Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Granny Get Your Gun
Davey (his grandchildren call him Granny) was really irritated when I told him how the roosters broke through the door and mangled the hens.
He said he would cull a bunch of them, but he didn't do anything until a few days later when the rooster Ruby came out of the dog-wood bushes and attacked his ankle bone.
So then Davey got seriously pissed and went to the house for the Winchester .22.
The Winchester had belonged to an old trapper who had carried it to deal with undead critters in his traps and gave it as payment of a debt to Davey's grandfather. It is the little pump model which used to be common in shooting galleries because it held so many shots, though pump rifles are not so accurate. Not that shooting- gallery owners wanted accurate rifles. It was also the rifle Annie Oakley used to break clay pigeons in about the first movie footage made by Edison. Maybe she used mini shot rather than bullets in the load. Anyway, even if Davey was Annie Oakley, that rifle would not so great a weapon choice for shooting a dodging rooster in the head.
But Davey came out of the house with the little Annie Winchester, told me to take the dogs inside, and went back down after Ruby.
Ruby ( who has markings like a permanent blood-splattered bib) is one of the half dozen birds smart enough to leave the chicken house back when the coon, or whatever it was got in there twice in three nights.
Most of them stayed outside after that, but Ruby went back to the chicken house when the hens were refusing to come out in the cold. He tends to rush them at the door, he pulls out the feathers, and latches onto combs, but scaring Davey might have been the bigger mistake.
I heard six shots from the .22 , about as loud as horse chestnuts dropping on his tin roof.
Then Davey came back up the path. He said "Shit "to me as he came in to exchange the .22 for the sixteen gauge Fox shot gun.
When he was back down at the chicken house he fired six more times in maybe three minutes. Each shot, as compared to the nut dropping report of the .22, was as loud as a telephone pole as it snapping.
With the first shot, the roosters and the hens inside all squawlled, as if one of the broken telephone poles had fallen on the chicken house and set it on fire.
Afterward, Davey walked the gun back up and the chickens were still squawling and the dogs barking, so Davey went for a walk, and took the dogs, partly so they wouldn't see were I put the dead roosters, which, shot from fairly close range with antique ammunition from before it was outlawed, were full of lead pellets.
When I came down and piled the ruined roosters on the plastic sled, all the roosters were still back in the brush, except for Ruby.
Davey had missed Ruby's head with every shot except for one, which took a nick out of his upper beak so he looks still more like a bloody warrior. . He stood a few yards away and watched when I buried the dead in the path of the bamboo.
Maybe he has an understanding of mortality now. Or maybe he has an illusion about being bullet-proof.
Maybe the other roosters were impressed by Davey's immoderate demonstration of power and mortality, but the best thing I could do for this place is stick another three or four roosters in the Ark and haul out of here for a little outward bound experience, or maybe even for a foreign war. Before the rioting and the shooting starts again right here at Dog's Plot.
I dreamed that a woman in blue jeans came up the driveway carrying a hand basket with something wrapped up in it, like it was a loaf of hot bread. Maybe it was a coyote skin.
That night while Davey was sleeping like a baby and I was sitting on top of the Ark with a smoke, I saw a coyote, jump out the window of Davey's loft. It licked itself all over quick, then trotted down to the chicken house.
Right there in that dream, I pulled the Ark out the driveway and down the road on its runners.
With wheels, I actually could go down the road. I'm just looking for the right pair of wheels.