The bird was lying on the patio, opening and closing its beak quickly but silently, like a child screaming. "Can you take care of this?" my wife asked as she whisked the child upstairs.
"Why are we going upstairs, Mama?"
"Because... because you need to get dressed."
"Because it's time to get dressed."
And up they went.
A few years ago I wrote about some time I spent on a German farm with a chick I'd met in Iceland. I drove a tractor, watered cows and caught chickens to then kill them. But this wasn't the same. It was only a fucking blackbird (like we have a shortage of them) and the Puppy isn't even really attached, but that's what I was dealing with, and it was injured beyond repair, and I was going to have to dispatch it.
Oddly enough, I first started looking for one of my Chinese cleavers, then caught myself.
Remembering something, I went outside and grabbed the garden gloves. I picked up the bird and saw how it started breathing faster, unable to move. Fuck, this sucks.
I looked for any signs it might be able to recover because it'd really suck for the Puppy if there's no more blackbird family here.
Nada. Breathing was laboured, no movement in the feet was voluntary, the beak motions couldn't produce even a hint of sound.
I thought about grabbing the head and flicking, something I'd seen done before. But the violence of that and the limited efficacy had me remember nother method I learned in Iceland: pressing the heart to make it stop.
It's quick and you don't have to press hard enough to break the ribs. You do have to look at the animal as you're killing it, though. And that sucked. And I saw the last breath (it was deep) and I saw how the eyes half-closed as it died.
And I don't really get it since I've killed animals for food before. Maybe it's because it wasn't for food. But it die quickly rather than slowly and painfully. Fuck, there's something wrong here.
After I'd done the deed, I placed the thing behind the compost bins for whichever neighbourhood cat would be the victor, then took off the gloves and announced an all clear. Out of sight, out of mind, thoughts turned to other distractions.
Except mine. I've been thinking about this all day.
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