It was almost dark when I finally laid Harold’s neck across the chopping block. For his part, Harold seemed resigned, bored even, as if this scene had played itself out a thousand times before. I felt a little like an ax murderer as I swung the ax the first time, and more like one as I swung again. Harold had a really big neck. Muslim tradition says one must look an animal in the eye until its soul departs — and I was satisfied that Harold and I had a sufficient dialogue. He did gobble once, a warning sound that he and Maude regularly made, which made me a little sad that in the moment of his death he might have been scared. Mostly, though, it was a solemn moment. Head detached from body, I hefted what was once Harold to a bucket to bleed him out. Though headless he thrashed mightily. I felt relieved, giddy and shameful.