Thursday, 18 September 2008

Shame Week #4 :: What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever killed?

We were playing table tennis, at which – incidentally – I excel. It wasn’t proper table tennis however. It was kitchen table tennis, with the flaps up, crappy bats, ugly nylon netting and heavy, practically flightless balls. There was Keith, me and Keith’s girlfriend at the time, Emily, an overly earnest girl with a slight lisp. I’m not entirely sure why but Emily always reminded me of a slightly itchy cardigan.

This was years ago.

We were in the living room of our old place in Dartford. It was winner stays on and frankly, I’d been on for some considerable time, when suddenly, a plump grey mouse darted out from beneath the sofa on which Emily sat patiently rolling a jazz cigarette.

I don’t know where the mouse came from and I don’t know where it imagined it was going. I only know it didn’t get there.

It was remarkable. Remarking on it later, Keith said that he’d never seen me move so fast. I was a mouse-seeking missile, across the threadbare living room carpet in less than a second, my arm swinging into action as if I were swatting a fly, the cheap bat cracking the mouse’s skull like a spoon breaking the crown of a hard-boiled egg. Covered in fur. There was no blood. Just instant death.



A moment of silence followed, quickly replaced by Keith’s and then my own uproarious laughter.

Emily however, was less amused. ‘I can’t believe you just did that,’ she said.

‘I’m not sure I can believe it either,’ I said. ‘I was like a man possessed, wasn’t I?’ I was smiling, clearly pleased with myself.

Emily wasn't smiling.

‘Yeah, but it was vermin,’ said Keith. ‘It was liable to eat us out of house and home if you hadn’t stopped it in its tracks.’

Emily was shaking her head. ‘It had just as much right to life as you or I,’ she pointed out.

‘I guess,’ said Keith. ‘Still. It’s dead now. Your serve, Stan.’



Looking back on the kill as I lay in bed later that night, I decided that that was pretty much how I would like to go out. Like a popped light bulb. Like a slapped mosquito. Like an unwary mouse under a ping pong bat. No blood. No pain. No lingering illness. No slow decay.

Since then however, I’ve changed my mind. I’d now like to take life in any form at all for as long as I possibly can. (Cerebral liquefaction permitting.) One day I’m pretty sure I shall tell you what changed my mind.

In the meantime, RIP, my little mouse.



And you? What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever killed? Confess in the comments, please...

Your secret is safe with me.



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28 comments:

Urbane Spaceman said...

Hope and, more recently, my bank balance :(

Still, that's probably some great karmic revenge for the great porn racket of my early teens ...

LyleD4D said...

A deer. In fact, two deer now.

Both by car, and neither intentionally.

I don't know, is it better to kill something intentionally or unintentiionally?

Misssy M said...

An entire colony of wasps who were threatening to reign pestilence upon us in a quite Biblical way a few years ago. But no-one gives a shit about wasps do they?

The thrill of seeing them go wild as I unleashed the cyanide based pesticide, makes me feel a bit strange now. But watching them batter themselves to death against my kitchen window was a good two hours worth of entertainment.

I know that's wrong of me. I'd never kill anything else, except bluebottles. And mosquitoes. And cockroaches.

Alan said...

Two starlings, yesterday. In 18 years of driving I'd never knowingly created roadkill, but yesterday a flock (herd? cloud?) of starlings flew across the road in front of the car, and when I looked in the rear view mirror there were two definite starling-sized blobs on the road the same distance apart as my wheels.

I'm not particularly tree-huggy but this really upset me. As a small child, me and a friend used to turn ladybirds upside down and toast them with a magnifying glass, and also collect snails and line them up across the road and wait for cars to come along, but for some reason I feel more guilty about the starlings despite having had no choice over their demise. Maybe it's because I can relate to birds better than insects and gastropods. Personality goes a long way ;-)

isabelle said...

