There was an odd look on Greg’s face when he and Bob returned from the chicken house. “We took care of some business,” Bob said to the group sitting around the fire pit.

Bob and Greg had been talking about Biodiesel as they strode off under the full moon to check for eggs, so I assumed they had chewed their way through to some kind of processing or testing breakthrough.

“We killed the culprit that was eating the chicken eggs!”

Link, Beth, Caleb and I blinked at each other uncomprehendingly for a moment. Either we had misheard them or they were pulling our legs. “Bob killed a possum with a stick,” Greg explained.

And then the whole story came out. They had stepped into the chicken house to find broken eggs everywhere. Sitting quietly among the roosting hens was a fat possum with egg on its face. Greg poked the possum with a stick but it didn’t want to budge. It bit the stick Bob tried to prod it with. Three times they got the varmint moving towards the door and three times it doubled back.

“We need to shoot it.” Greg said. Bob asked, “Do you have a gun?” There was one at the house. “Do you want it dead?” Bob asked and Greg said, “Yes.”

With that, Bob took the stick and killed the possum. It took about four whacks. Then he picked it up by the tail and walked it out to the woods and flung it. The next day he went looking for the possum, half thinking he had only stunned it and it was still there.

They have a saying in China, “Kill Chicken, Show Monkey” which means, basically to make an example of someone to bring the others into line. As the realization that the possum killing story was true began to sink in, I wavered between revulsion, pride and fear.

And then I vowed not to ever push my husband’s buttons.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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