b Papa Dog's Blog: (Another) Dead Possum in the Middle of our Yard

Papa Dog's Blog

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

(Another) Dead Possum in the Middle of our Yard

We’ve never really done anything to make the back yard habitable, and don’t spend much time there outside of barbecue season. Because he’s a smoker, Charles will spend more time out there in the two or three times a year he visits than we do the rest of the year. He crashed here again the last two nights and this morning he and I were out in the back patio having a chat while he had his last smoke before consigning himself to the BART system. “I’ve been meaning to ask,” he said, “what’s all that fur over there?” “What fur?” I asked. I looked where he pointed, over by the north fence. At first I though maybe it was a bunch of Doggy Dog fluff that had floated free from the garbage or from an informal brushing. It’ll do that…float free and just stay where it lands for days on end. Then I stepped closer and saw that there was a snout in the middle of the fur and had that awful lurch of realisation. It was a possum corpse, or at least part of one. At first, I thought, unreasoningly, that it was some part I’d missed of the dead possum back in January. It didn’t make any sense of course – that possum had been reasonably intact, and unless it had two snouts the one rotting on the grass couldn’t have belonged to it. “What’s that black area with the perforations?” Charles inquired wonderingly. “I think that’s the inside of its hide, eaten through by bugs.” That was my best guess.

Later, after Mama Dog had dropped Charles off at BART, I gave my weary sigh indicating that a paterfamilias must do what a paterfamilias must do and got several garbage bags and a shovel. I put one bag ready in one of our outdoor bins and prodded the erstwhile possum with the shovel blade. It felt welded to the soil, and there was a creeping vine growing into the remains. Gingerly I pried the carcass up out of the soil with the shovel. I couldn’t help exclaiming, “Oh, shit, yuck.” I heard a voice say, “What’s wrong?” It was neighbour Mike on the other side of the north fence, working in his garden. I told him what I’d found. “You know, I noticed a terrible smell out here a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.” That fit. I knew I hadn’t spent any time in the yard since more than two weeks ago. By now, Doggie Dog was standing by, watching the disposal procedure with detached curiosity. “Pretty proud of yourself, aren’t you, big guy?” Mike asked him, and Doggie Dog wagged. “That’s three notches on the fence post for him,” I sighed. I dumped the possum in the bin, pulled out the bag, and rebagged it twice to make sure any maggots would stay put until garbage day Friday. After our last experience, I know better than to wait for Animal Control to come. Yeesh. You’d think these critters would know to steer clear of our yard by now.


Blogger Twizzle said...

Your description of putrefaction rivals Stephen King's!

8:33 AM  

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