It was a bleak Saturday night in Sacramento California and my boyfriend at the time was meticulously cleaning out his truck that while I sat watching television on our worn couch. There was a cat seated comfortably on my lap and the remote in my hand. So far it was a good night.
“Sweetie come out here!” my ex called coming to the open door.
I sighed, wondering if he was going to berate me for leaving something in his truck. My cat protested as I dumped her off my lap; and I threw on some shoes and went outside. He was squatting on his knees peering under his blue Chevy S10.
“Look.” He said.
I bent and looked to find myself eye level with what looked to be a fat rat. I jumped back and cursed as it ran at me. It turned out it was a plump young pheasant. Inside my cat joined by her sister began to maw loudly at the door trying to get out.
“We have to catch the bird so the cats don’t get it.” I decided.
We spent the next hour chasing a fat little bird around our front yard until we were able to corner it and get it inside a small box. We then took the box inside, hoped on the internet and researched the bird’s natural habitat. After about another hour of research we found the perfect place to release the bird. We ended up driving an hour out of Sacramento pulling off the 5-North onto an isolated road adjacent to marshland. We took the bird into the field and opened the box.
Free from its cardboard cage, the bird zipped away into the bushes and me and my ex exchanged smiles as made our way back to the road and our car. We got in and he started the engine, as we pulled onto the road a small brown ball darted out onto the road, and though my ex slammed on his brakes, it was too late and we squished the little pheasant.
Neither of us said anything during the drive home, but one of us had to break the silence as we entered our apartment.
“Natural selection?” I offered.