So it was a raccoon that killed Lakshmi.
I know this because the beast came back last night and slaughtered Saoirse. And how do I know it was a raccoon? First of all, are you sure you want to know how I know? Because I can tell you right now, but you might not like the answer.
Ok, then. Since you asked: because raccoons only eat the head. Previously — based primarily on the absence of a corpse — I’d more or less concluded that the culprit was a fox. I’ve seen them prowling the neighborhood now and again, late at night (the Boxhound always growls, then whimpers and slinks away). I’m also aware that when foxes strike, they do tend to just grab the bird and go — leaving, perhaps, a few feathers behind. Did you ever read Fantastic Mr. Fox? It’s a lot like that.
So…reinforcing the fence? Potentially useful in the war against foxes. Unfortunately, we are not fighting a war against foxes. We are fighting a war against raccoons, and raccoons are tricky little f*ckers.
They can climb. They can dig. They can open doors. They can undo latches. They can slip their creepy little paws into cages, coops, hutches, and enclosures of any size and configuration in order to mangle the f*ck out of any living creature they find. They can scratch. They can bite — boy, can they can ever. Also, they are generous with their rabies.
We are so f*cked, all of us. None more so than Saoirse, whom I found lying a short distance from the enclosure, well and truly decapitated. For a moment, I totally understood all the cop shows I’ve ever seen, where the rookie catches sight of the victim and pukes all over his new uniform. Nausea quickly gave way to Grief, which is still hanging around but also invited its well-meaning but unhelpful friends, Guilt (which keeps reminding me that I could have, should have done something, somehow to prevent this from happening) and Fury (which keeps coming up with crazier and more extreme solutions to the raccoon problem, starting with “Oh, just buy a gun and sit outside until the little bastard comes back” and “bury landmines at the perimeter of the fence!” and even “Hmmm…is there a way you can booby-trap the duck itself — like, make it into some kind of poultry grenade so that when the racooon bites its head off, it’ll be blown to smithereens?)
Fury, obviously, is completely mental and should not be listened to. Guilt is not rational, because fixing this situation would require time-travel; I know this, but I’ll still keep mentally fiddling with the probabilities. And Grief, though the quietest of the trio, is also kind of irritating with all its moping around and its weighty sighs and its tendency to burst into tears that last as long as summer thunderstorms.
I understand that wild animals have to eat, that they are programmed to seek out prey, and that they will go to extreme lengths to obtain it.
But raccoons are just so f*cking wasteful, is the thing. Why eat ONLY the head? Why not devour the entire animal? ALL of a duck is delicious, is it not?
Really, nibbling at it just seems spiteful — like the @$$hole sibling who piece-by-piece plucks all the toppings off every pizza slice, or else licks the last cookie on the plate so that no one else can enjoy it. Or perhaps raccoons are like sushi bar customers: their tiny plate of nigiri is actually the end product of, like, an entire commercial boatload of fish — most of which probably ended up getting discarded.
Anyway, at some point, I’ve got to go dig a duck grave. If anyone were to ask me what I do outside of work, I would be compelled to say, truthfully, “digging holes while crying.”
The hardest part is that — in absolute terms — this isn’t even as bad as it could be. Among other events, a friend of mine just experienced a death in the family, which is the worst thing (I can’t give details, because it’s not my tragedy) and yet another reason I don’t think I care much for this world at present, which steals pets and loved ones for no reason at all — good, bad, or otherwise.
I could contemplate this, but I think instead I’m just going to let the carp pile up while I wait for that one additional thing that sucks so bad it pushes me right over the edge. Right now, my money is on the Supreme Court, but who knows? The day is comparatively young.