A Pig Grows In Brooklyn
And then when the cherries came out the squirrels and birds ate them. So last week she had the crack-addled, chain-smoking, dentally-challenged tree surgeon who cut down her long-dead ailanthus (hail, ailanthus) earlier in the year come back, and he and his crew made quick work of the tree. Because I had loved the tree and wanted to mourn its passing I forced myself to watch as they severed the last and tallest bough and cut the trunk down to the stump. My downstairs neighbor, Chris, participated in the mourning ritual, too, by sending photos of the tree to our other neighbors who'd also loved it. For days we looked out our back windows at the spot where the tree had been and felt really bad. It had been a bad week anyway: first the tree, then Virginia Tech, and then Sludgie the Whale died in the Gowanus.
Yesterday afternoon my husband, David, was looking out the kitchen window as I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom.
"Oh my God," he said. "There's a pig running around back here."
Sure enough, there was a big grey-black pig rooting around in the yard next to the yard that's next to crazy-tree-cutting-bitch's yard (can you picture that?). Several people stood on the deck looking down on it, bemused. Chris and his partner Jack were in the backyard, sitting in chairs, oblivious to the pig action going on near them. I called Chris on his cell. He and Jack climbed on a bench, looked over the fences, and saw it, too.
When we ran into Chris and Jack later in the building, as we were going out to a concert at BAM, they told us they'd gotten the story: the woman who lives in the house had been on vacation somewhere about ten years ago and found a four-month old piglet. She'd brought it back to Brooklyn with her and tried to get various parties to adopt it, but all had told her they'd euthanize it. So she raised it herself. The funny thing was, for years we'd been hearing strange sounds coming from that house -- like some kind of mad parrot/changeling. Chris and I imagined some helpless half-man, half-parrot/changeling bound to a wheelchair, and so we named it The Pigman. Little did we know it was a pig. We'd never been able to see into that yard because of crazy-tree-cutting-bitch's beautiful, opulent, prolific cherry tree next door, with its profusion of blossoms in the spring, its thick cover of leaves in the summer, and its trunk (and the shadow of its trunk) in the fall and winter. The removal of the tree revealed an interesting story.
I still miss the tree, but I really enjoy watching the pig . . .