Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Keeper of Corpses: The Revenge

The stench of death is at my doorstep. Again.

You may recall I wrote about an undisclosed corpse and the olfactory havoc it wreaked last year. I know about corpses now.

Yesterday, as I was letting myself in the back door with my hands full of a new toilet paper holder, two gallons of paint and a bag of groceries, I was blindsided by the all too familiar smell of something rotting. And not a nice "Ooh! I forgot I had that one lime!" kind of rotting. Not even a "The lettuce has liquefied in the crisper" kind of smell. Worse even than "Oh crap. I forgot I put these chicken thighs in the fridge to thaw two weeks ago." It was definitely eau du vagrant varmint who didn't survive the winter in my crawlspace.

The nerve.

Right beside my back door.

My back door that leads into my kitchen.

Where I eat.

As you may recall, my previous dealings with corpses occurred on the eve of my mother-in-law's arrival for a short stay at our house.

Because small rodenty things know how to time their demise and putrefaction to coincide with maximum mortification for me.

We're having company for dinner this week. (Which is, of course, why I decided that this week I must - I must! - test out three different paint colors on the living room walls which are subsequently horrible and need to be revised strenuously. "Oh this? We're going for a kind of a patchwork look. Do you like it? I call it 'A Study in Dishwater.' Just step past these camping chairs that we've set up to approximate the couch we plan to purchase and I'll show you to the room that reeks of corpse so we can eat.")

There may have been some rapid messaging and bargaining with the Chief Lou.

"If you go under the crawlspace tonight and get out the corpse, I'll go to that Pump-It-Up birthday party with the jBird." This is how we keep our marriage harmonious - the give and take and the equal shouldering of loathsome duties.

A deal was struck. A deal to find the devil under our house. (Speaking of devils, jBird impressed us the other night at dinner with her exhaustive knowledge of Tasmanian Devils. I had to admit to her that the only thing I knew about them was what I had learned from Looney Tunes. "What's Looney Tunes? Is it a science show?" she asked. I digress.)

After work, the Chief Lou donned his work gloves and grubby jeans and a miner's head lamp that my mother sent to the monkeys after a trip through the Rockies in the fall and headed under the house. He would not allow me to photograph him. He was so cute in his get-up and he refused. (He also wouldn't let me photograph him while he was installing a light fixture in our bathroom over the weekend. How will I know that these adorable feats of strength and manliness were even real if I can't photograph them and post them on Facebook?!)

There was nothing there.

He crawled all over the place. The smell dissipated the farther he got from the back door. In fact, the only place the smell seems to exist is literally right on our back doorstep. And now I'm frightened. (I am also annoyed, because I still have to go to the birthday party even though there were no actual remains for the Chief Lou to clean up. That's hardly fair.)

I have a theory and it frightens me.

I think the old dead varmint's posse (the one from last year in the old house) are trying to send me a message. "Don't mess with us," they're snarling, "We've got more where that came from." Can't you just see them? With their bandannas and boleros and evil mustaches? They think I killed their comrade and they have followed me. They have a hit out on me. This is the only thing that can explain the timing, the specific location of the odor, the absence of remains. They always spread their jellied corpse smell around right when I'm having company and then it mysteriously disappears after their little nasty embarrassment of me is accomplished.

Now, instead of finishing the laundry and visiting a friend of mine who desperately needs company today, I'm going to have to attend a rodent summit to try and sort this all out.

"I didn't kill him, I swear! It was the Feral Cats! You know how they are - no respect for lettuces or anyone's territory! Go talk to them! Listen, I'll make it up to you anyway. Please, please don't chew through the power lines. Hey, look! We're getting chickens soon! You know how you love the chicken bedding! Please, please, please... just let me get the coop together and you can expand your territory out there. I promise. Just leave the house alone. That's all I ask! I have company coming! I'm begging you. I don't want to turn this into a war. Don't make me get out the traps."


  1. They really do that, you know. Kill one, and the entire family conspires and comes after you. Step on a spider . . . well, you don't want to know what can happen. And there is no negotiating with them. I'm sorry.

  2. Between you and Judy my imagination has run away with me entirely. And I think if CL wants you to go to the bouncy party, he needs to produce a corpse.

    Yesterday, sitting alone in my house, I kept smelling cigar smoke--neither one of us has ever smoked--but I'm trying not to think about that.

  3. Don't go there - I think you'd lose the war.

  4. Right. They might be baiting you. Remember the movie Ben?

  5. I tried that same negotiation with spiders. Didn't work. I hope your rodents are more agreeable.

  6. I consider Looney Tunes an unimpeachable source of scientific information, for what that's worth. I obtained a wealth of knowledge while watching that show--not just about Tasmanian devils but about coyotes and roadrunners. (If I ever come across a roadrunner in real life, I will be extremely disappointed to find out it doesn't actually make that weird meepy beepy noise.)


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