The Unpheasant

I have been remiss in posting here lately. Okay, more than just lately. A lot has happened…

To be honest, not much has happened. Little Caligula’s birthday passed with no more bloodshed than usual, his babysitter is still in residence and gradually feminising the castle with such luxuries as unbroken windows and staircases with all the stairs in place and all the same height. They take some getting used to. The lack of drafts is making me ill too, so sometimes there are accidental breakages.

I have been occupied in resisting these changes, in avoiding little Caligula’s patricidal tendencies and in dealing with the arrival in the swamp of a group of unpheasants.

These look rather similar to the common edible flying creature known as a pheasant but it’s best not to try to eat them. It’s 50/50 as to who eats who with these things. Even if you win, you still lose. Their flesh is highly toxic. Therefore they have no natural enemies and unless they are eradicated they will breed as if their future depended on it.

The tiny heads suggest a lack of intelligence but in fact their brains reside below the neck, in the bulk of their bodies. Decapitation is not fatal although it deprives them of sight, hearing and the means to eat until it grows back. Since this can take several days, they always return very hungry and in a foul mood.

So far there are only a few, but their numbers will rise in the spring to the point where they could become a serious nuisance – especially if they manage to wipe out the nearby village, Little Shithole in the Swamp. That would result in the closure of the only pub within walking distance, the Throat and Razor. I don’t go there often but when I do, I am always assured of a delightfully silent welcome.

It’s also the only place that you can ever get the fine beer known as Jock McSquirty’s Bowel Purger, when it’s in stock. It’s only available if they can keep Jock sober for long enough to brew a batch. It’s becoming a rare treat indeed.

Getting rid of the unpheasants won’t be easy. Poisoning something that poisonous is futile. It just makes them more toxic. Shooting them just annoys them. Traps followed by bludgeoning them into a pulp, while wearing full body protection, seems the way forward on this problem.

It is tempting to see if they can finish off the Ferals and the Slimy Swamp Thing before I eradicate them, but that kind of thinking can be problematic. If I let them breed, even for a year, it could result in the replacement of the Ferals with something much worse.

Extermination it is to be then, even though it’s a lot of work.

Where are the damn Daleks when they could actually be useful?

4 thoughts on “The Unpheasant

  1. Perhaps you could electrocute the critters?

    Put some food/bait on an old wire-mesh bed frame that’s wired to the mains? Or make up a gladiator’s trident with insulation round the handle and the exposed ends of 20m of 2-core flex soldered to the prongs. Heck you could even treat *that* as sport; and, if you’ve got a surviving mate, have a competition?

    • I rather think that the Unpheasant could make quite a good game-shooting species, if a few minor preparations were made. Birds generally feed by stuffing themselves silly and storing this food in their crop, then flying away and digesting this food somewhere safer. I therefore think that this habit could be used to greatly facilitate a little sport, and given that their brains are in their bodies in passably close proximity to their digestive tract, an idea occurs to me.

      What we do is start with common household ingredients. To a carefully-prepared mixture of concentrated nitric and sulphuric acids, we carefully add shredded cotton wool; cellulose in other words. Once fully nitrated and the acid washed away, this should be dissolved in alcohol and carefully moulded into a passable imitation of whatever fruit unpheasants quite like to eat.

      Next, a quantity of Loperamide, a gut paralytic drug used for treating diarrhoea should be coated onto this bait; the purpose is not to quell a poorly stomach but to greatly diminish the flow of the unpheasant’s gut.

      Finally, the bait needs to be put out where the unpheasants may find it interspersed with real examples of what the bait is imitation, thinly scattered with the nitrocellulose bait occurring in small piles. The intent is that a hapless unpheasant will happen upon tasty food, then find a small pile of it and greedily guzzle the lot. It will then, if sated, depart to roost and digest this gargantuan meal, but will be prevented from doing so by the gut paralytic agent. It will therefore sit around on its roost, stuffed silly and unwilling to move.

      A perfect target for the sportsman, out with his trusty high-velocity punt-gun. Nitrocellulose is a fairly unstable explosive, and a good hard shot amidships from a few dozen grains of lead at healthy velocity will touch it off quite nicely. If the unlucky unpheasant is sitting in company, a chain reaction may even occur!

      • An excellent choice for the sportsman.

        However, the prankster may prefer a dusting of nitrogen triiodide in & around the feeding area.

  2. I sense a money-making opportunity here, to be honest. Capture the Unpheasants with whatever means works well, then determine some method of rendering them comatose for a long period of time; radioactives may do the trick, though you may have to resort to red mercury.

    Once comatose, sell the damn things online as “McDume’s Migratory Vegan Swamp-ducks”, and only dispatch to overseas addresses, using airtight packaging to keep the unpheasant relatively calm through oxygen starvation whilst in transit. Be certain to state that the return address is somewhere in Brussels or Strasbourg.

    Be certain to put a premium price-tag on these things, and to state that you sell to only verified, carefully chosen buyers. As these will actually only be the mugs prepared to stump up a few hundred quid up front for this rare and unique delicacy, selected for stupidity and more money than sense, this is easy to do.

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