Evil is as Evil Does
By Kim Johnson
They say food is scarce as a hen’s tooth going into winter for wild animals. That certainly spelled true for the raccoon that had visited my hen house three nights in a row looking for an easy meal. A common misconception among people is to view the raccoon as a cute, furry, “masked bandit” that is clever with latches. A more accurate description would be “serial killer of chickens” or “spawn of Satan.” What other animal could look you in eye as it calmly disemboweled the family hen?
Our masked bit of evil began poking around the hen house late in the fall. I affectionately named him Ted Bundy. Several nights I came out too late only to find Ted dining on my birds. I resolved to remove him from the earth and considered my options.
My husband, in a great display of romanticism, had given me a semi- automatic rifle for mother’s day. He had excitedly showed me how to use it, indicating several times the safety feature, suggesting it be constantly engaged due to my short attention span and inability to follow directions. It would come in handy on the farm, he said. This seemed the exact type of handiness that I needed.
I observed the raccoon for several nights. Through a display of immense acrobatics he was squeezing himself though a tiny hole in the fence and accessing the “hen door,” a small cut-out the chickens use to come and go.
Once inside the hen house it was easy pickings for him as chickens, essentially defenseless animals are night-blind after dusk.
I discussed strategy with my husband. We agreed that I would sit inside the hen house with my rifle and wait for the raccoon to come in the hen door.
When he appeared I would simply wound him fatally with my mother’s day gift. My husband indicated several times that I should keep the safety engaged until I was ready. I shouldered my weapon and traipsed off to the hen house fifteen minutes before dusk.
I settled myself on the floor and waited. The chickens eventually made their way in to roost and their contented noises coupled with the late evening whine of bugs and birds was like a warm cup of Trader Joe’s sleepy time tea. My head nodded several times.
The peacefulness vanished immediately when Ted Bundy showed his bright eyes and moist nose in the doorway. He tentatively sniffed the air. I wondered if he would be afraid of me and not venture in. I knew raccoons to be bold denizens of the animal kingdom and rarely show fear. Perhaps he would be afraid of my mother’s day gift. I foolishly released that thought as it seemed unlikely he shopped at “Sportsman’s Warehouse” or knew what a gun was.
I shouldered my gift and took aim, happy to be ridding myself of this minion of evil. I pulled the trigger and realized the safety mechanism was still on. Although Ted Bundy didn’t seem to be afraid of my gun he did respond to the string of profanities that now hovered between us.
He took two steps out of my view. I panicked thinking I had missed my opportunity. I released the safety. Ted Bundy appeared in the door way again and I unloaded the full complement of my semi automatic rifle. I lost count of the shots and sat breathing the acrid smell of gunpowder.
Ted Bundy poked his head back though the door unscathed and unworried to gaze quizzically at me. If this animal had a thought bubble, it would have read, “What the hell?”
My husband wandered out to inspect the damage. After a few minutes of C.S.I type measurements and calculations he determined that I had shot everything that was not the raccoon. He tried to cheer me up, suggesting that the holes in the hen house might serve as extra ventilation. I sighed, Ted Bundy would be back.