My freezer box has a mouse, a sandwich made between half a grain and half a pie. A hard frozen shrew with a mischievous sharp nose that hunts insects while alive. A few days ago I almost stepped on him. My legs on the grass that had not been cut for a long time. Late summer fatigue. Too lazy to pull weeds, too indecisive to go out. Shortly before the royal hunting party, I thought of going to Head Lou. Closed for more than two months, again without financial restrictions for his majesty. Newspapers abounded in them; Stender Issued a statement about activists putting up anti-closure leaflets. The paste action degenerated into a ‘cat and mouse game’ between rangers and leaflet stickers. Mountaineers became disastrous tourists.
So I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right. Well, there was some deferred maintenance and the bouncing deer was missing. But there were snails and garden spiders, and horned hedgehogs collided with each other under the hydrangea. Across the street was Tom Willem in orange. Lord and Master of the Neighborhood. 365 days a year he considered my garden his field.
What I did not anticipate was the hunting scene. Most of the time, Tomgate only uses the yard as a trash can. If he hits a mouse, it hits at once. Willem is a skilled assassin. Except now. Carion flies had already found the shrew, with an orange-black beetle in its stomach, sitting in a grave. But he was still alive. He rolled to his side in an attempt to stop his attackers. I stood there and did nothing.
I thought of the pastor I met in New Zealand many years ago. One evening, wearing shiny rubber boots, he surprised me: we went on a rabbit hunt. I had to draw attention, and it was shot. Then he gave me the bloodied rabbit. “Good for photography.” At that moment, the rabbit woke up alive with an icy sound. My date put the animal down and its heel crushed its head. “Well, it’s quiet.”
In complicity in the killing of the rabbit, I could not get rid of its misery? It was a very animal-friendly choice. I took a tile and lifted it – I just lowered it. Very cowardly. For a moment I thought of calling my father. He will do the job just like I used him to kill mosquitoes in my tent in Sweden. But as the mouse continued to rot, the number of flies increased.
Finally, I grabbed a sandwich bag and wrapped it around the rotating mouse. “Sorry,” I whispered, taking him to the kitchen. At minus eighteen degrees he will probably soon lose consciousness. I closed the refrigerator, took the lawn, and comforted myself with the thought that the king was pointing to the dream place: the eternal hunting ground.
A version of this article also appeared in the NRC on the morning of September 15, 2021
“Introvert. Communicator. Tv fanatic. Typical coffee advocate. Proud music maven. Infuriatingly humble student.”