When you used to visit your grandmother years ago, I’ll bet you made cookies together, right? Or, if your grandma is of more recent vintage, maybe she took you to a water park.
And when you have grandchildren of your own, you’ll do the same for them, right?
Guess what my grandchildren and I did this past Monday? We were driving home from the grocery store (I’d run out of a couple of vital ingredients) when we drove past a dead deer.
Like any good grandma, I said, “Do you two want to stop and see some maggots?”
You see, I’m in the process of writing the 6th book in my Biscuit McKee mystery series, and there’s a body in there that doesn’t get discovered for a few days. I’ve been wondering—as I wrote about the smell wafting over a back yard on a gentle breeze—whether or not I was getting it right.
The deer certainly gave us the answers. I am NOT going to share the photos I took. Suffice it to say that we learned a lot, and here are some of our conclusions. Please put your EEEWW response on hold. This is science at its most elemental:
1. Time of death can be determined by the age of maggots on the corpse. There were lots of crawlies, and the man who lived nearby confirmed the deer was killed by a car last Tuesday.
2. Smell is almost indistinguishable when we stand upwind.
3. Smell is pretty awful when we stand downwind. Therefore, we stood mostly upwind!
4. A neck bent that far back and around is most certainly broken.
5. The grayish brown stain in the grass beside the body showed that it had been moved after death.
There were a bunch of other conclusions we came to, having to do with various internal organs, but I won’t relate those since there’s a good chance you’ve just finished eating breakfast. I will say, though, that we decided that coyotes and dogs and turkey vultures and possums and raccoons are simply doing their job as part of a very necessary natural cleanup crew. They are eating for survival. The very worst predator on the face of this planet, however, came upon this body and…
6. Cut off the antlers and threw the body back in the ditch.
7. This predator decimated the deer’s natural habitat to begin with, and smashed the deer with a moving vehicle.
The animal control facility in Gwinnett County has only three vehicles for the entire county, so dead animals frequently have to lie there for days before they’re disposed of. This just means there will be more chances for me to play the role of Good Grannie!
BEEattitude for Day # 280:Blessed are those who explore new ways of looking at life (and death), for their horizons shall be endlessly widened.
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