They got some big wild hogs in Beauchamp County. ᅠThe one that ムet my sister weighed 998 pounds. ᅠLord strike me if Iメm lyinメ. ᅠRose Marie weighed 95. ᅠShe was twelve when that hog ムet her. ᅠShe was out behind the shed planting violets when that hog charged out the brush like a runaway truck and snapped her neck and dragged her off.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Ma and Pa had gone to Morrisonville for seed and victuals, and my older brothers Ned and Ethan were helping Uncle Lamar shingle his barn. ᅠI was in the kitchen oiling my catcherメs mitt when I heard Rose Marie yip once and then what sounded like a roto-rooter. ᅠIt was a bad sound filled with pops and rips. ᅠI ran back behind the shed just in time to see that hog drag little Rose Marie into the brush.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I stood there shakinメ and cryinメ for awhile. Then I went in the house and called everyone I could think of. ᅠI called Ma and Pa. ᅠI called Uncle Lamar. ᅠI called Sheriff Dougherty. ᅠThey all come back at the same time and the sheriff come with lights flashinメ. ᅠNed and Ethan drove their 150s. ᅠUncle Lamar drove his Jeep. ᅠMa and Pa were in the Magnum. ᅠThere was a lot of dust. ᅠEverybody was screaming and crying.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モThis is a public safety issue,ヤ Sheriff said. ᅠモIメm going to round up some good olメ boys and find thet hog and string it up.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Pa sidled up to Sheriff and poured quiet strength down on him. ᅠモWeメll take care of this killer hog, Simon. ᅠWe got thet right.ヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Those boys played gin rummy with each other every Saturday for the past twenty years. ᅠSheriff looked away first. ᅠモI reckon thatメs your right, Joe Lee. ᅠBut youメd better hop right on it before thet hog decides to eat somebody elseメs little girl.ヤ ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Lamar pulled his thirty-ought-six from the cab rack and fed it some cartridges. ᅠNed and Ethan ran up to the house and came back with an SKS and an AK-47. ᅠPa got his Smith & Wesson .357. ᅠAnd I got my Desert Eagle .50. ᅠMy grandpa Jeb Lee got me thet gun for my fourteenth birthday and I could think of no more fitting use for it than killing the hog thet ムet my sister.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Now you may ask yourself what business a fourteen-year-old boy has huntinメ down and shooting a sister-eatinメ hog. ᅠI got my first gun when I was ten. ᅠThat was a .410 shotgun with which I brung down many a quail we had for dinner. ᅠYou cook them in a mud nest, takes the feathers right off. ᅠI been huntinメ with Ned and Ethan since I was six. ᅠIメd hold their ammo and their lunch for ムem.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Since I was the acting man of the house at the time, it was my right and duty to avenge my little sister who was so kind she would not step on an ant.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ While we was gathering and checking loads this woman shows up in a smart pant suit with a cornrowed cameraman. ᅠI see her coming toward me with perfect silver hair and that guy behind her aiming the video camera at me like Iメm on the Jerry Springer Show.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モCody,ヤ she says. ᅠモIメm Amy Probst for KDOC in Birmingham. ᅠCan you tell us what happened?ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モAinメt much to tell,ヤ I said. ᅠモI heard Rose Marie screaminメ and by the time I got back there all I saw was thet hog pullinメ her into the woods. ᅠLeft a blood slick on the grass.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モAnd what are you going to do about it?ヤ she asks.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I held up my Desert Eagle next to my face. ᅠモIメm gonna find thet sumbitch and kill it.ヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Pa saw what was going on and told her to get the hell off his property. ᅠNaturally thet woman turned the camera on Pa and before you knew it he was telling her itメs a crying shame these hogs are allowed to eat little girls but by God this one is going to pay.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Well Pa got out the walkie-talkies and handed them out. ᅠWe were about ready to take off when Paメs friend Nick Plakias, proprietor of Plakiasメ Pita Paradise, rolls up in his Lincoln Navigator with a custom Henry elephant gun he got in England for fifteen thousand dollars.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モI want a piece of it, Joe Lee! ᅠShe was my god daughter and I want a piece of it!ヤ ᅠNick saw it on TV and come right over. ᅠThatメs the quality of friends we had.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ So there we were, Pa, Lamar and Nick in Nickメs Navigator, Ethan, Ned and me in Ethanメs jacked-up 150, and enough firepower to take over Guatemala. ᅠMa come running down at the last minute with a sack filled with sandwiches and coffee in a thermos for everybody.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Pa yelled, モLetメs go, boys!