Living Right?

in OCD9 months ago

Living Right?


The newborn in the photograph is in quite the predicament; falling from its nest but clinging to life. Its only hope rests in mama or papa discovering it before it falls, or it dies in the sun. It’s beaten death once. Its only chance at continuing to survive at this moment though, is its grasp on the old, stringy piece of bark, which is likely just hanging there itself, waiting to fall.

It’s avoided death, but it’s still facing death. If mama or papa can’t rescue it soon, it will die, without a doubt.

This is nature we’re looking at here, and nature and the things that naturally happen to wildlife in nature, is, at times, brutal. In this case however, the baby, for whatever reason, got a reprieve, and although the reprieve may be short-lived, the fact that it got one, beats the odds.

This reminds me of a time when I was a child of seven or eight, and happened upon a grotesque scene; the scene was quite “Flaubert-like.”

It was my farm friend and playmate, a kid named Randall that everyone called Randy, and his dad was a farm co-owner. Lenny, (his dad), was also one of a number of drivers who delivered milk and other dairy products to customers via existing daily delivery routes.

One day, I looked for Randy, to see what he wanted to do. I entered the small barn where heifers, cows that were dry, and calves and their mothers were kept; it was also where farm animals were shot. Randy was in there, over in a corner where a big barrel was, and he was hitting something with a rock.

Approaching him, I was shocked, seeing that he had five baby birds he’d apparently gotten from a nest; he was using the rock to crush their heads. Randy wasn’t someone I feared at all, but I didn’t know what to say to him. I do remember asking him why he was killing the little baby birds, but I also remember that he seemed to be enjoying it; the whole scene seemed crazy.


In Gustave Flaubert’s “The Legend of Saint Julian the Hospitalier,” Julian, as a child, did something similar. Almost fainted. From the pleasure of killing a pigeon.


That’s how Randy was; like he was enjoying killing those innocent, defenseless baby birds so much he couldn’t help himself. I wouldn’t kill anything; I felt it was wrong to kill something just to kill. When I got interested in hunting, I’d only hunt one animal. That happened to be wild turkey… not an easy “hunt.” A real challenge.

We moved when I was fourteen. In the years after, I didn’t see Randy at all, as I worked at a steel mill for a short time after high school, and then enlisted in the army. Got out and got married. Then, out of nowhere, I heard Randy killed himself. Damn.

He just walked into a lake until he disappeared, and never resurfaced.

Living Right? © free-reign 2020


Sentence order:

18, 19, 4, 31, 8, 14, 23, 28, 26, 22, 25, 13, 26, 21, 27, 16, 29, 17, 2, 7, 20, 15, 11, 10, 3, 6, 30, 5, 9, 1, 12

This is my entry to The 31 Sentence Contest Round 22 by @tristancarax. It is a contest based on creating a story with 31 sentences exactly in order, and each sentence has a set number of words to be written. For more information on joining the challenge see this post:

Thanks for reading!


Sources for images used in this post:

(Public Domain photos are from Wikimedia Commons)

Baby Bird (Contest Prompt): Image by @tristancarax
St Julien/Julian: Image by FredSeiller / CC BY-SA


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Damn that was really impactful. Very well written, the tone works so well, and I really enjoyed how it came together and hits at the end. Life seems so fragile, and yet it carries on.

I really liked the pairing of reaction to seeing Randy kill baby birds, and then hearing about Randy taking his own life years later. There is something that seems well matched between the two scenes.

Thank you! This isn't fiction and the only made-up part is that Randy's real name wasn't Randy. The way he ended his life was so strange. The only thing I can think, since I wasn't there, was that he had weighted himself down somehow, that he wouldn't be able to remove, because IMO, even if one wants to die, I think our natural will for survival would force us to the surface to breathe in some air.

I was a bit concerned once at another, earlier time when we were little, and I was looking for him, and I got near where he happened to be and I heard him talking to himself, crying and saying things like, "Just wait... I'll show her," which I thought must've been a referral to his mother. His dad was a jolly guy who never got mad, but his mom was a real meanie.

His death, some said, had to do with the fact his wife (who I never met) had left him. I think his life was really troubled somehow by the way things were in his home life growing up.

Reading it, felt like sitting down and someone recounting a memory to me. That is some real food for thought. I feel like there is a certain degree of will power and acceptance, you have to really want it to go through with it to be able to. Even just walking into the water like that. (In a way part of me feels like if someone wants out that badly, does anyone have a right to stop them, to make them keep suffering? It's a hard thing because for most people time could've made all the difference. But that's me getting side tracked.)

I think his life was really troubled somehow by the way things were in his home life growing up

It sounds like he didn't have it easy, kids needs to be able to count on their parents. Sadly i guess its probably the case for plenty of people, lives shaped, or twisted, by how things were at home.

This is more impressive for being true, to be able to recount it like this, in the sentence structure, only able to include so much.

Damn. That was pretty heavy.

When I was staying with my mother about eight years ago, I was on the wooden balcony, a bottle of wine in one hand, with a kid I'd met from around the small town of Baggs, WY. I looked across the field to where the slaughterhouse, closed for the night, was and there were three kids walking up to the pigs outside holding cell. As I was watching, I saw one kid raise his hand and swing down multiple times right where a pig's head would be.

That blew my top immediately! I rushed over and demanded that they leave. Of course, a neighbor who wasn't friendly to me in the least said that she was watching the kids and saw them do nothing wrong. First off, I didn't believe her because then she would have seen what I saw because her place was right there next to the slaughterhouse. She was only "protecting" the kids.

The cops were called, not on the kids but on me. Nothing happened further from there except that the person who owned the unfenced, small field that I had to cross to get to slaughterhouse ended up putting up signs that read: NO trespassing. The cops even showed me paperwork that said if I did it again, I'd be taken away.

I do wonder what that kid's life at home was like. He had that looked of "I don't give a fuck; they're going to be slaughtered anyway."

This town also had a rumor going around about me. The rumor was that I went and through blood on three different churches and did some demonic rituals to seal their fates. I will neither confirm nor deny this fabricated rumor. Bwahaha!!!

I looked up Baggs in Wikipedia, and it looks like some of the outlaws from the old west spent some time in that area, and some got hanged there.

I guess some people are incapable of having empathy, even for humans, let alone animals. You did the right thing of course, and the old lady sided with the abusers just to spite you, because she didn't like you. That's pretty crummy!

Definitely, if the town is mostly "church people" that have it out for someone, they'll go all out on that person while hiding their own inappropriate acts, and make things rough for them.

Maybe he upped the challenge kill the fishies on their own turf?

LOL, that's a very witty and potentially spot on observation! He used to fish in a pond on the farm property, and he'd catch crappie-bass, then he'd fling his pole back and forth, smacking the fish on the ground behind him, and on the water in front of him, until it was good and dead. There was something wrong with him, I think, and he couldn't detect when he was doing evil things.


|Wow quite disturbing - but well written - I hope you helped that poor little bird

I would save any animal if I could, but I think with most birds, if their babies are touched by a human, the parents will smell it and they will reject them. Thank you!

Birds don't have a great sense of smell. It seems to be a myth that birds don't care for their young after being touched by humans.


Not always - I put some birds back in the nest with my gloves and they were fine - I will not be able to just leave it

I didn't know that gloves would work. I'll certainly try then if I have the opportunity to save one. Thanks for the advice!

You have garnered support from the @bananafish community. We appreciate your fine work and hope that you will continue to produce awesome content for us to feast our minds on.

Thank you @bananafish community!