Gosh, all these confessions are a bit unsettling ( juicy but unnerving too,like an upmarket cerebral Jeremy Kyle ) On the stealing front, it was a wardrobe. That's a long story , but it involved bolt croppers , a derelict Friendly and Trade Society building, an old ford transit and, at the end a very gullible policeman. As for killing, oh it still creeps me out now. I once dropped a huge stone on a pheasants head. It was a mercy killing, the poor thing had been hit with a stone beforehand and was sort of in paroxysms. We ate it afterwards because that seemed the best thing to do. (I'm afraid I can't even go down the most embarrassing thing I've ever done path , in public at least )

daisyfae said...

unintentionally? birds. with my jeep. the fucking thing is a boxy bird magnet - and even when i swerve, the fuckers dart into the grille, where i have to later extract their baked, feathery bodies from the innerworkings of the front end of my car.

intentionally? i was the neighborhood champion at removing all 8 legs from a "daddy longlegs" - a wispy, harmless arachnid-like critter. the last two legs are tough, as you have to pop them off the body ball at the same time to get the little round body onto the table intact.

not proud of that. i was about 10 years old...

Larry Teabag said...

On a camping trip in Wales I went absolutely apeshit with an air pistol, and massacred about sixty slugs.

(A side-note, if this was my blog and someone compared it to Jeremy Kyle, I would be raging mad.)

DJ Kirkby said...

Chickens, rabbits, raccoons...what can I say, I was a farm girl... I want to hear what changed your mind about dying, right now, this instant!*stamps feet*

Clare Sudbery said...

It was a mouse. The cat had half killed it already, and I decided I needed to put it out of its misery. Except it might not have been that injured in the first place. Anyway. I put it in a jam jar with the lid on and shook it. It seemed like a good idea until I actually did it. I could feel its tiny body hitting the sides of the jar with sickening thuds, and when I stopped it was having some sort of fit, presumably from horrendous head injuries. So I threw the whole thing in the wheelie bin and failed to forget about it. It wasn't even an adult. I pictured its mother looking for it...

I put that in my first novel, it left such an impression on me.

suburbanhen said...

Lot's and lots of dogs. Big ones. Small ones. Old ones. Puppies.
And cats. Kittens, too. Hundreds of kittens.
And some roosters.

And all in the name of the RSPCA.

It made me sick with myself, with life and with society, and I quit after 5 months. It was either that or take pills like all my colleagues.

kittyrex said...

I've got to say that I am loving this series of posts. I haven't written one yet for this particular shame but I will.

But can I put in a request?

I would love to have one post where we all get to confess anonymously to some deep, dark secret of our soul.

Selena said...

I only kill insects and even then, I only the ones that look like they can jump on my face,
Because that's what they'll do. That's what they'll do no matter where they're positioned in relation to your face. Whether they are on floor, ceiling, or wall, it makes no difference- they jump for it.

As if jumping at your face wasn't enough to justify their deaths- they also have the ability to release X-men-esque-ultra-lethal venom into, well... MY FACE!

This is not an irrational thought at all- it's the facts! I'd like to go as far as to say- it's science. Unfortunately, all the test subjects die before my "scientific" hypothesis can be proven correct. ;-P

I want to reiterate- I do not kill just any creepy crawly. They have to have a certain look about them. They have to look like they have evil intentions. If they look harlmess I am perfectly fine with leaving them to their own devices.

Oooh, but I am not ok with fleas-fleas don't scare me; they disgust me. ALL fleas must die!

As to your story, I don't get the deal with boys/men and their revelling in the killing of small furry creatures...

I remember I once saved a lizard from a group of boys & certain death via stoning. A stoning that was to take place at church (of all the places.)

Actually upon reflection- I guess there really isn't a better place for stoning someone/thing. If it's gonna happen at all; then it should happen at church
*queue outrage*

The boys had already smashed it's tail off and I was horrified at the gory mess. More so, because, this was before i was let in on the secret that tails grew back. So, I was pretty desperate to stop them before they dropped the rest of their rocks on it and ended it's life.

I stepped in front of it and started shouting hoping that a grown up would come over. So, instead the got rocks got thrown at me and the lizard. Luckily, the boys weren't dead shots and the lizard managed to scamper away

I, was not so lucky. the pastor's son- whom I happened to have a huge crush on- came to my rescue and scattered the bullies away.

It's ok- it was totally worth it.

Sharon said...

It was accidental, but I killed a great snowy owl when it flew into my windshield late one night as I drove down a dark country road. I thought I'd hit a ghost- it scared the crap out of me.

Anonymous said...

