29 Jun The story of Banks
It was one of those moments in her life when she knew something was different, but she wasn’t sure what. She had been grazing in this area for almost her entire life and now as she grazed and looked around regularly, she saw a loud thing that went past regularly, about 70 hops away. She lowered her head again to the rare, fresh green moist feed.
Her joey kicked a couple of times. She put her head down and listened to his chirps. Make water time. She hopped towards a small grove of the tall brown and green things that she sometimes used to hide her and the brand-new life she was building. She looked up again.
The loud thing was stopped, and a human got out with a stick, and pointed it to her. It was interesting she thought and watched as the stick followed her movement. Again, her new life kicked. Again, she looked up. A flash of light.
And she wasn’t.
The human realised he had done a bad thing as he noted the joey kicking in the wallaroo’s pouch. “Shit” he said. His old eyes were screwing up again. He didn’t like to kill does, because if she had a joey, he had to take it to the carers in the village, and as much as he liked them, their disapproval weighed on him.
He reached into the pouch and removed the kicking squealing joey. Not much bigger than his hand really. He put it in the bag the carers had given him for when he screwed up.
He appreciated them because they had taught him a lot about living and working with the wildlife, the natural inhabitants of the land he called home, and which fed him and his family. But their disapproving looks whenever he brought a joey to them, were hard to live with at times. Before the carers moved to the village, he would have swung the joey, tiny and defenceless, into the wheel of his land cruiser. The way the shooters did. The way the Department of Environment & Science recommended. Smashing its tiny skull and scattering blood and brains over himself and the car. But he couldn’t bring himself to do that now.
The joey called again, a quiet, sad mewling, for its dead mother.
Slowly, he was learning to listen to the animals he slaughtered, and slowly he was hearing the carers calls for him to stop, before they were all gone, including this beautiful, sad wallaroo.