(In retrospect, I should have documented this whole anecdote on my phone, via pictures or video. But I didn't. Because I had worn down my phone's battery to a nub-like 20%, and all of my instructions I had to follow were on the phone, and I was afraid the phone would die in the middle of my many tasks. So you will just have to take my word for it.)
So I have a friend who raises a couple of pigs each year to ultimately be turned into various pig-based meats. I appreciate those who are upset by such things (though my appreciation drops substantially if you still eat meat despite your moralistic protests), but I can only assure you that these pigs are treated like royalty up until that time, living their quiet lives in a large field where they can root and wallow to their heart's content. I occasionally help out with various other tasks on this person's farm as required, but aside from a general admiration for pig intelligence and cuteness when they're little, I've not had much actual contact or experience with pigs, aside from occasionally looking at them through a fence. I was a horsey lass, back when I was seriously into Large Livestockian Creatures, and suburban horsey teens tend to not really be into pigs and cows as well, since they do not fit as well into suburban culture and whatnot. But anyways, one day my friend asked me if I could swing by in the afternoon and... Feed the Pigs.
Now, I had not been there in a while so I had not seen this year's piglet duo, aside from adorable pictures on Facebook. Having just seen pigs on another farm that were each the size of a LARGE COFFEE TABLE--and my brain filled with enough horror movie tropes of people falling into pig pens and being trampled and EATEN ALIVE BY GIANT PIGS (sometimes said pigs are TRAINED TO EAT PEOPLE as part of the plot)--I was a wee tad concerned about what I might actually encounter. So I invited the Favorite Husband along, so he could witness firsthand his beloved wife's unfortunate demise, should it come to that.
So let's make it three things I know about pigs--they are smarter than dogs, they are gosh-darned cute as ANYTHING when they are babies, and if they are unhappy they emit the most EAR-PIERCING SCREAMS IMAGINABLE. Everything else I have subsequently learned comes from following the directions on my dying phone while engaging in the task of feeding them. Confident in the knowledge that I was (at least pretty) sure my friend was not actively training them to enjoy the gamey tang of human flesh, I turned on their water tap, picked up their bucket o' food, and trudged down the hill to where the pigs were housed, way in the back forty, as they say. With the Favorite Husband in tow, and consulting my phone every two seconds to make sure I was doing things right.
We could see the pigs as we approached, and I was happy to see they were still in adorable tiny piglet stage, not even up to my knees. They saw us coming, and jumped up and braced their little trotters against the fence as a friendly dog does, and made excited little grunty noises in anticipation of receiving visitors and/or being fed. We patted their little heads over the fence, but I was soon distracted trying to figure out how the water was going to work, since it was like a quarter mile or so of garden hose with possibly two or three different ways to turn the flow on and off, and the water, after our long trek, seemed to be definitely OFF. I put down the food bucket and just surveyed everything for a second, arms akimbo with Purpose and Responsibility.
"The water's not on," I finally said. "We'll have to trace the hose back and see where it's shut off."
Whereupon both of us, me thinking about the water and the Favorite Husband used to jumping to obey orders as I bark them, turned to trace the hose back up the hill. Which BROKE THE LITTLE PIGGIES' HEARTS. Because here's this Strange Lady, carrying the Beloved Food Bucket, only to TURN AROUND AND ABANDON THEM without feeding them.
I have never heard such ear-piercing SQUEALING in my LIFE. I could not have tortured these animals MORE than I did at that moment. I had not even taken two steps away from them and the horrific squealing started. I turned back around and plain as day they were screaming "NO! NO! LADY, DON'T LEAVE US!!! WE NEED TO EAT!!!"
Whereupon the Favorite Husband started laughing. "Looks like you're stuck here feeding them," he said. "I'll go figure out the water." Which he did. And once I picked up the bucket the squealing stopped and everything went right back to friendly happy grunting.
We laughed about those poor pigs for the rest of the weekend. "Oh, look, here comes a nice lady with the bucket--OH NO SHE'S LEAVING US WE ARE GOING TO STARVE TO DEATH COMMENCE SCREAMING--oh, wait, false alarm, here she is again."