I Scream, You Scream… the Pig Screams?

Okay, so you’re walking down a quiet street in China, Maine, with your dog. He’s sniffing the mounds of dirty snow and you’re imagining what you might eat for lunch. Out of the blue  – an ear-splitting scream.

It pierces the silence of this rambling country road and raises the little hairs on the back of  your neck. You  look to the right and the left and freeze.

It’s happening again and it’s coming from the farmhouse on the corner.

Of course you think domestic violence.

Let’s face it. This is Maine, and while the state is relatively safe when compared to other parts of the country, it’s a place where domestic violence has an unfortunately solid foothold. You’re not being alarmist – you’re being realistic.

The sound of the scream endures, and it gets under your skin. You’ve got to do something, and fast.

You whip out your cell phone. Your fingers are freezing but you dial 911. You tell them where you are, and what you fear. Someone is getting hurt in that farmhouse.

The cops glide in a silent car. You and your dog stand by the road and watch. They circle the house, hands on their guns, and knock on the door. A woman wearing jeans and a flannel shirt appears. She moves back to allow the police entry and you and your dog wait. You brace yourself:  more screams and maybe gunshots are next.

Instead you hear laughter. That’s right – laughter. The cops are out of the farmhouse and they’re slapping each other on the back and chortling.  You and Leo (cause that’s your dog’s name) wander closer. “Everything okay, officers?” you ask.

“Yeah, yeah,” says one of the cops. He glances at his partner and then cocks his head toward the farmhouse. “Lady raises pigs,” he says. “And she just put a male in with a bunch of horny females. You better believe he’s screaming.”

“Screaming for joy,” adds his partner.

“Huh,” you say, backing away with your dog. It’s an odd feeling – you’re almost disappointed.

OK – so this is a real story here in Maine. Happened in Gerry Boyle’s neck of the woods, and I’ve gone off on a fictitious romp.  A client in New Jersey alerted me to the story. Her email was headed, “Only in Maine.” She’d seen this particular news item on the Huffington Post.

I had to blog to you about it…. perhaps because I’m remembering instances when I was scared silly, and they turned out to be… nothing. Not quite pigs… but nothing.

Experiences like this help inform the crime writer. And so do images.

Take a look… Probably the creepiest painting ever, right?

Somehow I don’t think Edvard Munch was thinking of pigs.

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4 Responses to I Scream, You Scream… the Pig Screams?

  1. Michelle says:

    I laughed so much when I heard this story on the radio. There’s something about those first moments of trying to figure out what’s going on. The initial fear that gets the blood pumping when you assumed the worst. Once the mind gets going on that track, it’s hard to imagine it’s anything else.
    Once while walking my dog in the woods near a residential area, I thought I heard someone yelp. The sound was followed by a male voice shouted to ‘Get back in here’. I worried that someone was being abused or held against their will. I was worried enough that I drove down the road after getting back to my car to see if anything else was amiss. I even considered calling the police, but I had nothing to report other than what I’d heard. Another morning I found a tennis ball near the woods and heard a man calling after his dog.
    It’s funny how the mind plays with you especially when out alone and in the dark. I still startle every time I see the red radio lights in the distance shining through the woods as I crest the hill where I walk my dog. I don’t know what I think it is. But there’s something out of place about it.
    Now if only I could capture that reaction in fiction.

  2. Cynthia Blain says:

    This incident could very well have been something other than pigs. Reporting something like this should be the norm and if something truly is wrong then you definitely did a very good thing, and even if it wasn’t violence or something terrible, you did what you thought needed to be done. Imagine if you had not called the police and someone was being abused/murdered?? It may be laughable due to the situation, but it wouldn’t have been at all funny if the police had found something injured or dead in that home. Don’t ever be afraid to report something that is not normally what we think of as being an okay sound or action. It could possibly save someone’s life next time..

    Thank you for writing this cute story today.


    • Absolutely right, Cynthia. My hope is that if this incident had happened in another state, the screams would have been reported, too. Here in Maine we do reach out to help, and I’m hopeful that same spirit pervades other places.

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