Monday, May 2, 2022

Microstory 1876: Necessary Work

Gross things don’t bother me, and they never did. I don’t remember how old I was, but there was one time when we walked in to find a dead rodent in our classroom. It was just a single room back in those days, if you can believe it. We all just learned together, I don’t know how we got anything done. Anyway, our teacher was afraid. He probably would have had us conduct our lessons outside that day if it wasn’t the middle of winter. That’s probably why the animal crawled its way in there in the first place. Though I suppose it didn’t do him much good. Something had to be done about it, and I was the only one willing. The other kids stayed away from me starting that day. You would think they would be grateful that I handled it like a champ, but I guess that level of graciousness is just not something you can expect from a child. It doesn’t matter, the ostracization didn’t bother me none. I made it out of my small town. I made a new life for myself in the city. I had a few jobs here and there; all of them fit for a lady, even though that’s not how I would ever characterize myself. One night, I was riding in the passenger seat with the boy who was courting me when a deer ran out into the road, and got herself hit. She was bleeding and convulsing, and like the rodent, something had to be done. Once again, I was the only one capable. I grabbed a tire tool from his truck, and bashed it over the deer’s head to put it out of its misery. And of course, just like before, the guy was more freaked out than appreciative. He drove me back into town, and never called me back. But I didn’t care, because this was how I found my calling.

We left the deer on the side of the road, but I didn’t want it to rot there permanently, so I walked myself to the animal control center. I told the guy what had happened, and he said he would take care of it. It’s not that I didn’t believe him, but I wasn’t sure I trusted him, so I demanded he take me back out there right this very minute. Well, he couldn’t leave the place unoccupied, so I agreed to wait until someone else returned. Then we did go out there. He lamented that I severely undersold how large the animal was, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I could help him load up the carcass. He said that was against protocol, so I asked him if my being there at all was protocol, so he gave in, and let me help. To my surprise, we drove the thing out to a bird sanctuary, so the meat wouldn’t go to waste. I mean, it wouldn’t have gone to waste in the wild—something would have turned it into its meal—but I liked that they had a way of disposing roadkill responsibly, instead of just tossing it away like garbage. I was sick of being a secretary, so I asked for a job, and as hesitant as the bossman was, my new friend vouched for me, and I started a couple weeks later. I know that it’s not glamorous work, but someone has to do it, so it may as well be me, rather than some poor little thing who retches at the sight of blood and guts. Not everything about the job is like that, though. We would also get calls for animal abuse and neglect, and that was the part that I hated the most. Animals die, it happens, but there is no reason to take responsibility for a helpless creature if you’re not going to treat it right. So I wouldn’t say I loved every minute of my life, but I always felt useful, and I can die happy. I made pretty decent money, and retired with more than enough to support myself, and my family. Well, that’s about all I have to say for myself. I’m sure you were expecting something more interesting, but some of us just do what we can, and try not to make too many mistakes.

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