Blood has been spilled at the crabbyhome, and said blood is on my hands. Well, hand, actually. My right hand -- the one that drew the pouch of the wrist-rocket back and then let go, sending the tiny, silver bb of death hurtling through the air, and then ripping through the flesh and feathers of the tiny avian adversary that has been ingesting the siding of my house, board by board. This is not a proud moment for me -- I confess to this deed with heavy heart. But the deed is done.
I was awakened by the pecking this morning at about 8 a.m. I turned to the Old Lady and she to me, and we realized that the last couple of months of peck-free slumber had finally come to an end. We knew this day would come again, and I almost pulled my pillow up over my head and raised the white flag, but for some reason, I got up, got dressed and walked downstairs.
The spawn were already awake, engaged in a rousing, early-morning game of Mario Kart. I said good morning and declared, "I've gotta go outside for a couple of minutes... I'll be right back." I paused and watched them play their game, realizing that it would be the last thing I'd ever say to them as a non-murderer. I grabbed my weapon, dropped a handful of ammo in my pocket, and walked outside.
I snuck around to the side of the house and there it was, brazenly perched on the siding, pecking away at a brand new hole. In fact, it had broken completely through the siding and was sticking its head a good three inches into the hole, pulling out yellow insulation. I knew what I had to do. I loaded the first shot into the leather pouch, pulled back and released. I was low -- the pellet ricocheted off the siding, sending my feathery foe fleeing.
There was also some potential collateral damage from this first shot. After it ricocheted off the house, I heard a metal "ting" in my neighbor's driveway. I did my best Moe Howard slow-burn and saw their SUV sitting right in the "ting"'s vicinity. Now it was personal.
I crouched down behind the fence and waited. The early morning dew seeped in through my converse and chilled my sockless feet. I knew at that moment what it must have felt like to be in 'Nam. Hunkered down in a fox-hole, chilled to the bone, waiting for the enemy to reveal their pointy beak. I opened a tin of c-rations, rolled a fatty, and waited as "Purple Haze" echoed through the banyan trees.
And then there he was. It was like a dream. Everything seemed to be in slow-motion. I could distinguish each individual wing-flap, as the bird flew back to its perch and resumed pecking. I listened to the rhythm of the taps: dit-dit-dash-dit... dit-dit-dash... dash-dit-dash-dit... dit-dit-dit-dit... It was morse code! I transcribed the dits and dashes until I had the complete message. It was, "F-U-C-K-Y-O-U-C-R-A-B-B-Y-D-A-D."
That did it.
I pouched the payload, drew it back to my ear and, this time, aimed. It was as if my right eye were a telephoto lens. My field of sight was black, but for a red cross-hair on the tiny neck of the bird. Everything went silent... I let go, and I watched the trail of the steel shot as it homed in on its target. Then, as quickly as it had disappeared, the sound came flooding back. A sickening thud -- the sound of metal meeting flesh... the sound of mortality.
As I watched the limp body fall to the ground, I felt sick. Of course, this is what I wanted when I bought the wrist-rocket -- an end to the destruction of my house. But now, looking at the tiny corpse on my lawn, I only felt like a huge dick. I killed a bird, just like Opie did on that one episode of "Andy Griffith." And I felt the glare of Opie's Pa burning into the back of my neck. I'm sorry Pa... really I am.
But Pa wasn't there to reassure me, and Aunt Bee wasn't there with a warm slice of apple pie to make me feel better. So, I grabbed a grocery bag, put on a glove, placed the wee corpse in the bag and gave it a respectful burial, in the garbage can.
For that bird, the war is over. For me, whether I like it or not, the battle rages on.
I just sure as shit hope my neighbor never figures out who the asshole is who dinged his Durango.