Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What in the FUCK?!

This afternoon I was writing a blog post in my head. It was going to be about the 88-year-old lady I've been spending a couple days a week with. For the sake of story-telling, I'll call her Gramma Guthrie.

Gramma Guthrie's brother-in-law unexpectedly died this morning so I spent the day helping her contact relatives and then drove her to her sister's house where mourning family had gathered around the new widow.

The house was full people I'd never met before, except for the widow whom I'd met only briefly last week when she and another sister dropped by Gramma Guthrie's house. I suspect the visit was in part to check out the woman who'd been hired to take care of their older sister.

Being such a small town, I also know one of Gramma Guthrie's brothers - though I didn't see him this afternoon. He was the local farmer that, in 2006, lent me his incubator and gave me a bucket of eggs with which to start my very own flock of chickens. Four of those original chickens (Betty, Biddie, Buddy and Cheepacabra) as well as two generations of descendants are still here.

(In another funny small town twist: It was another sister that called 911 when I wrecked my truck in front of her house last December.)

I was going to write a post about how I tried my best to blend in with the couch while the dead man's children and grandchildren grieved around me. The great-grandchildren, oblivious to the circumstances, ran freely through the house creating happy distractions for those who weren't expecting to face mortality head-on today. I'm not really a "kid person" but I really do think children are necessary at times like this.

I averted my gaze from crying women and men discussing financial matters. I listened intently as the widow recounted the evening before when she and her husband each ate an apple in the very room we were sitting in and she fell asleep in her chair and he covered her with a blanket and when she woke up she saw him in his chair and knew something was terribly wrong because his dentures had fallen out.

I was also going to write about how it turned out that the hospital nurse that was there all night and was so kind to the family turned out to be the very same woman who's marrying Gramma Guthrie's grandson this month.

I was going to write about this and a whole lot more but that all changed when I got home a couple minutes after 4pm. The first thing I noticed as I pulled into the driveway was that a couple of the resident crows were hanging out in the driveway with some of the cats. Cats and crows do not generally hang out together.

I then noticed the non-moving white lump about the size of a chicken. Fuck.

Nothing ruins my day like an unexpectedly dead chicken. At least it was white. That meant it was a factory farm refugee. There's about half a dozen factory farm hens that I can't tell apart from each other. Maybe it was one of them.

No. This one has spurs on her legs like a rooster. Shit. That means it's Diamanda - the squawkiest of all the chickens. I liked her. She'd been here for over a year and a half.

She hadn't been dead long. She was still warm. Ants had only begun to congregate around her lower intestine that was splayed across the driveway. Her head was covered in blood but I couldn't see any other injuries. Twenty other chickens milled around Frankencoop 100 feet away. What the fuck happened?

Her neck was broken. One eye had popped out of it's socket, thankfully still hidden behind its bulging lid. Earlier this year, one of my cats got run over by a car and his eye also popped out - though it did not stay behind the lid. You don't really forget a sight like that. It slowly dawned on me that someone had run over Diamanda in my own driveway.

But who? I hadn't been expecting anyone. There's maybe two dozen people who might drop by unannounced.

Unlike cats or dogs, chickens don't have the sense to get out of the way of a moving vehicle. They like to hunker down in the shade under a parked vehicle but won't get up when you start it up. This is how my very first factory farm refugee, Lemon, died - and she was the smartest damn chicken I ever met.

So, giving my fellow man the benefit of the doubt, I can see how Diamanda might just not have gotten out of the way of an approaching vehicle and the driver might not have even seen her. Often a dozen chickens will block the long driveway up the hill to my house, refusing to move out of the way. (A bit of food thrown from the car window will send the birds running out of the way so I always try to keep a little something handy to "pay the toll.")

Accidents happen, I tell myself.

As I approach the house, I see another clump of white in the grass. I quickly realize it's only some paper and so I ignore it while I carry Diamanda's carcass into the house past the horde of yowling cats. I liked her but I'm still gonna eat her. If it makes you feel any better, I probably won't enjoy it very much. I'd much rather have the company of what was a very lively hen and the couple hundred eggs she would've given me.

