Two days later, Brad shakes me awake. “We got pigs!” he whispers emphatically.
“Pigs?” I ask.
Moments later we’re standing outside the trap we set earlier in the week. The food scraps have been replaced by a pair of black pigs, and as the four of us stare at each other, I wonder, “Now what?”
Our friends soon arrive and get right to work. Before I can process what’s happening, one hands me a knife and asks—no, tells—me that I’m “up first.” I’m motionless as bodies swirl around me, readying the pig. As if mimicking Lopaka’s earlier reaction, my knee starts quivering. I receive the “go for it” nod, and as the animal is pinned against the trap, I slip the blade behind its shoulder, into the heart.
I imagine what our neighbors must think of this early-morning ruckus, then convince myself that they are thankful. They, too, have waked to find uprooted plants and thrashed growing beds. I’m certain they are troubled by the devastation feral pigs cause to our forests and watersheds.
We spend the rest of the day butchering the pigs, whose meat will later be smoked, cured, and barbecued; the less desirable bits turned into dog food. Two fewer pigs are no big deal in the grand scheme of things. For Brad and me, this is major: Our crops are a little more secure, at least for now.
We load the trap with fresh bait—leftover sweets that our friend assures us will keep the hungry animals coming back. Yes, they will be back. But at least now, we’re ready for ’em.