Today's post is for my friend D, who needs a little extra love today. So I dug thru my files and found this from a couple years ago. Its from when we had just gotten started in this farming thing. At the time we were at the old farm and had just a couple of chickens. It happened about this time of year – just as spring was trying to work its way thru the snow.
So, D – I'm sending you “hogs and kisses” and this. Because I know you love my west coast style...and I'm cool like that..
Midnight Time for Homicide
Honestly, I don't even ask “whats going to happen next” anymore. Everyday is an adventure and once again I have another chapter to report from the funny farm. I thought I'd call it “Shoot out at the O-Possum Coral” but I think everyone is tired of my Deadwood-esque style.
So something new...
Many of you may not know that there was a time before I listened exclusively to country music and praise and worship. But its true – I used to listen to rap music. The real rap music – not today's “Get rich or die tryin” kind of MTV rap.
Anyway - back in the day I'd roll into my software job with my mind on my money and my money on my mind in a Toyota Corolla wagon with my Fergie bow and my Melanie Griffith “Working Girl” glasses, head bobbing, reciting Ice-T's often over looked but no less epic drama "Midnight" about life on the mean streets of Compton... “I never cruise without a Gat in my lap... midnight time for a homicide...”
Oh how times have changed.
With a nod to T before he sold out and joined the "Law and Order" franchise, I'm retooling his lyrics, Johnsonville style, and am calling this one...
“10:15 time for a possum shoot”
Its true. Honestly I don't make these things up.
But first, a bit of background on country living...
Now out here in the country varmints are just part of the landscape. Many a mornings I've went outside to see my trusty dogs playing tug-o-war with whatever rascally varmint they could hunt down. This is followed quickly by a call to The Big Man at work demanding to know just what is he going to do about it? Inevitably a compromised is reached and he does not drop everything at work and drive the 45 minutes one way home but instead promises to handle it that evening. He drives in to find a number of upside down buckets around the yard marking various and sundry varmint parts for him to dispose of.
Even tho the dogs do a great job of keeping the property clear of wildlife, we were not entirely surprised when the nastiest and most vile of varmints was in the chicken house last Thursday night. At the first glimpse of its beady eyes and pointy nose I feared it was a skunk -- and you know how that can end. That's right, me, the dogs and a can of tomatoes. Instead we discovered that we had been invaded by that pink eyed devil, the possum.
The Big Man and I and the dogs huddled outside the chicken house there in the of dark night and reviewed our situation: possum in, chickens in, our beloved barn cat, Shiney, in...a bad combination seein' as how a possum can be dangerous to livestock and barncats and dogs. Someone had to go and that wretched possum got the short straw.
We strategized on how to take Possum. My ideas included tear gas, burning down the chickens house, and settin' the dogs on him. The Big Man opted to fight him clean, mano y mano... well more like varmint vs a 9mm.
I hurriedly scooped up our little Shiney (and btw, I know that I'm spelling his name wrong - its my option in naming the fur people...) and took him inside. Our little Shine reclined in luxury as I set him up in the basement, smirking his victory at finally making it into the house at the also incarcerated Shady (our one-eyed bad attitude pirate dog). The Big Man went in to arm himself.
Now before you Left Coasters start squawking about gun control and all that. Let me assure you that the NRA sticker on our Big Red truck is not just a highway road rage deterrent - its a statement. Out here you're mostly on your own and I tend to wax the slightest bit redneck on this issue. Where I come from, gun control means being able to reload one-handed and being able to hit your target as he is running away - and still making it look like a defensive shooting. But I digress...
The Big Man came out of the house armed and dangerous.
Familiar with live ammo by now, the dogs and I took cover. The Big Man steeled himself, cocked his weapon and just before he kicked in the chicken house door, Jack Bauer style, I'm pretty sure he cried “Possum, you and me are gonna two-step, and one of us aint a-comin' home from this dance!”
The shots rang out.
I think he shot that possum about 47 times. In Matrix-like slo-mo The Big Man emerged from the chicken house, silhouetted against the battle-smoke that billowed out of the door. The night was quiet.
