Odious, Onerous and Odorous

It’s not all that often that two loathsome tasks fall my lot before noon. It’s over now, and I’m treating myself to a beer with cashews after showering and returning to the land of the reasonably inoffensive and microbe-free.

Not one but two sink drains gagged a hairball independently and simultaneously and had to be dealt with–no more looking the other way. Well, not hair so much as that icky, gelatinous black slime (has anybody ever done any research to find out what’s in that stuff?) that over time constricts the throats of everyone’s plumbing. (Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe it’s just our pipes that become so revolting, our refrigerator that sucks up under its feet entire mummified meals and pet-sized equivalents of hair and Halloween-worthy spiderwebs and such. I may be projecting too much commonality to human home-moaning experience here, I dunno.)

So I did a tracheotomy on the kitchen sink and a soap-suds enema on the bathroom sink and all is well–provided you don’t look too closely. Point is, water doesn’t stand there defiantly now when you spit your toothpaste suds or empty your coffeecup over what is once again a black sucking hole. Score ONE for the morning plumber. But don’t get too jubilant: that was by far the more pleasant of the two tasks that qualified for the “Triple O” of the title.

Yes, it’s Disgusting Dead Deer season again (rifle season still a ways off) and already we have deer guts on the half shell not 100 yards from the house for a few days now, being enjoyed by a half-dozen turkey vultures and one smelly, night-emetic yellow lab.

At least it was cold this morning when I started in on the unavoidable task, and the flies weren’t active yet. I wasn’t certain I could do the job alone, but I’ll be darned if I was going to be even a bystander in the pity party had Ann had to help me on her day off. So I fetched a rope and logging chain with hook, some rubber gloves and the truck keys, and commenced to breathin through by bouth.

And in the end, I did the deed, even though the DDD rested bloating on an elevated spit where Nameless and Goose Creeks converge, and had to be drug first down into a dry stream channel and up again onto the plain of the pasture and through the pines. I did this part by hand, one heave at a time (the arms and shoulders variety–any later in the warmer part of the day, other kinds of heaves would have been involved as well.)

Now what? The carcass–only slightly reduced in weight by the feathered and furry what had fed on it–was far too heavy to lift by myself into the bed of the truck. So I managed to angle the truck up onto the rise of the grassy logging road in such a way that the carcass ended up some five feet higher than the field. I backed the truck up the gentle slope, and using a plank from the barn, pulled the hide-bound visceral abomination into the truck bed for distant disposal where the dog won’t smell it, and the buzzards can finish it off. And now we wait–for the next installment in the revolting and continuing story of the 2007 DDD season. I can hardly wait.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Isn’t it just amazing what we’re physically capable of doing alone, when there’s enough motivation.

    In my case after living single for many years, I’ve become a master at using leverage, just as you described. Then after it’s accomplished, I feel like Super Woman! LOL!