do this kind of stuff?  Not the chicken killing so much as the not admitting to myself at the time that even though this is somtehing I *can* do it doesn't mean it is something I should do, have to do, need to expect or require of myself.  I (as always) blame my upbringing - the combination of British stiff upper lip (thanks mom) and Jewish "you don't know suffering until everyone you love has been killed in a concentration camp but you survived only to teach your offspring to deflect all emotion with sarcasm" (dad) combo creates a person who is seriously adverse to admitting that things actually upset her.

The killing behind the shed this morning has left me thinking about this time at band camp in Liberia where we got stopped at a "checkpoint" armed by little boys with big guns who were holding up a rope of human intestins to stop traffic.  It was one of the most upsetting things I have ever been privy to and I don't think I have ever told anyone about it while relaying more than just the facts of the exchange and glossing over things I actually felt, or feel.

The moral of this post is:  (choose any or all that apply to you)
1.  Don't get chickens
2.  Don't kill the chickens you get
3.  Admit you are a person who gets upset and hurt and scared and sad before 7 years have passed from said upsetting/hurtful/scary/sad incident.
4.  Don't feed your kids breakfast

There are pictures  of my Time Behind the Shed, but I am assuming no one wants to see that and that I have already lost all my vegetarian readership (bye Karen D!:)


Amelia said...

I might be traumatized with/for you!! That sounds awful!! I guess way to have the guts to even try? Because I would not. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Yikes and Yuck!! I think I'll go with moral points #2 and #3.

Ann Wyse said...

I've been thinking about this for two days - and, you know, it's a pretty provocative post.

At first, I thought: yuck, too. I could never do it - I feel sick just reading about it. But I feel this reaction is almost unfair considering what you experienced and were brave enough to write about.

And then I thought the other things you mentioned: about the chicken, the pain it was in. I thought about pride - and do we really have to always leave such stuff for our husbands to do? Can't we do it, too? Should we do that (ie, leave *them* these tasks)? What kind of outcome is that? I thought about it as objectively as I could... and it was/is easier to 'take' if I think about it documentary style.

But I don't know. I think the important thing is that we *do* think about these things, and we do *feel* these things - and that they are *more* than documentaries.

Clearly, sharing this with us makes your experience MORE.

So, thank you. And I'm hoping for you: as little traumatization as possible.

And can I make a suggestion? An ax. (Although I probably wouldn't have thought of an ax either. Ah, hindsight!)