The bird landed. Crunch. The baseball bat followed quickly after. Another sparrow came too close and the burly man pivoted, keeping his hands close to his core, pounding the bird into deep left field. Children scampered behind him, scooping the carnage into banker's boxes.
75, 76, 77. 77! That's $19.25!
At a quarter per sparrow, the money wasn't great, but for a handful of the invasive species, one could get a loaf of bread.
The initiative had been welcome by ecologists and nationalists alike. "An English bird has no place in American habitats," one said. "An English bird has no place in America," the other agreed.
There were rumors a man in Missouri was breeding sparrows just to slaughter them. "Horrific," the public was quoted as saying. "Inhumane." Breeding birds just to beat the life out of them.
On one rainy Wednesday dusk, a boy watched seagulls cruising through the downpour. "Do the birds feel the rain?" he asked.