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Coup de Grace

Posted 11/23/2007 10:02am by Catskill Merino.
Nile don't like me, as they say around here, I'm just another concrete monkey up from the city and Nile's lived here all his life so he should know. He works for Davy milking cows; I'm there at the dairy to borrow a tractor. "Davy took the tractor up to feed the heifers, he'll be back, " he says standing over a black and white milk cow that's down in the yard. "What's wrong with her, " I ask. "She can't get up," stating the obvious and taking the cow personally, "don't ever happen to sheep, right?" "Now and then," I say, "coyotes got us last week." "How many?" "Three." "They're no damn good." "Yeah, coyotes are trouble," I say. "No, sheep," Nile don't like sheep, no money in'em.

"Tell Davy, I've gone to White Sulphur and I'll be back." I drove along the winding road that I know well; the trees were bare and I could see snow through them. The road curved as I came to the top of a hill; I looked off to the right and saw another road turning away, lazily up and down, over low snow covered hills; ahead, it must fork off the one I'm on. But I don't know this juncture. How could I have missed it in all the years I've gone this way. Where did this new road go, where would it take me if I turned on to it, the unknown thrilled me. The world became fresh again, my stomach tensed, I was young, I was in San Francisco, I was at the Fillmore, Janice was going down on me and Big Brother was playing as loud and as loose as my future. I came round the curve and went down the hill; I saw this road was the same road I was on. I was where I always was, going where I always go.

Friday morning was harsh, it got down to 7 degrees Thanksgiving night; I awoke in a house that was gravely cold. I put on my down coat, scarf and hat like I was going to the barn but I was going to make coffee and rekindle the woodstove. When I did get to the barn, I saw what I didn't want to see, the lamb I'd been nursing back from the coyote attack was down on her side, but still breathing. I gently put her on her feet; she was unsteady, head down, unsure, but standing up. Yesterday she was doing well, today she's dying; I wanted to give somebody the finger, but who. I fed the other sheep and chipped ice off the waterers; when I came back to her, she was down again. I knelt and pushed her eyelid back with my thumb to see a twitching stare; except for suffering, it was over.

I crossed the icy yard to the house and got my Ruger .22; my hands were freezing, I stuck the loaded pistol in the front pocket of my overalls, then crossing my heart, I put my hands in my armpits to warm them. Walking back to the lamb, I felt the heavy steel barrel touching me and jostling the loose change in my pocket. Sex, money and death, we were all here. There is a point between laughter and tears that has no name and has no sound. I didn't cheat it, I said nothing, I took the pistol from my pocket and I shot her.
baa v2 #24
November 27, 2005