Having only just moved there, I longed to learn about my new hometown and create a few friendships. I attended every lecture, mixer, and meet-up. I was at networking events for programmers despite having only a vague familiarity with the term, ‘reboot.’ I crashed sailing club meetings despite a fear of water, and there I was with the scientists; riveted to every factoid they related about golden-cheeked warblers and feral pigs.
Late that evening beneath an ebony sky, I walked the dog – actually we were propelled along the dimly lit streets by a constant wind. No lightening, no thunder, but there was a definite storm brewing. The walk had been more like Olympic speed racing as she dashed from shrub, to boulder, to tree. Then I heard it… a single, guttural grunt that sent a chill down my spine. I slowly turned and there in the spot light cast by a street lamp, it stood squarely. It wasn’t that tall, but it was that wide.
I twisted the dog’s leash around my hand a few times so she had no choice but to heal. Her ears slicked back, her head dropped to shoulder level; she’d spotted it. A swift visual recon of my surroundings showed there was nowhere to hide. Aim between the eyes, that’s what the scientists had said, but I didn’t have a weapon so I grabbed a garden gnome from a stranger’s yard. If the worst case scenario came, I would smash the gnome over the pig’s snout, perhaps confusing him long enough to escape. Sure, that was completely reasonable.
We moved closer, one foot in front of the other. We crept forward, about 3 feet as the seconds ticked by (in synch with my pulse pounding in my head). Then, in a blur, it crossed the street diagonally – so suddenly and quickly that I yelped, tripped over the dog and almost lost my gnome-of-protection as my nemesis came to rest a few feet from me.
This large, angry feral pig was nothing more than a big, black, filled-to-capacity trash bag made kinetic by the brewing storm. Sometimes knowledge is power. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.