Sunday, April 5, 2009

dead as a doormat

Not your friendliest greeting...

"Do you have any enemies?"

It's kind of odd to be asked this question by three completely divergent people in the same day. But when I recounted my morning at work, to friends on the phone, and online, all came to the same question.

John was leaving on a work trip that morning, and I was driving him to the airport. We were leaving earlier than I'd normally leave for work, to ensure he would be at the airport on time.

That morning the light burned out in the shower. I thought "Gee, that seems pretty ominous". But bah... Our shower has black marbleized walls — evidence that the house addition was constructed in the late 80's. Without a light in the ceiling, it's a bit hard to see in the shadowy shower.

We soldiered on, he and I showering in the dark of a January morning, and half-asleep. He packed as I showered, and by the time I was dressed, he was pouring coffee. We put on our coats, I opened the front door and I learned my body was faster than my brain.

I shrieked and jumped back before even registering there was a dead rabbit on the doorstep.

A shriek and jump are my pitiful automatic responses to unexpectedly encountering dead animals in my path. Like a mouse in a pile of laundry, or once, under my bare foot.

However, I usually then get John to take care of the damn thing. This day, we were already running behind. As John started looking for rubber gloves, I said "we don't have time... you'll miss your flight." And so it was decided that dead was dead. The rabbit would remain untouched in its puzzling place until I returned from work... to a large empty home... to dispose of a suspicious dead rabbit after a very long day of work.

Over the day, as I recounted the story to co-workers, I pieced together possibilities as to why the rabbit would end up at our door.

I've seen dead rabbits in the area before. One morning I saw the horror of an injured one hopping in a panic and pain around our yard. I'd seen evidence of its demise a few days later in our shrubbery.

I'd seen rabbits spread across the pavement just out front of our house, obviously from poor road crossing skills. For such a small creature, its blood can be spread over a surprisingly large portion of the road.

Had this particular rabbit been dead on our front yard, or somewhere else on our property that I’d almost step on it, such as by the driver's side door of the car, I might have thought it was from the foxes I'd seen in the area.

If we had dogs, I would have assumed it was caught and presented to us. It was torn apart visibly, but there was still a substantial amount of flesh on it. If a wild animal had caught it for food, why would it leave it in a place so frequently traversed by people?

In the image below (rollover to get a full view) shows the only way it could have been closer is if it had been on our mat, physically against our front the door.

At the end of the day, I returned home, and had the presence of mind to take a couple pictures. The head was still attached, but mostly disconnected.

Then, after scooping up the rabbit, and disposing of it, I came inside, washed my hands (though I never touched the thing) and gave Inkblot and Rory a box of raisins each.

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