ヤ ᅠEthan hit the MP3 player and blasted モSweet Home Alabamaヤ all over the news crews, the sheriffメs deputies, the whole gang of lookee-loos who gather everメ time a giant hog chows down on some poor little girl.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モSay Ethan!ヤ I yelled above the Skynyrd. ᅠモHow we going to sneak up on thet hog if youメre playing records at 125 decibels?ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ He saw what I was getting at and shut it off and turned on the radio. ᅠモThe family of the little girl killed by a feral hog is hunting the creature down. ᅠFor those of you just joining us, twelve-year-old Rose Marie Dixon of rural Beauchamp County was planting violets this morning when a feral hog seized her, instantly crushing her fragile skull in its monstrous pig jaws before fleeing into the underbrush with the body. ᅠSheriff Daugherty said, ムItメs only right the Dixons take care of their own. ᅠI know the whole county will sleep easier when this hog is apprehended.メ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モDonメt you mean killed, Sheriff?ヤ the reporter asked.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モIsnメt that what I said?ヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ There was a dirt road run into the woods a couple mile but no guarantee thet hog had took it. ᅠRose Marieメs blood was plain enough, but then we come to thet rolling scrubland, pine pricklers so thick you canメt run a car back there. ᅠWe had to get out and start some serious tracking. ᅠPa taught me how to read spore and broken twigs, how to follow game deep into its territory.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ By now it was late afternoon. ᅠThe ground was kind of mossy and I could see the monsterメs hoof prints. ᅠI raced through the forest leaping over vines and roots, Ned and Ethan running right after and urging me to slow down.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Those woods backed up against a state forest. ᅠPretty soon I saw a glimmer through the trees and headed that way, on account of feral hogs being attracted to bright, glittery objects, like magpies or girlfriends. ᅠI got there a few steps ahead of Ned and Ethan. ᅠIt was an official Watchapatchi State Forest parking lot with a bright shiny new Toyota Highlander Hybrid, its ass end plastered with bumper stickers. ᅠThey said, モMEAT STINKS!ヤ ᅠモPEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS." ᅠ"COEXIST," with a lot of funny religious symbols for letters. ᅠ"YOU CAN’T HUG A CHILD WITH NUCLEAR ARMS."
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ We stopped there to catch a breather and eat some lunch. ᅠPretty soon Nick, Pa, and Lamar showed up on a dirt road and we all stood in a circle eating sandwiches and talking ムbout what we were going to do.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Nick spat on the Hybridメs tire. ᅠモPETA!ヤ he said. ᅠモWell I got a bumper sticker too! ᅠムEAT A PETA PITA!メヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I felt the hood. ᅠStill warm. ᅠWe all knew why it was there. ᅠNow we had a race on, ムcause sure as God made little green apples one of those animal rights people was going to step up to thet hog and try to baby-talk to it and get ムet.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Only time I ever had any truck with ムem animal rights people was in the sixth grade. They got permission to come into our school and try to frighten the bejesus out of us with pictures of slaughterhouses and chickens in cages and such. ᅠThey didnメt get much traction though, because every sixth grader in the Beauchamp County School District is required to take a guided tour of the Beauchamp Meat Packing Company, so stripped carcasses and blood running down drains was old hat to us.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I swear, youメd think those people never dressed a deer or nothinメ.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Those PETA people left a trail like an irrigation ditch. ᅠStupid as they was, they was setting themselves up for a big chow down. ᅠLike I said, Rose Marie only weighed ninety-five, hardly more than a light snack to thet monster hog.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I took off again with Ned and Ethan behind me. ᅠBy now it was almost dusk but that trail was too big to lose. ᅠI come around a corner and see four PETA people stretched across the trail with their hands like a traffic cop. ᅠTwo gals and two guys. ᅠThey werenメt the Dixie Chicks. ᅠOne woman was short and chunky with a military haircut and a nose ring, not unlike bulls I seen at the county fair. ᅠIf Lamar hadnメt showed me how to sex chickens, I would not have known it was a she. ᅠThe other woman was tall and lanky with a military haircut and a stud in her chin. ᅠOne guy was spindle shaped and had a scruffy little beard and mustache like heメd been living too long in the sticks. ᅠThe other looked like an overripe dandelion in a red nylon windbreaker.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ They were each holding a red flag.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モStop!ヤ yelled the nose ring.