All the best stories are but one story in reality – the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.

-A. C. Benson

Walter and Flo Before the Snow

Yes…the pigs are still with us. The first slaughter date was December 2nd. Those of you in the know may realize that December 2nd is my birthday. When Cory *remembered* the significance of the day, he called and changed the date of the appointment. A week later, the night before the rescheduled big day, Cory’s father fell 26 feet out of a tree while deer hunting. He broke a hip, a shoulder-blade, a clavicle and 11 ribs. Needless to say, we’ve all been a little busy and the pigs got lucky. Cory and I, well, mostly Cory, built them a snug new house and we filled it with hay to keep them warm. Now it seems like they will be with us forever.
Last week Cory decided to take the pigs for a walk. He wanted them to see something of the world before they were slaughtered.  This was on the advice of his father, morphine-addled from his hospital bed. The fact that Cory followed it, is an entirely different matter. When the man you love looks up at you with genuine innocence while fiddling with an electric fence so he can let a 300 pound pig “out”, you fully comprehend the meaning of the word apprehension.
During this first incident, only Walter made the leap to freedom. Flo, neurotic as always, stayed behind and squealed while Walter, realizing there was nothing stopping him, took off at a gallop down the driveway. Cory thought this was great! Walter’s first taste of freedom! He must  be so happy! To me he looked more manic than anything, but who am I to judge the emotional life of another species? We were able to get him back without too much fuss, but for the rest of the day, and I do mean the entire day, Walter stood staring intently at the spot in the fence Cory had loosened for him.
Both Cory and his father were very pleased by this first “free-range” pig trial. Then yesterday when I arrived home after an hour and a half of grocery shopping, there were tracks in the freshly fallen snow that had not been there when I left. They were cloven, like a deer, and alongside were larger, human-shaped prints. There was even a spot where the two tracks seemed to collided as if, for just the briefest of moments, the human had become air-bourne and then was dragged several feet before being unceremoniously released.
When I got up to the apartment, one look at a sheepish Cory, told the rest of the tale. It had been a jail-break pure and simple. Walter was ringleader with Flo squealing along behind. At first Cory had thought they would come back of their own accord. After about 15 minutes, he decided he’d better give chase. I sincerely wish I had been there. With my camera. Apparently it took an hour but they were finally corralled back onto their acre.
I keep asking Cory when we’re going to get the pigs “done”, and he keeps assuring me he’s going to call when he “gets a chance”. We’re all in a bit of a pickle concerning the little beasts. I love them and I don’t want to eat them, but I still eat pork products with nary a thought. I sometimes realize mid-bite that I’m eating an animal that I admire on a social, and dare I say, spiritual level.  I can’t seem to connect pork with pigs and Cory has had the same revelation. Maybe it will take actually eating pigs we know to permanently connect the meat with the animal.
I had a dream the other night that Walter had learned to say my name. “Jenny.” When I asked why he had picked that particular word to learn, he explained that in light of the circumstances (looming pig slaughter) he felt that was a good place to start. It was all very disconcerting.

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