Lately, I’ve been noticing a rash of dead animal postings on my Facebook news feed. For instance, one friend recently discussed the tragic evisceration of one of her chickens. She pinned a raccoon as the prime suspect. Then another friend shared a picture of a field mouse she’d sucked up with her Dyson. Then another friend, who relocated to Texas, noted that she’d finally seen an armadillo – dead in the middle of a road.
And then, apparently, it was my turn.
On Thursday, I came home to find a dead squirrel stretched out under one of our front porch chairs. I don’t know how long he’d been there. I briefly considered summoning my husband home from work. Instead, I opted for the passive-aggressive maneuver of sending him a picture of the prostrate squirrel with the caption, “ARRRGGGGG!”
When my in-laws came over later to babysit, they talked – rather anemically, I thought – about fetching a shovel from the garage. “I’ll take care of it after my run,” I said, secretly hoping that, in addition to feeding my three kids and refereeing their fights, my in-laws would also muster the energy to deal with the stiff on the porch.
But when I returned two hours later, I was crestfallen to see the little fellow still laying there. Flies were starting to alight. So I did what any sensible person would do: I donned five layers of Target bags on each hand, reached under the chair, and chucked the bugger into another, quadruple set of plastic sacks, before tying it all off and tossing the package into one of our outdoor trash cans.
Then I started to have second thoughts. The squirrel died sometime on Thursday. Our garbage pick-up day is Monday. I’ve watched enough of Kenneth Branagh in the somewhat underwhelming English version remake of the Swedish crime series, “Wallander,” to know that no good comes from leaving rotting corpses unattended. Imagining our metal pail teeming with maggots, I suspected I would have trouble sleeping.
Coincidentally, my husband was leaving the next morning for a trip with his college buddies to see the Florida-LSU game. After the kids were asleep and as Jeff was throwing t-shirts into his roller bag, I thought the moment ripe to suggest he should do something about that dead squirrel in the trash. To my amazement, he agreed. My husband must have been awfully desperate to get out of town.
“What did you do with it?” I nervously queried when Jeff came back about 15 minutes later. He rather excitedly narrated how he’d gripped a flashlight under his neck, dug a shallow grave in the muck behind our garage, and dumped in the body. I guess my husband finally got his “Sopranos’” moment. But I was starting to feel a bit guilty.
Poor little guy – I mean the squirrel, not Jeff.
Maybe we should’ve at least said a prayer or something.