The Creole phrase “ketch ‘n kill” means, briefly to live for the moment, to grab is as it goes by. It is an attitude that does not plan for tomorrow but supplies the needs of the hour. It is more or less the way of the jungle.
This painting is about consequences of such thinking. It is about the milpera who clears a plantash (my spelling as the word is local). He invests minimal time, effort and money. No, cultivation, soil preparation or fertilizer is used. Just clear away the bush, poke the corn seed into the ground, step on it and wait. Usually because the land is so generous, he gets something in spite of wee wee, quash and pam pam.
Now the corn is dry, ready to “broke”, left in the field with the ear on the stock, bent down so that water sheds away from the kernels.
The peccary loves corn and his greed is exceeded only by his sense of decorum. He takes only the best, the fattest and fullest ears highest on the stock necessitating the stomping down of the whole plant. It would seem that the peccary is getting something for nothing which attracts the jaguar who normally stays well within the protection of the jungle but now lured by the sound of the breaking corn stocks and his hunger, finds himself in a corn field. He was thinking he would have to eat a lizard or a rat for dinner but to his delight he is only a few feet from his favorite food which is totally unaware of his presence.
The jaguar is no slouch but because of the uncertainty of his existence, he is forced to encroach on civilization. Although he is careful and smart, he is none the less, dependant on this system and his habit is to return to the place of easy food to “ketch n kill” again.
The milpera will return to find the havoc wrecked upon his corn by the peccary and the tracks left by the jaguar. He will storm back to his thatch house to find his shot gun. Some one is going to pay for this. Greed will bring the peccary back and desperation will bring the jaguar back too, wearing his $100 coat that some tourist might buy. The sad end to the story is that there never really is such a thing as something for nothing.
This event actually occurred at Banana Bank. I grew up in corn country and to me, seeing a jaguar in a corn field would be very surrealistic. A spotted tawny colored jaguar could hardly be seen in a dry corn field and would certainly be unexpected.