The other night, as I was preparing a pretty disgusting meal, a very disgusting thing happened to me.
The Pretty Disgusting Meal:
Every once in a while you end up with so many forgotten or unused ingredients in your pantry and left-overs in your fridge, that you find yourself concocting dinners made up of several very different dishes that should probably never be served together. It's kind of fun because it looks like you're eating at a buffet; On one very carbohydratey plate you have a small square of lasagna, an enormous pile of mashed potatoes, and three soggy chicken fingers. But the fun of the buffet feeling fades fast when you realize that you would never actually choose those things at a buffet and you're just eating them because it's the only crap you have left in the house. At the very least, you still feel pretty gross afterward – just like after eating at a buffet.
On one of these “I-don't-feel-like-shopping-let's-just-get-creative-and-combine-a-bunch-of-shit-from-the-pantry” nights, Charlie and I were planning to share a can of Campbell's Chunky Split Pea and Ham Soup with Tuna Gouda Melts. I know... it sounds a little weird, but I didn't think it was all that bad. Soup n' Sandwich, right?... just two flavors that you wouldn't normally pair up.
And then this happened...
And then this happened...
The Very Disgusting Thing:
Soups on; Sammies are in the toaster oven... I'm just cleaning up and talking with Chuck in the kitchen when I glance behind him and see a big bloody animal gasping and writhing in the middle of our kitchen floor.
I immediately let out a little bitch scream/gasp.
My first inclination is to run from it because it's still moving and, in my startled irrational brain, I believed the blood-covered possum came into the house of it's own volition. As if it was some sort of serial killer possum out on the prowl, bludgeoning neighborhood cats and - still covered in his victims' blood - sneaked into my kitchen in search for one more cat.
Since that scary bastard was effectively blocking any exits, I was completely boxed in. So, the very next time it moved...
Which, mind you, was not a movement that in any way should indicate aggression or even an attempt to approach – it was just trying to pick it's bloody head up off the tile and get back out of the kitchen...
But the very next time it moved, I hopped my fat ass up onto the seven inches of counter top directly in front of the toaster oven and clung to the underside of the overhead cabinets to keep from falling back down or burning my lower back on the 375 degree glass door.
Although, that might have been an economical way to get rid of that zodiac/tribal tramp stamp tattoo I got on my eighteenth birthday in the garage of a duplex. Yes, not just a garage, but the garage of a duplex, and yes - not just zodiac, but tribal as well. It's really the best.
The possum is definitely alive and it seems to be unable to decide whether it should run or play dead. It spends about 30 seconds gasping what seems like it's last breath, and then “dies” - only to take another hitching breath and try to get up a minute later.
Because it's body is pointed toward the living room instead of the back door, I'm terrified that in the final throes of death it's going to make a break for it and just end up further into the house, perhaps – God Forbid – on the carpet.
Charlie and I are both shocked, but he is significantly more in control of himself. So, he uses a series of trash and recycling cans to create a barrier that no possum could ever penetrate, while I reposition my ass in front of the toaster oven.
The possum finally stops moving completely, and we assume it's dead – so Charlie gets a paper bag to put it in and throw it away. As soon as he starts to scoop it up, the fucker makes a break for it and then just collapses two feet from the door. We're freaked out and a little stupid, so we still aren't sure if this thing just spent it's last ounce of dying super-possum strength to make a final life saving scramble for freedom, or if it's just playing possum again. Damn you, possum.
We stand there for what feels like hours, with the stench of possum musk and shit – oh, did I not mention that it shit itself? I forgot that part? Yup – possum shit, blood, and fear-stench fills my kitchen... and it's mixing with the smell of split pea and ham soup on the stove, and heated tuna with melting gouda from the oven. It's quite a potpourri. You can imagine how excited we are about the upcoming meal – if we could only get this stinky possum out of the way.
Since the possum is at least facing the door now, Charlie grabs a broom and starts to prod it in hopes of startling it into running out the door. It just lays there. It doesn't look like it's breathing, but there's no way were falling for that shit again. Fool me once, dying possum, fool me once.Charlie starts to push it toward the door with the broom handle but I make him turn the broom around, and push the possum with the bristled end – because I figured that end of the broom ranks at least marginally higher on a list of desirable final caresses than the pointy handle. The possum is leaving a trail of shit across the tile floor. This is a dignified death if I ever heard one... being pushed across a cold tile floor by a dirty broom while leaving a trail of your own shit behind you.
Then it hits the track at the foot of the back door, and won't go over. Charlie wedges the broom under the back end of the possum, like a spatula, and flips it ass-over-head. One flip doesn't get it out the door though and he has to flip it a couple more times before it finally tumbles out and lands in an ugly position just outside the sliding glass door. He just slowly slides the door shut and we stare at it.
It doesn't move for what feels like an eternity. Neither do we. We just stand there, watching it while it does absolutely nothing. Wondering if we'll have to discard a dead animal in the morning, and fearing what would happen if our housemate (my dad) let the dog out before we woke up. We think we see it breathing, so we decide to just close the venetian blinds and let nature run it's course.
The stench is palpable, and there's possum crap smeared across my kitchen floor. I feel like I just watched a PETA video – as if a tiny forklift just skewered a tiny cow at my feet – Sarah McLachlan could be sitting at my kitchen table right now, asking me to make a difference in this poor possum's life.
We both feel like we just want to go upstairs and lay down and think about it. And then have awful nightmares about it. But instead, we clean up the possum shit, and just go sit in silence in the living room for a while.
A couple hours later, Charlie peeked out the back door and the possum was gone! Entirely! No bloody trail leading up the fence or anything. We have pretty high fences, so he must have been in decent shape to have gotten out of the yard. I tried to tell myself that as I was falling asleep that night – thinking of a dying possum laying in my neighbor's yard.
So – we did what anybody would do – and reheated the soup and sandwiches, and tried not to think of musky possum shit while we ate them. Don't judge. All's well that ends well.