After some kitchen prep, I went outside to get a headcount of the birds (all present and accounted for) and locked up the remaining 20 Frankencoop chickens. Back at the house, I threw a little feed to the five chickens that sleep under my porch. There's three long-term resident hens: Murray, Miss Lillian and Annie. The newfound hen, Serendipity, lives there now but doesn't seem too happy so I may move her to Frankencoop. My young rooster, Pasha, recently moved in when he discovered a bunch of unserviced hens were living there.

After ascertaining that all the other birds were okay, I went to pick up the paper that had apparently blown into where the long driveway dead-ends into the yard. That's when I had my truly WHAT THE FUCK moment.

It wasn't just any kind of paper. It was toilet paper. And it wasn't just any kind of toilet paper. It was USED toilet paper. USED TOILET PAPER SMEARED WITH GODDAMNED DIARRHEA! I know it was goddamned diarrhea
because the toilet paper was laying on the ground next to a pile of the shit (pun definitely intended).

I'm still willing to give my fellow man the benefit of the doubt and I understand that sometimes you gotta go when ya gotta go. I can totally sympathize with the realization that you are about to shit your pants and looking around and seeing you're completely out of sight from God and everybody and just dropping your drawers and letting loose with the Hershey squirts.

I can even identify with the relief of finding toilet paper in your car with which to wipe your sorry, splattered ass after such a horrifying experience.


Please tell me what kind of inbred motherfucker just tosses shit-soaked toilet paper in someone's driveway? Trust me, if it was my ass and your driveway, I would've wadded that toilet paper up and stuffed it in my pocket before just dropping it in your yard. Seriously, dude.

If not for the toilet paper, I would've probably never even noticed the shit. Even if I did, I would've just blamed it on the chickens or cats. But not when there's a pile of fucking toilet paper next to it!

I have seen a lot of fucked up shit in my time and can be forgiving of a tremendous amount of trespasses, but this crosses the line. Grind your cigarette butt out in my garden? I'll pick it up when your back is turned and silently curse your name but this is the kind of thing that gets you blacklisted from my life.

So I steamed over this while butchering poor Diamanda. The more I thought about it, the madder I got. I thought about the finite number of people who could've possibly done this. This certainly wasn't the work of a Boomhauer Brother. Contrary to what I may have written about them, they are much classier than this. It certainly wasn't any of my neighbor-cousins. The mail lady would never do anything like that. No way was it the nice Jamacian Jehovah Witness lady that's stops by once a month to drop off the newest copy of The Watchtower.

As I crossed off all the potential visitors in my mind, there was only one I couldn't completely exonerate: An obnoxious drunken hillbilly that I've never written about simply because he's never done anything of note except be drunk every single time I've seen him - whether it's 10am or 10pm. I guess I'll just call him Drunky McDrunkerson.

I hate to accuse Drunky McDrunkerson of shitting in my driveway because that's a pretty heinous thing to accuse somebody of. But fuck if I can think of anyone else that would be capable of doing such a thing. I can totally see him, drunk as fuck, driving up my driveway to talk about hiring me for some job that will never actually materialize, realizing he's about to shit his pants, dropping trou in my driveway, wiping his ass with toilet paper fortuitously found rolling around on the truck floor and absent-mindedly tossing it my yard. I can see him driving off and running over Diamanda without even realizing it. I can see him not remembering any of this tomorrow.

Jesus. Why do I even know people like this?

yeah, that's right. I live in rural Alabama.


Anonymous said...

Oh yea gods. What in the fuck is right.

I can see how you wound up writing about that instead - by the time I got to the end I too had forgotten we'd started out back at the wake, with tales a' tellin' and kids enlivening a death event.

I'm sorry about Diamanda. And the nasty, nasty shitting. And that someone would do that. So gross. So rude. The level of understanding you're willing to extend is admirable.

Sure beats the potato chip and cheapo baked good wrappers one of the guys from the halfway house down the street leaves on our lawn. And even the GIANT dog shit that occasionally appears out there. That there's one difference between living in rural and urban Alabama, I guess.

- Priscilla

brynn said...

holy shit, jackie. i am so sorry. i started innocently reading your post (yay! a new jackie post!) at a public venue, and halfway through i was cackling so loudly that i drowned out the ambient music. i hate to find hilarity in your misfortune but... bless you for making me laugh harder than i have in a while.

Pico Alaska said...

Like the story and the telling, Jackie. One-of-a-kind combination of run-over chicken and errant pile of poo. The images will last forever.