I: Pigs Can Really Move
As he pulled into his driveway after work, Matt saw right away something didn’t look right. He parked his truck and walked across the road. First he noticed his newspaper tube was lying on the ground. He’d had it mounted on a steel fence post—the kind you string barbed wire on. The post was now bent flat. Then he looked out into the field and saw fresh tire tracks that led about twenty yards and stopped. At the end of the tracks he saw an old wooden trailer busted up beyond repair. He started to put it together. The trailer had run over his post and newspaper tube. Four or five kids began surrounding him.
“Hey, what happened here?” Matt asked the kids.
“That trailer ran over your post, mister,” the biggest kid said.
“Yeah, I see that, but where did it come from?”
“It came unhitched from an old pickup came through here couple minutes ago.”
“And they didn’t stop to get their trailer?”
“Naw, it ain’t worth nothin’, now.”
“Well, what was in the trailer?” Matt asked
“Pigs,” the biggest kid said.
“Then what happened to the pigs?” Matt asked.
“Aw, they all took off into the woods.”
As he pulled up the post and tried to straighten it, Matt wondered where the pigs might be by this time. He knew they could run a lot faster than most people thought. But it was none of his affair.
Then on the 31st October:
II: Pigs Again
Matt read about the huge pig farms in the Midwest and the lawsuits over their odor. His first experience with pigs came when he talked to a neighbor about an easement. The neighbor was in his hog shed so Matt had to talk to him there. He got within thirty feet when it hit him—a palpable smell, like a wall. Matt choked and could barely take another breath. He stopped and waited for the guy to come out. His neighbor had about ten pigs, but he’d been cleaning the shed and had disturbed the straw on its floor. He also had manure on his boots. So Matt had a tough time talking to him. Someone had said the farms in the Midwest smelled like sulfur and ammonia. It wasn’t like either of those, though. He just associated it with pigs and would never forget it. He couldn’t imagine how a farm with tens of thousands of hogs on it would smell.
Later, another neighbor, who lived across the road, began raising fifty or sixty pigs. The smell filled up the twelve-acre field between their houses. Matt kept the windows shut tight. It made no difference. The smell insinuated itself around his windows and under his doors. Fortunately, the pig-raising neighbor lost money at it and never tried it again.
If he ever considered moving to the Midwest, Matt knew he’d have to research carefully to assure no pig farmers lived nearby—as in a nearby county.