It started with a meal. We were over at my in-laws, and wanted to cook some dead bird, or pig, or cow, or some other poor critter that had been killed in a slaughterhouse. But hey we all have to eat. It’s kill or be killed in this world.
We used their oven in the back patio, because it was big enough to toast this feast. My wife set it to preheat. About ten minutes later a rank smell invaded our osmic senses. Smoke curled out of the oven. My wife killed the flame just in time, to prevent a fire that might have killed everyone in the house.
Field mice were scattering everywhere. They had ripped and torn all the insulation from the oven, and made a huge nest inside, where they could live cozy and warm. Now they were trying to save themselves from being killed by this very same, very warm home. Meanwhile, my senile mother-in-law cursed these mice that killed her “brand-new” oven. After all, she’d only bought it 20 years ago.
My father-in-law disconnected the oven and had it hauled off. But he too is getting forgetful in his old age. He neglected to completely shut off the gas. If my wife hadn’t noticed, we all would have been killed.
But my father-in-law still has most of his marbles. And he knows how to set traps for mice. My mother-in-law wanted him to use poison. They argued about it into the night, and almost reached the point of killing each other. But traps won and they both lived. However dozens of mice would soon be killed.
Then they decided we could get them a cat. The cat would kill a few mice, but that would scare away the rest, sparing their lives.
We went down to the animal shelter and selected a ball-bearing mousetrap. A six-month old male kitten, to be exact. But it won’t bear balls much longer, as it’s the policy of the town to fix the felines they adopt out. It’s their way of killing future kittens before they’re conceived, to save them from having to kill them after they’re born.
So now, to save the next brand-new oven from being killed, we’ve saved a kitten from euthanasia at the animal shelter (well, we saved everything but its balls). The kitten will kill some mice, but will save the rest from being killed by traps. But cats also predate upon birds, snakes, gophers, and anything else that moves. So there will be a general slaughter of wildlife, in my in-laws’ backyard.
No matter how hard we try, there’s no escape from bloodshed and death in this kill-or-be-killed world.