A rabbit, on the road, back from the disco in the eighties.
I usually try to avoid any beast on the road, but this time I was a bit drunk.
As the rabbit was not squashed, I picked it up and my mum cooked it the next day. With mustard, yum... my favorite.
Uncle Did

Anonymous said...

One of my exes. True. And I was never caught.

Alan said...

Selena, I do the same - except ALL insects (and arachnids) look like they have evil intents so they must all die.

But some look more evil than others. Daddy Long Legs, for example, look relatively harmless - they're got evil on their minds but are incapable of doing anything about it. Because of this I don't mind touching them, so I cup them in my hands and feed them to the cat.

At the other end of the spectrum, spiders are the devil incarnate. They get stomped without delay. I have an ambition to stomp on a tarantula but I'm not brave enough to go to the pet shop and buy one.

Selena said...

Ohh Stomping on a tarantula- Oh my! I know I couldn't do that- I can imagine what it's like to hear its exoskeleton cracking and I feel kind of nauseous.

At the same time- if it was giving me the eye and was smart enough to get out of it's glass encloser-then i'd have no other choice but to smash it or light it on fire (which technically means I'd beg someone else to do those things.)

As to the cat- it's nice to have an accomplice. My dog loves to chase & catch moths and flies.

Alan, good luck on your insect purging- specifically spider slaying-quest.

daisyfae said...

@Selena and Alan - oh, no! no need to stomp a tarantula. cannister of hairspray and a match makes a fine flamethrower!

Alright Tit said...

Lucky bastard, that mouse. What a way to go.

Are you available for hire? There's a mouse in my living room that torments me in the middle of my very important daytime TV viewing. Actually, such interruptions are probably just its way of letting me know that Homes Under The Hammer is not the path to a speedy recovery. (I know, I've sunk to new lows.)

And hello back atcha, by the way! Thank you for the prolific comments on AT. (Can I suggest you stop reading now? It's all constipation talk from here on in.)

Clare Sudders said...

"One of my exes. True. And I was never caught."

I so want this to be true. Is that very bad of me?

But I also want details. Give us details, dammit!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Clare Sudders! Tell us!

The biggest thing I've killed was a racoon, accidentally, with my car. Mountain road, twists and turns, no guardrail, at night. Came around a corner, there was the racoon, and since I cound't swerve or I'd end up tumbling down a ravine, I shouted, "Duck!" and tried to sort of straddle it with my wheels. It didn't duck. I heard/felt it's head go THUNK as I hit it. My brother, who was with me at the time, could tell I was upset. He tried to cheer me up with a lame joke. He said, "That was a racoon, or maybe a possum, but definitely not a duck. But now it's a dead duck."

Maria

Anonymous said...

something very small and close to my heart.

42 said...

A cat.

It was awful and I didn't mean to do it but I did and it was awful. I was 12. I hated the neighbours, due to some argument my parents had with them. I was riding my new bike when I came across the cat, grabbed it by it's tail, swung it around like some deranged circus act and let it go in mid-flight. Sadly, it skidded across the road and zipped right down the sewer drain. It took the cat's owners hours to rescue it and when they finally did, it got sick and died a few days later. It is the most horrible thing I have ever done and to this day, when I think about it makes me feel absolutely awful.

As an adult I have always had a cat as a pet and when I look at the two I have now, I imagine someone doing to them what I did and it makes me cry and feel completely horrible. I'm going to hell, aren't I?

handrejka said...

I feel more ashamed at not having killed something. I was out taking photos and I disturbed a cat with a bird. The cat let the bird go and it was still alive but the legs and bottom part of it's body had been ripped off and I knew I should have put it out of it's misery but couldn't, poor thing. I don't know if cats go back to their prey or not and I still think about that poor little bird.

La Bête said...

Spaceman, no! Keep hope alive!

Lyle, it’s better to kill something unintentionally. But I guess it might feel worse.

Misssy, I think that it’s more than people not giving a shit about wasps. I think that people actively despise wasps. I’ve never met anyone who has a good word to say about wasps. They are the Nazis of the animal kingdom. Well done on your massacre!

Hey, Alan, sorry to hear about the starlings, and that it upset you. I bet snails have personalities too though, if only you’d get to know one. (Not like slugs, the bastards.)

Isabelle, hi. Wardrobe, cool. Pheasant, sad, but tasty I’m sure. Now – the embarrassing thing. Tell me at once.

