Possum fritter

M and I are blessed with pretty good neighbors. It's not that we're bosom buddies with these people, but we're on good terms with all and conversant with a couple. There are seldom issues involving property boundaries or loud music or the like. The domestic experience depends heavily on good relations with those around you, and we've been fairly lucky in that respect.

I have to say, however, that my neighbors fall somewhat short in the road kill department.

Note: Best to have already eaten (breakfast, lunch, whatever) hours before continuing with this post.

Specifically: a possum met its untimely end in the street near our house late last week. We learned of this upon returning home from work on Friday. It made for a pretty grisly homecoming: the animal's carcass had been pretty well flattened by traffic into a large, unsavory, rapidly decomposing possum fritter. M was distressed (she is always concerned for the welfare of those friggin' critters) and I wasn't terribly happy myself. We didn't have time to do anything about it; we had an engagement elsewhere and had just enough time to feed the cats before leaving.

An important point: The corpus in question was actually located in front of the house of our west-side neighbor, though positioned squarely in the middle of the street. As a matter of informal neighbor law, disposition of the carcass was a matter for that resident or his opposite number across the street. That's how I saw it, at least, though I suspected that my neighbors might have other views on the subject. As M and I left for our engagement, I felt certain that the once-possum would still be there to greet us upon our return.

And, indeed, it was.

Friday gave way to Saturday: a relentlessly hot Saturday, a bad Saturday for dealing with road kill. The possum fritter was still there, flatter and more putrescent than ever, judging from the cloud of flies that hovered around it. I watched grimly from the sealed sanctuary of my living room, sipping at coffee and wondering when a neighbor would step up and take charge of the sanitation matter. Such a neighbor never appeared.

Saturday gave way to Sunday: a cooler day and a wet one due to storms that passed through the area the night before. The former possum was still in the road, though no longer surrounded by flies. I did note one new development regarding a car which happened to belong to someone in one of the houses with jurisdiction over the possum corpus. This vehicle is usually (and vaguely irritatingly) parked in front of our house, but was now parked a full housefront and a half to the east - that is, farther away from the possum fritter.

I mulled that over while drinking a couple of cups of coffee. I poured myself a third cup, but set it aside and grabbed a pair of work gloves. "I'm gonna pick up the possum, " I told M.

There wasn't much to it, really, except that the smell was awful. My one concern was that the possum fritter stay in one piece as I shoveled it into a garbage bag, and it did...pretty much.

Later, I made some trenchant observations about neighbors and road kill. M asked, "Do you think it's possible that the city takes care of that sort of thing?"

"Sure," I scoffed. "Guys ride around town in orange city trucks that say 'Roadkill' on the side panels, looking for dead critters."

"Well, not that, exactly," M said, laughing. "But doesn't the city respond to dead animal calls?"

I frowned. "I have no idea."

Well, as it turns out, the city does exactly that.

Note to the Citizens' Service Bureau: Cancel that call to pick up a dead possum - if you actually got such a call, which I kinda doubt.

Blogworthy? Maybe not. It's just that this is the second once-and-former possum I've disposed of in the five years I've lived in this house. That first unfortunate creature actually did fall in my jurisdiction (as I understand informal neighbor law), and I did my duty right away. Would that all neighbors did likewise.

Pardon me while I harrumph a couple of times, snap my newspaper, and yell "Hey, you kids!" out the window.

(Cross-posted. Harrumph!)

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