Fungus Child

That squirrel, that body, is dead. He lies in the grass as if taking a nap. The last time I saw a dead squirrel, I was eight. It had decomposed for awhile and the maggots had dug in. The smell reached too far up my skull. But here today, aged 27, I look out on an English garden.

“You want some squirrel pie?” Stuart jokes with me, gleaming.

I quickly suck out the laundry, squelching wet noises, pile it in the basket and scurry away. He wants me to laugh, I feel it. He wants me to share in this death. He wants. And here, up in the attic, surrounded by the smell of vinegar, I have made a tea stain on the carpet. Why now, do I feel deserving of being shot, out in the English garden, like that “damn squirrel, he deserved it! They dig up all our pots!” says Stuart, justifying the murder. That squirrel was shot for improper gardening conduct. By extension, I should be shot for my carpet blunder. Stuart, reassuring himself that he is a good person. What is a “good” person and a “bad” squirrel? The one who is resting, always resting, was bad. Maybe he will make it into a pie. We could feel great about the circle of life then, no wasted calories. Even if we don’t make a pie for the humans, mother nature and her fungus children will find a use for squirrel body soon enough. Soon enough, he will be scattered in the dirt, making his way as many tiny mushrooms, or flies born of maggots.  

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