Two wusses and two small blackened corpses
Well, yesterday afternoon, after an epic voyage from Jackson Mississippi, Melina showed up. We immediately went next door to walk Loki the dog.
Then Melina started reading Rolling Stone while I went to refill the birds' sunflower seed feeder.
I've been keeping the motherlode of sunflower seeds in a Coleman ice chest on the back porch. It didn't look exactly like this one - it was hinged, the kind that you plug in and that's supposed to refrigerate your stuff but does so in such a wan, half-hearted and dilatory fashion that you eventually give up on it and donate it to the Goodwill.
Over time squirrels (or something) have been gnawing through the lid's insulation from the corner but, I thought, not making any more progress than that. I thought all the little chewed bits of insulation on the back porch were funny. I thought modern technology had triumphed.
Well, this time, when I opened the lid of the ice chest I saw, for a split second: two large furry BLACK oblongs inside, parallel to each other and to the walls of the cooler; a terrible smell slammed me so I reflexively slammed the lid shut, screaming myself hoarse, and ran into the house, the stench following closely behind, still screaming.
Our forensic diagnosis was that these black things had somehow pried up the big lid and gotten into the cooler and then while they pigged out on sunflower seeds the lid fell shut. They died - sophomoric irony alert! - suffocated in a mausoleum of luxury.
What were they? It has been suggested that they didn't, perhaps, used to be black. It also occurred to me that they may have been rats - bloated so hugely that they now had no features and just looked like huge round furry black lozenges.
While, traumatized by the miasma of decay, I narrated this disaster to her, Melina got a grip. She said firmly (she's such a take-charge type) that we could not leave things as they were.
So we got gardening gloves and, shuddering all the while, carried the closed chest out beyond the deer-fence and left it there. Then we both immediately took very hot showers.
She queried rhetorically: "Who could have dealt with this better? Who is less wussy than us?" She told me that when she went fishing with her Long-Island bred boyfriend and he, sort of by accident, caught a fish, he couldn't bear to take it off the hook.
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