Tag Archives: crime

Shrieking in the night

I’m beginning to wonder if writing murder mysteries is drawing death closer to me. Just the other day, someone living in the house behind me was murdered. The “perp” as those hard-boiled detective people say, probably walked right through my back yard – the police marked his path with red flags and they are still there, weeks later, highlighting the walk or run of someone leaving the house. They rang at the next door apartment building to tell someone to call 911 about the body. We haven’t heard much more than that, but it does make the fog, as it settles into the ravine behind my house, seem terribly appropriate. And gooey.
For the last couple of nights, I’ve been wakened to the sounds of some animal being murdered behind me. The first night I couldn’t place the shrieks – they were metallic, unidentifiable, alien. I fully expected to see blue-green lightning shooting all over the place.

Aside: why is it we always see aliens as green or blueish or pale? Surely they could be any other colour. Personally I prefer the grim grossness of your average Vogon to those alien bubbleheads. Though perhaps I am blinded by their poetry.

In any case, the shrieks continued last night. It didn’t sound like a cat fight, didn’t sound like a fox attack. My mind spiralled into the most interesting dreams tied to the sound – you know, those dreams you have in a second that seemingly go on forever? They weren’t pleasant.

Today I learned that the sound was a coyote, fighting with a cat or racoon. We have a coyote out in our ravine, wandering along, probably eating my dear shouting pheasant (come to think of it, I haven’t heard him lately), clearing up the neighbourhood cat riff raff.

It’s in one way enchanting to think that there is a wild predator in my backyard.

But, like the human murderer, I think its motives are not pure. I think it’s thinking malevolent hunting-type thoughts, malevolent only because, as with the murderer, they aren’t right in this setting. I know coyotes and men can kill. Sometimes we even like them to, as when we are overrun by rabbits or terrorists and need to clear some of them out.
But they are necessarily a violent, brutal part of life.

A part of me doesn’t want to think about them.

But then I take out my pen and paper or put my fingers on the keyboard, and out they come, creeping across the page on the hunt, quietly, quietly, until they spring out and take their prey.
Somewhere, in all of us, a darkness hides. With my MS, sometimes the filter between that darkness and my normally charming personality becomes leaky.

It’s a good thing I can write my feelings out. As in the disastrous parenting manual we tried to use for our kids, it helps to draw your anger.

If only coyotes could hold a crayon…

Little Rabbit Foo Foo

“running through the forest, scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head…”

I’m feeling disconcerted. Angry. A bit scared.

Apparently there is someone going through the downtown market here in Ottawa, sneaking up on women, and hitting them on the head.  With a hammer. In the middle of the day.


The purpose is unknown.  The women aren’t robbed or molested, just struck on the head. For some reason this bothers me most of all.  It seems like pointless violence (well, most violence is pointless, true), but I am puzzled and alarmed that this is happening, and also that it has been happening for some time and the police have just thought to notify us now.

I’m angry because their response is to tell women not to wear IPODs and to keep aware of who may be following them. Once again, it’s up to women to guard themselves from men, not up to men to stop beating up on women. It’s hard not to get frustrated with this.  Already we women are counselled not to walk alone in the dark, not to walk alone on bike paths, not to live alone in first floor apartments, not to drive long distances alone, not to speak to strangers, not to dress in a “tempting way” (defined differently depending on religious position), etc. etc., etc. as the King of Siam would say.

Now we are not to listen to music while walking in broad daylight in a busy market area? Come ON.  Where will it end? Perhaps that is the motivation for this man’s attacks – to start more fear amongst women. What will he do when just hitting the women once isn’t enough? Who else will think this is a fun idea, now that it’s hit the press? And why the hell are we paying increasing amounts for policing when this sort of thing is allowed to go on?

I’m tired of it.  In winter, I’m tired of feeling that frisson of danger whenever the sun sets and I’m out walking alone (or with my fierce protection poodle Chutney, who can growl up a storm). I’m fed up with a lifetime of restricted activity just because SOME men are knobs and some police are not doing their jobs. I’m tired of men just not understanding this restriction because they don’t ever ever think about it, where we women have to have it in the corners of our minds all the time.

I’m a pretty fearless gal, but I’ve got to admit the thought of some guy sneaking up on me and whacking me on the head with a hammer in the middle of the day is disconcerting. It makes me wish for a Good Fairy.


“Little Rabbit Foo Foo
Running through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head!
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said:
“Little Rabbit Foo Foo
I don’t wanna see you
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head!
I will give you three chances,
And if you don’t behave, I will turn you into a Goon!”  (hare today, goon tomorrow, har har har)