“This is war,” said Damien yesterday.
Yesterday, we heard the shooting. Like the muffled sounds of handguns fired in liquor stores, it went on all morning. We thought for a moment that we were back in Baltimore.
Pow… pow… pow… at intervals of an hour or more each time.
“How’s the campaign going?” we asked at lunchtime.
Damien stood at the door of the library, with a large smile on his face. He wore his green overalls. And since the weather was so bad, he had on his cap with the large earflaps hanging down. The overall effect was of a big, friendly dog waiting for a pat on the head.
But this puppy was packing heat. Damien held in his hand a loaded, skeletal gun that looked like it may have been made in a prison shop, out of a license plate, when the guards weren’t looking.
“Not bad. You heard the shots. Each shot; one more dead mole.
“I think I’ve got them all from the front yard. Now, I’m going to attack on the left flank.”
We wondered about his strategy and his artillery.
“Won’t they just come back into the front yard?”
“Yes, but not for awhile. This war never ends. It’s like your war on terror. You can never get rid of the moles entirely, because you can’t kill them all. But if you kill enough of them in the early spring, you’ll be fairly free of them all summer.”
Damien’s war to exterminate the world’s moles goes back years.
“I’ve tried everything. Poison … traps… and just shooting them. Sometimes, I just take my rifle and wait. When I see a pile of dirt welling up, I just go over and shoot right down into it. Not very sporting. That stops them. But this is the best thing…
“This is an anti-mole gun,” he explained, showing off the latest military hardware – an AMD, anti-mole device, as it is likely known in the trade. “You just put the cartridge in like this… and then you cock the trigger… like this… and then you put it in the mole hole. As soon as the mole touches it, he gets it right in the face.”
“Oh… poor thing… ”
“Nah… there’s no bullet. It’s just a charge of gas. Very humane.”
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