I gazed down upon him, hatchet in hand, waiting for him to attack. His movement would be my cue to deal the death blow.
My inner Katniss Everdeen yelled, “Kill him! Skin him and wear his pelt as a hat!”
Our standoff lasted forever–or at least five minutes.
“This will be epic,” my inner twelve year-old said. “I’m going to take on the oppossum and win this time. No more sending him next door to oppossum heaven. I’m going to bloody this hatchet and win against my inner pacifist and I’ll take care of this ‘possum so he never ever ever comes back.”
(My inner twelve year-old enjoyed Gary Paulson books. Especially Hatchet.)
The adult me said, “I can grab the live trap and fill it with kitty food and he’ll get trapped and I can go on with my day.”
The adult me panicked.
“Then what?” She asked. “What will I do with this oppossum? I can’t keep sending them next door to Mike. I’m sure he already believes me to be a Wuss (with a capital W.) The ponies are babied here and we treat them more like kids than livestock (because I firmly believe horses are not livestock. They’re pets and/or super-sized furbabies.)
“So what then, genius?”
My inner twelve-year old wavered. Katniss pushed for a swift death. The adult me begged for guidance.
They all got together and made a decision.
“We’re gonna poke him with the hatchet!” they squealed in glee. “If he bites it, we’ll know he’s really a mean oppossum and we should definitely kill him.”
My tentative poke on his gumline turned into a stroke along his back. He hissed, then latched his gaze on to me.
“Don’t kill me,” his hiss said. “Don’t kill me. I have ten little oppossum babies at home I need to feed.”
I sighed in defeat.
I don’t live in a post-apocalyptic world. I don’t have to fight twenty-three other tributes to live. My airplane didn’t crash in the middle of the wilderness, killing off the pilot and leaving me alone to fight nature.
I love nature.
The cage it is.