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  • Kristan Higgins


Updated: Apr 30, 2022


I was a pretty fanciful child…not in the adorable way, where a little girl might dress up in fairy wings or tell people she’s a mermaid, like my own little princess did, but in the dorky way. Photographic evidence supports that I was in fact quite the awkward child, with unevenly cut hair and thick glasses, on the chubby side of things, corrective shoes. Oh, save your tears! I was happy!


But I used to get these ideas from books that I could do things that really shouldn’t be done. We lived in the woods (still do), and there were many birds around here (still are), including red-tailed hawks. I got it into my head that I could tame one. Yeah! Sure I could! I’d tame it, and then I’d whistle, and it would swoop down and land on my wrist, and how cool would that be, right? (Admit it. You also want a tamed hawk now, don’t you?)


And so I went about taming my hawk, whom I would name Magnificor or Starflash. I started by stealing some frozen hamburger meat from the freezer. I knew that it should be thawed, or else Magnificor/Starflash wouldn’t be able to smell the bloody goodness. Because I couldn’t wait another second to get things moving in the bird-taming department, and because we didn’t have a microwave, I stuck it between my mattress and box spring. And, as happened a lot, I promptly forgot about it.

The next week—yes—my mom said, “Kristan, your room stinks to high heaven. Go clean it!” And she was right! My room did stink, and I could not for the life of me figure out why. Was it some wet sneakers moldering under my bed? Nope. Had one of our Irish setters thrown up somewhere? Nope. What oh what could it be? I was genuinely baffled.

The smell was stronger near my bed. Wait a sec…uh-oh…ick.

Some of the, er, juice had leaked out of the plastic bag of Magnifor’s stash, and the meat was green. Very subtly, I wrapped it up in a towel and threw it in the woods. The smell in my room faded, thanks to a couple of cans of Lysol. I never confessed to my mother until this very blog. I hope she won’t ground me.


And that was the end of my hawk-taming career! Fly, Magnificor! Be free!


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