Okay, the little vermin are a problem. They dig up our plants and tunnel under our sidewalks and driveway so much that things are starting to cave in. They’re not cute, Alvin and Theodore with glasses and little coats; they’re a menace. But up until now, we’ve been catching them in a humane trap (probably for squirrels) then driving them a mile away to a park and letting them go. Sure, the houses surrounding the park were probably over-run at this point, but at least we’d be relatively chipmunk free for the summer. Of course, every year they come back, have babies, and we start the trapping all over again.
This, year, though, my wife didn’t want to go the catch-and-release route and decided, instead, to take them out, permanently.
I’m not a hunter. I’ve never been a hunter. I used to fish when I was a kid but lately that seems cruel, too. I’m no vegan; I eat the occasional burger, and chicken, maybe because I don’t see the animal, just a slab of him wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store.
I told everyone that this death bucket idea was cruel and unusual; drowning is not a fun way to die--- if there is a fun way to die. But I didn’t figure they’d ever catch one.
Then I got the phone call. “What do we do? What do we do?” At this point, I figured the chipmunk was a goner, it’d been a few minutes at least. I told her to rescue it but she didn’t want to go near the bucket. I think my son watched it go under. He was upset, too. But neither of them did anything. My daughter was cold about it. I found out later that there were three more little guys already in the bucket sunk to the bottom.
I had the weirdest reaction as my wife gave me the play by play over the phone. Flashes of the poor little thing struggling to tread water like a tiny dog, as its lungs filled up. Then the picture I had in my mind of my father-in-law dying in my spare bedroom. Then tears started to well up. I felt really awful. So did my wife at this point but still she didn’t go to its aid. It was a sad, deflated feeling toward the little guy who just wanted some peanut butter.