Where Animals Feed
A rabid fox used to haunt the woods behind Momma’s Detroiter. It sounded like a baby out there screaming. Not crying. Screaming. Most nights I’d hear it going wild in those woods. Momma didn’t mind none. What’d she care about some rabid fox? She figured it’d die just the same without us, long as we let it be.
Anyhow, one Sunday, I heard shooting and hollering coming from back behind the Conley’s double-wide. Momma always hated that the Conley’s had themselves a double-wide when we ain’t. Momma used to say, if Old Miss Conley got herself such a big trailer, how come she gotta let all them cats roam wherever they please, always tearing up our rhododendrons?
I wandered along toward the back of the Conley’s to see what’s the matter and I seen Big Buck Conley shooting his gun off at that rabid fox like dance, fox, dance. The fox jumping this way and that, ducking every shot that Big Buck slung his way. Even then, I knew rabies animals couldn’t think straight and I figured that’s why the fox ain’t just run off. Big Buck stopped to reload and I started hollering at him like what in the hell you doing? It’s just a poor sick fox ain’t doing nobody no harm, but Big Buck must’ve had himself half a jug of liquor that day cause he weren’t giving me no mind. Big Buck got all the rounds in that gun and started firing it off again and again. The fox got damn near an inch from the tree line when bang, one bullet caught it in its hind parts. Big Buck walked on over toward that rabid fox. The fox was crawling, more like dragging itself closer and closer into those woods with its two front legs while Big Buck leaned down, held that six-shooter to the fox’s neck and bang, put a round in the back of its head, blood and bits of skull and brain blowing back all over his shirt and hands. Big Buck picked up that fox by the tail, its body slipping apart at the seams, and walked it over to his burn barrel. I’d had about enough of all that so I ran on back to Momma’s trailer and let the screen door slam behind me.
That night, the moon like a wound, and while Momma was saying Grace over those mini hot dogs I used to like so much, I seen Big Buck in his front yard digging a hole like he was tryna find something. Old Miss Conley was sitting in her wheelchair, fat spilling through the spokes, watching him, her yellow tabby cat on her lap. It weren’t moving none. Same yellow tabby used to dig up Momma’s rhododendrons come spring. Anyhow, Miss Conley was crying and Big Buck threw the shovel down, stepping up out the hole. He took the cat out her lap, bent down toward the hole and I ain’t want to look no more so I just looked down at the six mini hot dogs on my plate that I liked so much and thought about how good they’d taste once Momma finished saying Grace.