“I got him.” He said.
The dogs and I looked at each other and shrugged. Okey dokey. And that was that. We went back to the house sure that the sheriff was going to show up to investigate the late night shooting. They didn't. Proving again that its basically the frontier out here and you need to fend for yourself.
The next morning The Big Man went off to work promising he'd get that carcass out of the chicken house when he got home.
“Thanks honey! Have a nice day!” And I went out to feed and water the poultry, faithful dogs following after me.
I opened the door and for the first time the chicken house was completely silent. Like a tomb. And then, the dank stench of possum putrescence enveloped everything.
“Chickens?” Silence. Light filtered into the barn, nothing moved. Shiney was still in the house, no other barncats were in there.. the stillness was deafening...
Anxious, I peered into the abyss, mind racing... what if something, lured by the scent of death, found the chickens instead?
I tried again calling, “Any bock bocks in there?”
Behind me the dogs brightened – noses busy sniffing the air. Ears up and tails high and wagging they trotted around the side of the chicken house seeking out the source of the stink.
Lucky turned to Titan, “Dontcha just love the smell of possum in the morning?”
“Sure do, smells like victory.” Titan said assuredly as they disappeared out of sight.
Alone and still in doorway I squinted in the darkness looking around. The silence crushing, the stink unbearable. I finally was able to see the chickens, all lined up on their roost looking at me, eyes wide, necks stretched tall in alarm.
Speaking for the company, Fred the Rooster shattered the silence:
“DON'T SHOOT!!!! THERE'S NO ONE HERE BUT US CHICKENS!!!”
Knowing I couldn't leave the chickens to sit in the nasty decay of varmintness all day I went to work gathering my courage - and tools - to rid the chicken house of Mr. Possum. Gloves, check. Longest handled shovel I could find, check; lots of hefty bags, check. Boldly I went in looking like one of those haz-mat guys on mission to remove a radioactive device.
Fearing the ghost-o-possum I had Titan come with me. He sat obediently as I searched for the carcass, moving the flotsam and jetsam and various knickknacks that are stored in a farm out-building.
There it was! Instinctively I jumped back. Eeek!! Indeed Mr. Possum had been laid low. Great googley-moogley! It was the size of a small collie. And yeah, The Big Man got him all right. He got him good.
Turning to me hopefully, Titan asked, “Can I play with it Momma?”
Titan flopped himself down, massive head resting on the floor between equally massive paws, eyebrows dancing as he watched me go about the grisly business of carcass removal. Finally double bagged and locked in a steel garbage can we set out Mr. Possum to cross the River Styx at the end of the lane, courtesy of the local garbage guys. Mercifully they took him. But I wondered if I would see him again in one of the town's taxidermy shops.
After several sessions with a post-traumatic stress expert the chickens eventually recovered and got back to the business of chickenin' around. Egg production is back to pre-possum levels and we've reached our goal cost-per-unit of roughly $18 per dozen. Yes, I have a spread sheet and its color coded. And no, no one ever said that the chickens would pay for themselves.
But darn those eggs are good.
Since the encounter, and now that I'm a farm gangsta with a notch on my belt for being part of the crew that whacked Possum, I've gone back to my rap roots and have been rhymin' to myself as I've been preparing for the growing season...
Queue – two turn tables and a microphone, please. And Spin Master Dogg E. Dogg and Bigg E Ti...drop that beat.
Boom ba-boom, boom ba-boom, wickiwickiwicki, boom boom pow..
Call me the Dirty Hoe
Working in the garden
Don't mess with my hens
Don't get rowdy with my rooster
I see you, fool, comin', possum
Gonna get a bruisin', possum
Pimped out John Deere
Got my beatin' stick
Aint got nothin' to fear
Rollin' with my dawgs
Ti is drivin' Lucky is ridin'
Looking for that possum
Listen to my 9 go bang
10:15...time for a possum shoot
Johnsonville.. yeah... yeah..
Listen to my 9 go bang
10:15 time for a possum shoot...