Wednesday, July 18, 2007

1000 memories: first and last murder

In the utility room next to the kitchen in our little semi-detached house, the kittens lay sleeping. Their eyes were not yet open, their tiny mouths opening and closing in sleep. The smell of mother’s milk pervaded the air. I was 6. In puerile fascination, I picked up one of the kittens by the tail and swung it round and round. Then, in an instant, the shiny fur slipped through my fingers. The baby cat went splat against the wall.

I picked up the lifeless body, cradled the fragile, broken head, and let out a cry. Mom came in and asked what had happened. I lied and said I had found the kitten there. The guilt and shame over that one life lost is, on a subtle level, with me still. No human has the right to take another sentient being’s life.


Anonymous,  6:46 pm  

C'est moi encore, Anonymous. First, let me say this, i really really like you. Your blog is my new and current obsession. HOWEVER. is this your story, or is this somthing you came across that had some sort of appeal and you wanted to share for some reason? Because, i know/think you're English, and somehow, i dont think you'd say "Mom"... it'd be "Mum", or face it "Mummy" if you were 8. Secondly, when i was in college in the States, my Palestinian roommate's Spanish boyfriend Juan Jose's psychotic brother came to visit and he and his brother told me this looong convoluted tale about how they'd found this cat in the alley back home in Madrid and how somehow, they'd stoned it and skinned it in the bathtub (and maybe hung it out to dry)and everytime i hear something about a serial killer on the moors who's killing prostitutes ,or old ladies ,or children being sent to buy cigs from the cornershop, i think about Juan Jo and his brother, and whether Anita who he eventually married is still alive...

Anonymous,  9:10 pm  

Once I left one of my 5 cats outside in the rain overnight.

A few days later (after days of what my incompetent vet called 'feline pneumonia'), the cat died.

I was 10 years old. 11 years later, I still feel guilty!

Afolabi 11:37 pm  

sentient-u made me google this word... So no animal even an ant should be killed. How will we eat meat??? Are you vegatarian or vegan??

Jeremy 12:10 am  

My dear anonymous (I have an inkling who you are- but I may be wrong). The story is mine alas. I killed a kitten 31 years ago. Now I'm vegan. Perhaps the two events are connected, perhaps not.

I'm not sure what kind of English people you know, but I have always said mom not mum. Mum is just a little bit too cosyposy middle class for me and my working-class-background parents. Mom is more commonly used amongst middle and lower classes; mum being more haute-bourgoise (yes - everything is class coded in the UK - even flowers). People who had paid education say mum.

The second part of your comment is pure yukity yuk. It reminds me of a friend of a friend back in schooldays who apparently hung his pet guinea pig on the washing line and targeted a magnifying glass on the poor thing.

Vanilla 1:01 pm  


My over active mind is in fifth gear. Isn't this how Serial Killers start?

Kill insects, progress to lizards then mice and the family!

Ted Bundy?

wienna,  2:35 pm  

I need to send RSPCA after u.

Anonymous,  3:52 pm  

Mom is an Americanism. I have NEVER heard any English person say Mom.

Jeremy 3:58 pm  

Last anonymous - sorry you are wrong. Mom is more common than mum in the UK in my experience.

Anonymous,  5:43 pm  

All depends on what you view as a sentient being....

Is a foetus a sentient being, hence is abortion seen as murder?

When do we draw the line, if we shoudln't eat Kittens then we should all be vegetarians as we shuold eat cows, goats, chickens or fish either...

In the end we are all animals and we eat other animals as we have used technology to climb to the top of the food chain... A lion for instance woudn't say oh no lets not eat him he's intelligent!!

My first kill was an ant i believe and i felt some remorse, after that none at all, i guess that is the same with killing people yuo just get used to it...

Just read a long way gone..some boy soldier book i'd advise everyone to check it out...we have some serious work to do back home!

Anonymous olu

Mike,  6:17 pm  

Mom, in my well travelled experience, is very rarely used in the UK and certainly not the north west where if you want an alternative to Mum it is usually Ma or Mam.

This might clarify it though. Certainly I would suggest that Mom is very much in minority usage in the UK.

Your reply to anonymous is somewhat patronising in this matter and do I detect a hint of inverted snobbery?

Jeremy 6:27 pm  

well Mike that just goes to show that Mum is not the dominant form. Certainly in my travels around the UK Mum is not any more common than Mom, and where I grew up (the Midlands), mom was more popular than mum.

Mum just doesn't seem right to me.

Fred 7:44 pm  

You were a right little savage, weren't you, boy? ;-)

"No human has the right to take another sentient being's life."



In self-defense and in defense of others in the gravest extreme.

Or for food.

Now, go and do likewise, little killer.

Anonymous,  7:54 pm  

No pun intended, eh Jeremy? Or the title of your memoirs? :) Just joshing. Lets hear about this inkling then, in a not too obvious single word, Clever Clogs...

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