Posted 08-13-2003 at 00:54:25
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...taken to sleeping on the couch. She and her sister share a bed and she claims Jenny kicks and squirms all night. Sometime around two a.m. she comes into my room.
"Bwah bwah bwah, bwabwabwabwa!"
To me she sounded just like that teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons on t v. Then there's this screeching noise in the background like someone dragging their fingernails over a chalk board. Slowly, like I'm resurfacing after being underwater I hear...
"Bwah bwah piglet! Bwabwabwa do with it?!"
Then I can hear it. She's standing there holding the piglet that I stitched up earlier that evening. The banamine pain killer wore off and it's awake, and it's hungry, and it's painfully vocal about it.
"What can I do with this piglet? It won't shut up!! I can't sleep!!"
Well, neither can I, now.
I ran through all my options. Lock it in the bathroom. No, the bathroom works like a megaphone, all putting it in there will do, is amplify the sound and send it all around the house. Give it more banamine. No, that will only delay the inevitable. By now the squealing is ear splitting and I had a wild urge to hold it underwater until the bubbles stopped coming out of it. No, that would be counter productive after all the work I'd put into stitching it up.
"Take it out there and put it with it's momma."
"You heard me. That's the only thing to do, it's hungry."
She's a smart girl, she knew I was right, but she agreed so readily that I got suspicious that my gut reaction was not a good idea. I heard her go through the house, and heard the squealing increase when she put it down in order to put on her rubber boots. Then I heard the front door open.
I came through the house in nothing but a t shirt and drawers.
"I wanna go with you."
"I'm not sure." I wasn't either, I just felt the need to go with her. I slipped on my rubber boots.
"Nice look." She said giggling.
"Shut up and go."
I grabbed the spotlight and out the door we went, the piglet still screaming. I really wanted to kill it. That's the one thing about piglets I can't stand. Their propensity for screaming bloody murder over the slightest little thing. We went around the corner of the house, headed toward the back pasture.
"Wow, it's really bright out here." Jill said.
"Yeah, the moon is full, in a few more days we'll be able to see Mars."
"You know, remember I told you that Mars is going to be visible?"
We're walking along, talking, everything was fine. We neared the gate that led out to the back pasture. The sow had built her nest about ten yards northeast of the gate so I told Jill to try and shush the piglet.
"I don't know! Put you hand over it's mouth."
"You put YOUR hand over it's mouth. It bites!"
By then we were through the gate and that's when I heard it. The sow had heard her baby screaming and was on her feet, grunting and barking and headed for us at a dead run. Oh crap! I had no idea she would not only react, but move that fast! She sounded for all the world like a John Deere tractor going uphill full blast in fifth gear.
"Shi*!" Jill exclaimed. "What do we do?!"
"Dammed if I know!" At the moment we were just trying to stay ahead of her, and I was shining the light in her eyes trying to confuse her. She ran back and forth from one of us to the other until she pinpointed the origin of the baby's cries, then she headed right at Jill, light be dammed.
"Throw it Jill!"
She tossed the piglet to her right, where it landed in some soft grass on the outskirts of the nest, and then snuck around behind me, using me as a shield. The ploy worked for a second or two, mom followed the piglet and sniffed it, and then as if she just wanted to be nasty for being woke up in the middle of the night, which I could relate to, she turned on us again, effectively blocking us from escape.
I never felt so vulnerable in my life. Armed with nothing but a spotlight, barelegged in the dark and facing four hundred and fifty pounds of pizzed off pork.
When she came at us there was no hesitation in her, I had a two million candle power spotlight burning full blast into her eyes and it never even slowed her down. I did the only thing I could think to do. I hauled off and planted my right foot under her chin for all I was worth. Her head jerked up violently and she stopped dead in her tracks.
"C'mon!" I yelled at her. "There's more where that came from!"
It was a classic confrontation, two mothers, both protecting their babies. The difference was, hers was no longer under any threat, mine was, and I would kick her to death before I let her at Jill. If all else failed I would use the spotlight on her. It is heavy and cumbersome and would make a formidable weapon but probably wouldn't be worth much afterwards.
She shook her head and backed up a few paces and then turned back to her baby, giving us a chance to scoot around her and make for the gate which we passed though and then stood clutching each other on the other side.
"I can't believe how fast she is this soon after having her babies!" Jill said.
I locked the gate with shaky fingers. I had expected to be able to walk right up to the nest before she had a chance to react, using surprise and speed to get the deed done, but she fooled me. Otherwise we would have just stuck the baby inside the gate and left it at that. I knew we should be on our toes, but hadn't expected anything like what had just happened.
"Now do you see why I wanted to come with you?" I asked her.
"Yeah. By the way, sorry about the bad word."
I had to think back.
"Oh well, under the circumstances I guess we can let it pass."
Teenagers adjust well to trauma I guess, she's already gone back to sleep but I am still sitting here thanking my lucky stars that I had the good sense not to let her go out there by herself, or at least to instruct her to just put the piglet inside the gate, but I hadn't been awake enough to think that far ahead and instinct prompted me to just go with her instead of thinking it through. The lesson was a good one for the both of us.