The Killing Fields



as told to LAIKA PUPKINO

     It hit us out of the blue. It had been a long time---generations---since we were hunted in those sorts of numbers and most of us had forgotten, you know, what it could be like. I guess you could say us racoons were living under a false sense of security  ...........  One week everything was fine---plenty of fish, whole fields of berries---and then the next week there were men with guns everywhere, and traps everywhere else. 
      My family went quickly- parents, siblings, cousins. I was young and naive, and suddenly completely on my own after what had been quite an easy life, so it was only blind chance that I ran the direction I did. I found myself living on the edge of one of their cities, humans everywhere, which contrary to what you might expect was actually a safer place to be.
      I learned to eat their food, there was plenty of it just sitting there in these cans they had next to their dwelling, so you can’t say I was suffering at this point. Not physically.  But it was here that I witnessed the results of the slaughter that was taking place out in our valley, the reason for it, and it made no sense. That’s what haunts me the most- how pointless it was. They weren’t eating us like a mountain lion might do, or like us racoons do to smaller animals; which is just as fatal but at least you can understand it. It’s nature. It has a purpose. But this was just madness.
      Just about every one of their cubs (children, I guess the term is) had a dead racoon stuck on its head, his tail hanging down in a hideous mockery of what he had been in life. 
The adult humans had no part in any of this except to procure the victims for this ...........   ritual. These cubs were pointing sticks at each other and yelling “bang bang!”, and they seemed to need the racoons on them to do this. Once I saw a favorite aunt of mine---I knew those stripes almost like I knew my own---deader than anything, reduced to one of these horrible ornaments. It was like being in a nightmare, seeing her like that!
      This terrible and senseless killing went on for over two years, and then suddenly it just ended. I might never understand what it had all been about. Then life got back to normal,
or what you could call normal, although none of us are as inclined to take anything for granted these days. 
      But I can still hear that song the human cubs would sing:
“Daveeey, Davey Crockett...   King of the Wild Frontier!”    
      It still sends chills down my spine.

{{{For Roadblock. Rest in Peace...}}}

Born On A Mountaintop in Timbuktu...

Nice story. I was the right age when Disney's series came out, found Fess Parker's Crockett an engaging character and enjoyed the song: three different recordings of it made the Top 5, and that probably didn't include the kids' version that I had on a 78. (The title of this note is the opening line of a parody that a classmate and I wrote and performed in fourth grade.)

But I don't think I ever did understand the attraction of the cap.


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