I spent a lot of time trying to find the best way to tell this story, and I haven't come to any conclusions yet, other than it needs to be told as soon as possible. While it's fresh. Well, not exactly fresh, as you'll see soon enough, but recent.
Early this morning, Bruce woke up to take the dog out. He'd had his contact lenses in all night, as he tends to forget to take them out after we've been drinking, and we'd been drinking. His eyesight was a little blurry, and he couldn't tell exactly what had caught Huck's attention in the yard. It looked like a very plump stick to Bruce.
It wasn't a plump stick, it was actually a plump dead animal. Bruce was reasonably grossed out, and stopped Huck from playing with it and brought him back inside. He was unable to sleep afterwards, because the animal was very very dead and gross, and would have given him nightmares. He wasn't sure what to do with the squirrel(?) so he left it in the yard.
I woke up around 11:30 and was told about the horrors in the yard, but I pretty much blew it off. Bruce is way easier to gross out than I am, and I guess I thought he was exaggerating. Or maybe that it was a nightmare he'd had the night before. It wasn't, turns out. Turns out, there was a grey blob out in the middle of our yard. I didn't get too close. We were both pretty hung-over, and I think we were hoping it would evaporate or something, because it's just too cruel to bestow a couple of hung-over bastards with an animal so dead that it's species is indeterminate. That's just wrong. When I look back, it probably wasn't a good idea to just let it simmer in the ninety-degree heat, but at the time it seemed like the best plan. When we took Huck out during the day, we'd tie him to his tether and try to pretend he wasn't straining at the end of it, trying to get close enough to chew on the dead animal.
Later this afternoon, I realized that I had left my coffee cup on the (perfectly good) coffee table on the patio, and slipped outside very quickly to retrieve it. I'd just brought the dog back in, and didn't want to spend another minute in the heat waiting to see if he could work up some urine. I went back inside just as carefully, and watched a few more episodes of Buffy (season four, if you're into that sort of thing). I had been inside for about a half an hour before I started looking around the house for Huck. He wasn't in the office, nor was he laying on top of the air-conditioning vent. I looked behind the couch, but no luck. Really, he's never been so small that he could get lost in this house. I began to get a very bad feeling. A very very bad feeling. I steeled myself up and walked to the back door and peered through the blinds. I didn't steel myself enough.
That's right, my lovely puppy was sitting on the patio, happily muching on a carcass of indeterminate species. I flipped my top, freaked the fuck out, and wrenched open the door, wrenched him off the damn thing, and wrenched him again when he dove for all he was worth to get back to his snack. I almost wretched as I picked up the dog and hauled him back inside. I stood with my back to the door, heaving, trying to block the mental image of the body, and those little teeth sticking out of it, with it's thin little rat tail. I tried not to wonder about whether it was actually a rat, or if it was a squirrel that had lost it's tail fur. I tried hard not to wonder if my darling puppy was the one who ripped the fur out. I mostly tried hard to breathe and to stay vertical against the door, as if the thing was going to try to get in.
I don't know how I managed to get the story out to Bruce, but I do know that it took some hand gestures. He was even more nauseated than me, and utterly disgusted with the dog. We started formulating a plan of action. It was a difficult scenario, not one I've ever done any preparing for. How exactly does one plan for removing a carcass from their back patio? What tools are required? I settled on an old beach towel and one of our grilling tongs. No way was I going to get close enough to the thing to actually feel it. Just the thought of having to feel it squish under the tongs was almost too much. I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I knew, I knew that Bruce wouldn't be able to. That's about the time that the hysteria set in.
I started laughing. You know the kind I'm talking about, that breathless what-the-hell-am-I-doing laughing. The kind where you're not making a sound, and all that's coming out is a sort of wheezy gasping, as you realize this is going to be one of those times that will etch itself in your memory. Bruce was pacing back and forth on the dining room floor, grumbling, yelling at the dog, and for a split second I thought he was going to slap me, try to bring me out of it. Instead, he started laughing too. What else was there to do? What else can you do in that situation?
When we got our breath back, I told him my plan. He made a sick face, nodded, and went to move our garbage container from the garage to the outdoors. No way were we going to let that thing sit in any part of our house for four days while we waited for the trash men to come by. I made two false starts to the back door before I was able to open it. I knew right away that I hadn't prepared myself enough.
There it was, just where it'd been, spread-eagled all over our patio. Huck saw me pause and took the opportunity to jump out of the house and lunge himself onto the body again, and I tore him off with my towel and my tongs in hand. He yelped, more out of surprise than anything else, I yelled at him and threw him back into the house. I slammed the door shut behind him, threw the towel over the top of the rat/squirrel, and tried to brace myself to pick it up with the tongs.
Our landlord was at the back end of our yard, by the fence, watching me. With his wife. And his daughter. (Who moved into the duplex on the other side of us. We live in a landlord's family sandwich now.) They were all there to witness it. I think they were waiting to see if I would be able to do it, see just how ballsy I was, and when they saw I was determined, and what my plan was, The Landlord started laughing, and his whole family started laughing, and then I started laughing again, and he came over and helped me. I got a trash bag, and because he's a man's man with balls of steel (and apparently a cast-iron stomach), he used the bag to pick it up ("Like I pick up dog poop!") and I tied a knot in the top, being careful not to look at it very closely, and walked it to the trash.
Then I came inside and died immediately. I know I joked around about the June bugs, but really? When your dog has been munching on a carcass of indeterminate species on your patio and you just had to pick it up and throw it away, and now you have to live with an animal that likes chewing on dead things? That's when there's no real reason to go on living. Even if you pour listerine on a dishrag and wipe out the dog's mouth.
Happy Monday everyone!