Friday, May 20, 2011

The Meany of Frank

In the book Owen Meany the tiny and mysterious protagonist makes the narrator endlessly practice flinging him skywards to dunk a basketball.

At the end of the book, when the same, now effortless action is speedily employed to dispose of a ticking bomb seconds before it kills people in an airport, the reader suddenly realise what the odd Owen Meany is on the earth to do – and that he's known it all along, one way or the other.

When Frank killed His first baby rabbit in friston Forrest yesterday, in front of three of us on bikes, I had a similar realisation.

I tussled with emotion.
He runs at his fastest when he's chasing rabbits and squirrels. And I love to watch him run. So I've never dissuaded him, for the good it would have done.
But although I knew it was a possibility, he's never caught anything before. And I sort of assumed he wouldn't do anything with it if he did, more than a nuzzle a bit.

But he picked it up and shook it like he's been doing with that toy rope in the garden for months. Exactly like that. Exactly like Owen. It was practice. Shook it dead.

As we peddled on, after I'd made him drop his prize and tried not to be angry, happy or too much of anything with him, there was silence. The death of anything is not nice to witness, and a young rabbit with all its innocence and cuteness, I've realised, is a loss a soul feels sharply. It's not at all nice.

The fox might have got that rabbit, I said to Adam.
Or another dog, said Adam.

Frank looked for the next.

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