I've mentioned the raccoon before -- it was one of the scattered animal remnants in our yard and the same vicious beast that attacked Chowder the day after Christmas (a result of coal in his stocking, I'm sure). This guy was certainly more tenacious dead than alive. He's been buried (twice), hit with a tractor and disc, run-over by traffic on our lane, dragged, stampeded, chewed up and barfed out, burned, and finally, bagged. He has been, needless to say, a lesson for Dylan in ... something. Probably something gruesome that will scar her.
"There's the raccoon that bit Chowder, Daddy," she'd tell me, every time we passed its bloated figure. "He's dead now, sis." "Yeah, you shot him." This was the conversation we had, almost daily, as we watched Mr. Raccoon stay perfectly preserved in the cold months of January and February. I should have tossed him in the dumpster then, but he made such a great conversation piece.
By March, I'd buried him in the alfalfa field, but the disc unearthed him and helped speed up the decaying process. The dogs decided, then, that he was sufficiently rotten and would make a fine meal. Dylan quit talking about him until the spoiled meat nearly killed Scout (Raccoon - 2, Dogs - 0). That's when I decided that a good old-fashioned witch burning was in order, not to exorcise any demons, but I figured cooked raccoon had to smell better than the decomposing one the dogs unearthed.
Dylan was stoked. "We're burning the aa-coon, Mommy!" Regina didn't ask any questions -- she's learned she's better off not knowing -- and Dylan and I set off up the lane with a gas jug and a lighter. We piled on the sticks for the cremation and watched the black smoke climb. For a week Dylan told everyone she met that she'd burned a raccoon. I shrugged like I had no idea what she was talking about.
Today, nearly four months after its demise, I found half of the raccoon in our yard. The fire hadn't done much for its looks or in cooking it; it stunk. Dylan was glad to have her old friend back, but I told her to stay away. This thing is not real. I'm at the end of my list for ways to dispose of dead varmints.
I have to look on the bright side: Dylan's learned about life-cycles, the meanness of cute wild animals, proper grilling techniques, and the perils of eating rotten meat. All valuable lessons for a country girl. The raccoon will offer one last lesson: plastic is better than paper for bagging up zombies.