From: email@example.com (NENSLO)
Subject: Kitten In The Compost
Date: 3 Sep 1995 22:33:25 -0700
Organization: Teleport - Portland's Public Access (503) 220-1016
Kitten In The Compost
A TRUE ADVENTURE IN GARDENING
By O Nenslo
A few months ago one of the neighborhood's wandering felines gave
up number nine in front of our house in a set-to with the business end of
a passing vehicle. I didn't see it happen, but viewing the sad aftermath
I thought it would be wise to remove the loved one before more damage was
done, an unpleasant but definite possibility considering its mid-street
location. I got the galvanized bucket and the shovel and went out to
scoop it up.
Scooping up a cat in a shovel, even a dead cat with no leaks, is
more challenging than it sounds. The thing was limp. A limp cat has no
center of gravity, or else its center of gravity is always in the part not
on the shovel. I'm not sure which. For some reason I felt squeamish
about touching a dead thing, but at last grabbed ahold of the tail and
hoisted it into the pail quite easily. From that moment my squeamishness
toward it vanished and it became less a sad testament to our mortality and
more a bucket full of cat. An object of jocularity.
My wife did not care to see it. Wasn't much to see anyway, but
still it's good to be able to say you did.
Being an environmentally conscious kind of guy and pretty much
into the re-use and recycle concept I felt the wisest move, rather than
trying to find an undisturbed corner of the yard to turn into an eternal
monument to a cat I'd only come into contact with the one time, while
hoisting it into the pail, and thus had little sentiment toward; the
wisest move, I felt, would be to let my feline friend find its eternal
rest in the compost heap. A temporary sort of eternal rest but one which
would eventually pass its constituents on to the world through next year's
garden. So I did. Stick it in the compost heap.
It's starting to be autumn, and time to poke around in the yard a
bit more, now that the scorching glare of the sun has mediated to the dim
eternal grey which I prefer. I had put the cat in the right half of the
compost heap, which is contained by a set of wooden pallets nailed
together making a tidy box. I put it in the right half so I could be sure
of having an area I could work in without disturbing its slumbers. When I
take the compost bucket full of kitchen waste out to the bin every few
days I need to move aside the drier leafy matter which has accumulated on
top from various trimming and pruning efforts and bury the ranker matter,
coffee grounds, etc., in some of the more soil-like compost so it will rot
down faster and not draw vermin. Although I had put the cat a couple of
feet down in the heap I still just wanted to be sure there were no
surprises for either of us by an untimely disturbance of its tomb.
To put it bluntly, I had no desire to uncover a seething squamous
mass of Lovecraftian corruption.
Well. Like I said it's getting to be autumn and I thought it was
time to get some of the good rotted-down stuff out of the heap and
intended to work on the left side. I dug down to the bricks I had laid at
the bottom, tossed in the dry leafy wisteria and tomato branches, and
covered them with compost.
Maybe you don't know what the end result of a compost heap is
like. It's really not much different from dirt. It's dark brown, kind of
grainy, and doesn't have much smell except sometimes if it's out in the
sun it may give off a poopy kind of aroma. There's really nothing
unpleasant about handling it unless you don't like getting dirty or seeing
worms and sowbugs.
I covered the leafy stuff with compost so it would rot down good
and seeing I had a good heap of the finished product outside the bin
thought I'd pull some off the right side and if I got to where it was too
unpleasant I'd just quit. See, I have no idea how long it takes for a cat
to rot down to where it's not really gross, and as I was pulling off the
upper layers, first with a hoe, then scooping it off with a small shovel,
I was thinking about a book I'd read.
Houstonites or murder nuts may recall a fellow named Dean Corll
who filled the dirt beneath his boat-house with young male sex-torture
victims up to the point one of them got one up on him and killed him
instead. I was thinking of what I'd read about those poor cops having to
drag half-rotted corpses up out of the ground in the middle of a Texas
summer and I just wondered what that was like. I still don't know. I do
know that I suddenly found the cat, and that it takes more than a couple
of months for a cat in a compost heap to rot down good enough that it's
not real gross.
Left undisturbed I suppose the cat would have retained its catlike
shape for quite a while, but its structural integrity had suffered a bit
in recent days. I was scooping a hunk of compost up, noting that I didn't
see or smell anything bad yet, when that quickly changed. A big piece
lifted up like a lid, bringing a good bit of cat up with it.
"Gyaaaah!" Nenslo cried, "THE HORROR, THE HORROR!" letting it drop
again real fast.
It would be hard to mistake that for any kind of meat product. I
wouldn't even want to have to investigate it closely enough to be sure it
was actually an animal.
Marshmallow Cream (or Marshmallow Fluff) seems to be mainly a New
England phenomenon. You'll find it other places, but never in such
quantity as in the stores around Boston. Somebody must know why, but I
don't. Marshmallow Cream is a gluey white paste consisting mainly of
sugar held together with starches and gelatines of some sort, maybe gums
and things, but it is used in children's sandwiches. Marshmallow cream
and peanut butter sandwiches. Kind of gross.
Not as gross as a marshmallow cream KITTY CAT, with just enough
red stuff swirled in to really look bad and a smell that prompted the
ancient nose-clamping response of our earliest ancestors. You cat-owners
know what I mean. When a living kitty smells something too strong it will
crimp up its nostrils and whiff, so it can still smell it, but without
hurting itself. With a dead kitty, the something or other is on the other
end of the stick. There was also a copious flow of mucus at the back of
the mouth, probably to facilitate vomiting.
I lost no time in putting plenty of the loose and leafy stuff
lying around back on top of the ex-furball. I recall exclaiming quite a
bit, and the gist of it was that kitty definitely is not done yet, and may
remain undisturbed until spring.
I just want to get in there before the bones all rot down and get
that skull, but I have a little more to think about next time.
The end of another TRUE ADVENTURE IN GARDENING
-Copyright NENSLO KDV 1995-
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