Awww, Daisy, shame on you. Daddy long legs are sweet and really, they’re nothing without their legs. How could you?

Hey, Teabag. Slaughtering slugs with an air pistol sounds like fun. Although it also sounds ever so slightly like overkill. (I’d hate to see you raging mad.)

DJ, patience is a virtue. Or so they say.

Clare, I hope to God you never need to put me out of my misery. In fact, if I ever need to be put out of my misery, give Larry Teabag a call and leave me be.

Aww, Hen, that is sad. I’ve never really thought about that before, the fact that people do that job, and the fact that it must affect them badly.

Me too, Kitty. As for your request, if I can think of one of my own, I’ll do it.

Selena, I think you have issues. Insects have no interest in your face. No particular interest anyway. They’re far more interested in crawling up your bottom. It’s true, I promise. Sorry about the incident with the lizard. (Did you get anywhere with the pastor’s son?)

Sharon, awww. Poor owl. Owls are cool.

Uncle Did, you must never drive drunk. Not even in the 80s. Well done on converting roadkill to fine cuisine though. That’s commendable.

Anonymous, you’ve created quite a stir here. Obviously, like the others, I really want to know more. But obviously, if it is true, you probably shouldn’t say. (Feel free to email me. Like a priest, I am morally bound to respect your confidentiality. I’ll take it to the grave, I promise.)

Alan. Please don’t stomp any more spiders. I like spiders. It’s like you’re stomping my distant cousins. (Don’t listen to Selena. She’s a bad influence.)

(And don’t listen to Daisyfae either.)

AT, might I suggest Mice Under the Hammer as an alternative?

Clare, it’s weird, isn’t it? I kind of want it to be true too, but only because it would feel exciting to be so close to something so fascinating. I mean, I don’t approve of murder or anything. Even if the person kind of had it coming. Which I hope he did. Or she, of course. Actually I’ve changed my mind. I hope it isn’t true.

Maria. Duck! That’s funny. Poor raccoon though.

Anonymous – a kidney? No, I’m sorry. If you want to say more, feel free. Otherwise, I hope you’re OK.

42, you’re not going to hell, no. It doesn’t exist. And you need to stop feeling bad now. You were 12. You made a mistake and you learned from it. You’re alright.

Let it go, Hendejka. Some of us are just not cut out for killing. Not even mercy killing. Don’t feel bad. It’s almost certainly out of its misery by now.

Clare Sudders said...

"Clare, I hope to God you never need to put me out of my misery."

I know, I realised as soon as I'd started that it wasn't such a great idea, but then I couldn't stop cos the idea of doijng that to a mouse and not having it be dead at the end was even worse. Even though when I finally stopped shaking it, it still wasn't dead. I'd originally planned to suoofcate it by just leaving it in the jar, but that seemed like a slow horrible death, so believe it or not, the shaking was an attempt to be more humane. Doh.

"Actually I’ve changed my mind. I hope it isn’t true."

The thing is, if anonymous really has killed someone, then the deed is already done so there's nothing we can do about it. But it is still interesting and I would still like to know more. I don't approve though, anonymous. Just in case you did and all that. Murder is very wrong. But also fascinating.

Sorry.

Selena said...

I am not a bad influence! ;-(

...I said they had to have an evil look about them.- I don't kill them all, Sheesh! Actually, I like Orb Weavers and their webs- Just as long as they are at a distance and I don't walk into them (webs.)

Yes it did- it did indeed go somewhere with the pastor's son and well, in the end I probably would have preferred that it hadn't.

Anonymous said...

A rat...two gerbils. Euthanasia, when they were old and suffering...but quickly. No more pet rodents for me, I let them die naturally now, its less painful for ME.

I also have killed pet fish that were suffering, from fatal illness of dropsy. I would scoop them up in a net, and dip them into boiling water, which believe me, kills them INSTANTLY, but it feels bad nonetheless.

My cats were also euthanized at home but by a vet by lethal injection, one died of old age, the other of cancer. SO painful to watch.

@Alan: PLEASE DONT STEP ON A TARANTULA- THEY ARE VERY LARGE AND WOULD SQUISH NASTY. I happen to own one as a pet!! D:

@42- You were a kid, you made a mistake...these things can be forgiven. You should forgive yourSELF and move on...