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モCominメ through!ヤ I yelled, bringing my pistol up in front of my face like a hood ornament. ᅠThey broke like spooked quail and thrashed into the underbrush. ᅠSeconds later Ned and Ethan pounded through waving their hardware.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I knew we were close. ᅠI could smell thet hog. ᅠI saw one of Rose Marieメs shoes, didnメt stop to pick it up. ᅠNed and Ethan right behind a whoopinメ and a hollerinメ. ᅠAnd right behind them come the PETA people waving red flags, banging on tambourines, and singing モWe shall overcome.ヤ ᅠThey must have had a real quick committee-type meeting and voted to give chase, bravely putting their own lives in danger to save the sister-eatinメ, murderinメ hog.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Swear to God.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I came to a woodfall, a ten-foot birdメs nest made of thorns. ᅠI could hear that old hog layinメ in there, huffing and chuffing. ᅠI could smell him. ᅠBut I couldnメt see him, and it would have been plum foolish to go looking for him in there. ᅠWe all know about Brメer Rabbit and the Briar Patch, and I werenメt no rabbit. ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I pulled up short and waited for Ned and Ethan, whoメd run right through the PETA people and stood by me as we figured out our next move. ᅠThen the PETA people caught up with us.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モBest stay away from that copse, maメam,ヤ I kindly told the nose ring. ᅠモThat hogメs in there and heメs a man-eater.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ They huddled and murmured. ᅠThey took up positions at the four corners of the compass around that deadfall, with nose ring facing us.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モWeメre sorry about your sister,ヤ she said. ᅠモBut the hog was doing what comes naturally. ᅠWeメre all Mother Earthメs creatures.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モMe too, maメam,ヤ I said. ᅠモIメm just doing what comes naturally.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Ned grinned. ᅠモEthan and me, we taught thet boy how to hunt.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モWell Iメm sorry,ヤ the nose ring said, モbut youメll have to go through us to get to thet hog. ᅠAnd there are more of us on the way.ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ As if on signal, five skeezy looking people blowing whistles and waving red flags trooped out of the woods and joined the first four. ᅠThey tried to join hands but they didnメt quite stretch all the way around.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ I looked at Ned. ᅠモWhat we gonメ do, Ned?ヤ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ He grinned again. ᅠモJust sit tight, little brother, and get ready to shoot.ヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Nose ring confronted us defiantly. ᅠI thought, clean her up a little, give her some decent clothes, sheメd still be ugly as a horned toad.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モThere will be no slaughter of wild pigs today!ヤ she declared Huey Long-like. ᅠAnd they sang, モWe Shall Overcome.ヤ ᅠAnd they sang, モKumbaya.ヤ ᅠAnd they sang, モThe Internationale.ヤᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ With a snort like a sucking drain the giant hog broke weed behind her, clamped its big pig jaws over her right pelvis and dragged her screaming into the brush like a turd-brown submarine tussling with a sucker fish.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ モGo get ムim, Cody Lee!ヤ Ethan sang but I was way ahead of him. ᅠNose ring was screaming, grabbing at trees, slowing that big pig down so I run right up on ムem, laid the muzzle of my .50 Desert Eagle on one little pig eye and let fly. ᅠWhop! ᅠLike to blow a chunk the size of a softball out the back of its head. ᅠIt kept on skittling backwards like some insect part ainメt got the message that the brain is dead.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ So I let ムim have another right through the top of his pig skull, which hit the ground with a thump and let go the PETA person. ᅠShe was pretty well gone by then. ᅠHad to bring an ambulance and Ethan and Ned had to pack her out ムcause there werenメt no roads where we was at.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ They got her in a helo but she died on the way to the hospital.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Now thereメs a play about her. ᅠClyda Rosewoman. ᅠIn Hogzilla, they call her Deirdre Donderosa. ᅠI think sheメs played by Janeane Garofalo.ᅠ
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ Later, we got a backhoe in there and strung that pig up and you can see me and thet hog on my Facebook page. ᅠSince then I have got a shit load of hate mail. ᅠPeople wantinメ to sodomize me with a rhino horn and such. ᅠAll on account I shot thet hog that ムet my sister.
ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ ᅠ
Mike Baron is the creator of Nexus and Badger, two of the longest-lived independent comic book superheroes. ᅠHe woke up one day and found himself writing novels.