I will always wonder what happened to Abbi Gale the Cat from Hell, but the truth is this; Abbi died doing what she loved doing which was hunting. Abbi was a seven pound house cat with the heart of a seven hundred pound jungle cat. Whatever happened to Abbi had already happened to dozens upon dozens of rodents who dared lived within Abbi’s sphere of influence. I hated losing that little girl but she always wanted to live wild and free and lacking that, to die that way. There are many humans who never get their pulse rate up any higher than when they discover they’ve locked themselves out of their cars and that’s a damn shame. There are lessons to be learned from the hunters, you know.
Lucas was just plain stupid. He had both Bert and Sam teaching him how to stay out of the bite range of a Cottonmouth but he had something to prove and he got nailed doing it. People shake their heads at me because I didn’t kill the snake but we, Lucas and I, invaded snake territory. I didn’t move into the woods to declare war on nature and I still will not. I am not going to start killing snakes just because Tyger Linn is hunting them, and hunting them she is, too.
Save your words. No not bother telling me I’m crazy because I have heard it before and I’m going to hear it again. I will not, repeat, will not, kill venomous snakes on my property, off my property, in my house, or anywhere else for that matter. They have just as much right to live there as I do. Okay, maybe not in the house. The dogs are another matter. Lucas was being Lucas and picked one up. Tyger Linn hunts. It’s not a fair fight because she’s faster and she’s a large animal, but every once in a while she’s going to get tagged.
Yeah, I can accept that. Mainly because there isn’t much I can do about it.
What I am unwilling to do is kill another living creature simply because it is where it is. I cannot do it and I will not do it. I took the time to relocate the Cottonmouth that bit Lucas to across the fence line before taking the Loki Mutt to the vet. I doubt if that snake survived the chomp Lucas put on him. If I find a Cottonmouth with one hell of a scar on its back I will know it’s the one.
What I am willing to do is clear away the vegetation they use as cover and open things up a bit around the house. That means a lot of hard work. That means a lot of hot and hard work. But I figure that opening things up a bit will let the owls and hawks have a chance to pop a few of the snakes that are out prowling around in the underbrush. It will open things up so I can see who is there and what is there.
I didn’t adopt Abbi or find her as a stray or take her in off the streets, no; I was stuck with her. I had a girlfriend who basically dumped Abbi on me because Abbi was a terror. I took Abbi to the vet’s one day and asked them how much it would take to spay her and when I found out I asked them how much to have her put down, no, I asked them how much they would charge me to kill her. That’s what I wanted. I wanted that cat dead. But I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t kill an animal just because she wasn’t behaving in my environment the way I wished her to behave. I couldn’t kill her because her life was an inconvenience to me. I wound up keeping her and loving her and one day I put her four paws on the green grass in my lawn and she yowled with pleasure. I put her in a tree and she damn near died of excitement. To that point Abbi had never been outside of an apartment.
Abbi made up for lost time when she started hunting. She tore a hole in the small mammal population on earth and had she weighed fifty pounds grown men would have ran screaming from her. That’s what I let live. And I do not regret it for one moment.
You think that snakebite is a terrible thing for a dog to endure and you’re right. But what about all of those dogs sitting safely indoors without a moment to run free and wild? Lucas was tagged but he lived. He lived to die at my side on a cold morning going to see a vet. There were no snakes, no wild animals, no hunting, nothing, he just fucking died and there was no explanation for it.
Abbi was a year older than Lucas when she went missing.
Wilson (about the nine year old who will die in a year): "She enjoys life more than you do."
Wilson: "She stole that kiss from Chase. What have done lately?"
House: "I'm pacing myself; unlike her I have the luxury of time."
Wilson: "She could outlive you."
You want surety? Life grants you no tomorrow. It gives you not another hour or another minute or another second. You either get it or you die. You die in safety or you die in danger, but rest assured my friend, you’re going to be just as dead in your bed as you would be lying on the jungle floor. The only difference is whether or not you ever really lived.
You cannot ever imagine how it felt to see Lucas that close to that Cottonmouth. You’ll never know how terrified I was at that moment. It was a couple of steps up from locking my keys up in my car. But the day he died Lucas was wrapped in a blanket, warm and safe and dry and he was fucking dead when I got there.
I can’t kill the Cottonmouth because they are part of where I live. They are of my world. I can’t stop Tyger Linn from hunting because it is part of her soul. If I have to live with loss then I have to live with it anyway, do I not?
You will too.
Virginia Woolf: “You cannot find peace by avoiding life, Leonard” from the movie, “The Hours”