I’m picking up where my last post left off, so if you’ve somehow missed the story of how I discovered I live next to a taxidermist, or the unfortunate account of my father Mark trying to salvage a decomposing rodent from the middle of our road, you might want to spend a few minutes catching up. This post may seem extremely bizarre otherwise.
(Although let’s face it…the whole thing is strange regardless of whether or not you know the back story.)
The moment I realized Mark had shown up on the neighbor’s porch against my will with an expiring squirrel carcass in hand, I was irate. It’s a very good thing Scott’s dad and stepmom had come over for dinner — the whole ‘don’t act up in front of the company’ rule kept me from going BSC (Bat S*** Crazy) and launching into a roadkill-themed family feud for the ages.
Instead, I calmly picked up the phone and dialed Mark’s cell.
(But only because my in-laws were present.)
He answered after two rings.
“Hi, Katrina! What’s up?”
“Dad,” I asked sternly. “Where are you?” This was merely a formality. I knew precisely where Mark had ventured off to.
“Oh, I’m just over at your neighbor’s place!” he responded cheerfully. “He’s helping me with this squirrel I found!”
“I hope you’re not embarrassing me, Dad.” I muttered with calculated control. My blood was boiling.
“Of course I’m not! We’re having a great time! We’ve been talking about Alaska, and he even gave me a house tour! You should see some of the cool stuff he’s got over here!”
“Okay,” I responded coolly, “But do you think you could make your way back home now? Supper is ready and Scott’s family is already here. He’s pulling the first pizza off the grill as we speak.”
“Oh, yep! Sorry, Trina! I’ll be right over.”
Sure enough, the promise of fresh pizza had him back on the Taylor premises in a flash. Breezing through the front door, he greeted Scott’s Dad before launching into an extremely disturbing version of show and tell, featuring the squirrel.
“I found out it’s a female!” he bragged. “I think he might be pregnant…I mean…just look at how squishy his belly is!”
“Her, Dad. Her.” I corrected.
“Sorry. Her. But seriously…feel his belly! It’s completely bulbous and swollen. I think he might have been pregnant.”
Mark began massaging the poor creature’s torso vigorously to illustrate his point. Scott walked by with a steaming pizza, rolling his eyes.
“Mark…I think the swelling may be due to the fact that the animal has been lying dead in a hot garage for over twelve hours.” Scott’s Dad quietly offered.
Mark later informed us it was too late to save the squirrel. “Would have had to put him in the freezer right away.” At this point, I gave up on correcting him in regards to the critter’s gender.
While the squishy abdomen couldn’t be saved, Mark was delighted to discover the tail was salvageable. I learned this the hard way when I caught him wandering around our kitchen the following morning, a limp squirrel tail delicately resting in his left hand.
“Dad! What are you doing in our kitchen with that thing?!” I shrieked. Visions of contracting Mad Squirrel Disease from my Keurig flashed through my germophobic imagination.
“Relax, Trina,” he crooned, “I did everything outside and have been very careful. I just need a little pouch and some salt to pack the tail in so I can bring it home with me.”
I groaned in disgust. While I’m normally not an accomplice to such ill-fated endeavors, I knew the alternative was a kitchen full of rabies.
“Don’t move!” I snapped. “I’ll get everything for you.”
I fetched a large ziplock bag and heaping portion of kosher salt while Mark looked on eagerly. I couldn’t help but grin. How in the world are these the genes that created me?
On second thought, please don’t answer that.
“I sure hope they don’t think this salt I’m curing the tail with is cocaine when I go through airport security,” Mark mused.
“Trust me Dad,” I warned, “TSA confusing you for a drug smuggler is the least of your worries.”
“I don’t know…” he muttered skeptically, “This is probably going to look pretty suspicious.”
I’m counting the fact that he realizes that as a very, very small victory.
(Along with the fact that no one in the house appears to have rabies.)
I’ve since learned that the tail made it back to Washington State without incident.
Still trying to decide if whether I’m horrified, or impressed with that.