Friday, July 28, 2006

Ed vs. the possum

WARNING: The following story is extremely gory. I am NOT kidding.

I was lying in bed around 9 pm, about to fall asleep, when my wife barged into the room and exclaimed, "You have to get up! There is a possum in the laundry room!"

She informed me he was behind the dryer, with his tail sticking out of the wall, where the dryer's vent goes.

So I went downstairs and cautiously approached our laundry room, where the door was ominously closed. With my wife cowering behind me, I quietly opened the door, prepared for anything which might come out. Nothing happened.

As I slowly entered the room, I saw it: A full-sized, fat, adult possum, sitting in a hole in the wall, it's long, thick tail hanging down to the floor. It had apparently knocked the dryer vent out of the wall, as it sat comfortably in what was a good 6 inch round hole.

I did not realize it then, but the area behind the hole was hollow, and there was a lot more of the possum stuffed in there. But from what I could see, I knew this was not going to be easy.

My first thought was to call the SPCA. Unfortunately, they would not be open this time of night. Even if they were, they would probably not send someone out until the next day. This would mean leaving a rather large marsupial running free in my house with who knows what diseases.

Next, I considered throwing something like a blanket over it, picking it up, and taking it outside. Considering the possum's head was in the hole, whatever I threw over him would still leave his head exposed, able to bite at me. Again, the disease consideration entered my mind.

I realized my only alternative was to kill it. But with what? I don't own a gun. I thought about using a large knife, but then I would have to get too close to it.

Then it dawned on me: I own a sword! A decorative silver sword, which I bought at DragonCon a few years ago (yes, I am a geek).

So I got my sword and some thick gardening gloves, in case I had to grab the possum for whatever reason.

When I returned, the possum had not moved from his spot. I suspect it was trying not to be noticed, living up to its name.

I pulled the long sword from its sheath, and moved in for the kill. I stabbed the sword deep into the middle of the beast, completely missing any vital organs that might have killed it instantly.

When I felt the sword tip hit the wood underneath the possum, I stopped and watched, waiting for the possum to go into its death throes. While the possum struggled a little, clearly not pleased with its situation, nothing happened. The possum could not move much, stuck on the sword. At the same time, it was not looking to be dying any time soon either.

At this point, I realized I had missed any vital organs, so I thought I would have to stab the beast again. As I start to pull the sword from it, the possum starts wiggling like he was going to do something as soon as it was free. Since I know I cannot let it go, I sank the sword back into the possum, avoiding any vital organs once again, but holding the beast firmly in place.

Then my mind flashed to an image of hari-kari I had once seen, where once the blade was inserted, it was moved around by the person committing suicide, in order to get all the vital organs. So I tried it on the possum. Unfortunately, I learned it was not easy to move a sword once it was in a body.

Since that did not work, I tried twisting the blade within the possum's body. That worked a little better, but still no vital organs.

Of course, the possum was objecting to all the blade movements in a way one might expect from a small mammal stuck on a sword: a lot of wiggling around as it bared its teeth at me.

As my wife was watching these events unfold, she commented, "You're enjoying this."

I had to agree that it did appeal to me on an instinctive level. Man against beast.

But I had to admit, I was at a loss as to what to do at this point. The possum was not losing much blood from the sword wound. Maybe I could get it to bleed to death, or at least to go into shock from blood loss?

I got my wife to hold the sword in the possum as I went to the garage to get my long-handled branch cutter.

As I looked over the possum, I figured the best way to get it to bleed to death, from its current position, would be to cut off its thick tail.

I brought the branch cutter to the middle of the beast's tail, and snipped. The possum objected in its usual way, but also moved the remainder of his tail around, proceeding to squirt blood on the wall, the floor, and the back of the washing machine.

I could see the possum was not dying from this, so I think maybe if I cut the tail off entirely. The tail was thicker closer to the possum's body, so I assumed it would bleed more from there.

After I cut off the remainder of the tail, I realized my assumption was correct, as more blood proceeded to squirt into the aforementioned wall, floor, and washing machine. But the mighty possum was just fine, albeit more than a little upset at his predicament.

My wife made me hold the sword in the possum for a minute, being completely grossed out by the scene unfolding in front of her. It was during this time I came up with the next part of my strategy.

I figured I would not be able to kill it this way, but how about incapacitating the possum permanently?

Once I got my wife reluctantly back on the sword, I took my branch cutter and cut off the furry beast's right rear leg. I then proceeded to do the same to the possum's right front leg. It was at this point I realized my plan's failing: I could not get at the possum's left legs, which were on the other side of his body in the hole.

Watching the possum pursuing its normal wiggling and baring of teeth gave me another idea: What if I cut off its head?

Unfortunately, the placement of the possum left me unable to get a good angle on its neck. As I reached with the cutter for its neck, the vicious beast got its mouth firmly on the tip of the branch cutter. Feeling sadistically frustrated, I snipped.

With the bottom half of its jaw hanging from a piece of skin, I felt safe assuming the possum would not be biting anyone. With two legs gone, I also figured it was not going very far either.

I pulled the sword slowly from the possum, ready to plunge it back in at the first sign of movement. The beast did not move, laying there, waiting to die.

I placed a board in front of the hole, so the possum could not go anywhere.

My wife and I left it, closing the door to the laundry room, expecting to collect the possum's body the next day.

When I got up the next morning, I went downstairs to check on it. I slowly pulled the board from the hole, but I could not see it. Figuring the bloody beast had moved deeper behind the wall, I decided to wait until I got home from work to try and find it.

My wife called me at work, saying she thought the possum was dead because she could smell it, but she could not find it. She was afraid it had died somewhere behind our wall.

When I got home, I knew it was dead by the smell. I checked the hole thoroughly, even expanding it a little in order to get a better look. No possum.

As I walked from the laundry room, I noticed something on the floor of the basement: A faint blood trail.

Apparently, after we left it, the possum had climbed up behind the wall, and gone over to the other side of the wall, leaping or climbing or falling onto the basement floor, where it proceeded to run all around, leaving blood everywhere.

I followed the blood trail until I found the possum behind an old dresser on the floor. The beast was dead.

If you think that story is gross, you do not want to know about the cleanup afterwards.


Anonymous said...

Google "possums" and learn something about them. I've rescued and had close encounters with a number of them. They are gentle, slow-moving creatures that pose little threat. They almost never carry rabies. They can look intimidating - that's all - there's nothing to back it up, unless you think being hissed at by a frightened, small animal puts you in mortal danger. You might as well have been stabbing and dismembering a human baby for all the danger that possum posed to you. You imagine yourself a warrior? Practice the first rule: Know your enemy. And if you did know your "enemy", you'd realize you slowly tortured the very essence of innocence. Get out of your imagination - stop dreaming up what threat an animal "might" be to you and notice, instead, what is actually taking place in front of your eyes - nothing in your story described any behavior remotely threatening to you or your girlfriend yet you slowly vivisected this unfortunate, harmless animal that, like you, has lungs, liver, kidneys, a heart....and, like you, experiences fear, trauma,...and pain. Your pronouncement that the story you were about to tell was "gory", your apparent satisfaction at your girlfriend's observation that you were "enjoying" torturing the little animal, your conjured-up notion that you were reverting to something "instinctive" --- you, yourself, don't believe that nonsense. You had an innocent, virtually harmless animal pinned down, first by the hole he was squeezing through, then by a sword you had time to go, retrieve, return and pierce him with while he was still stuck halfway in the hole,...then, you had all the time in the world to think up the next round of torture and go get whatever you needed to inflict it - your pruning shears or whatever. You knew you weren't in danger - my guess is that's why you hung in there - pretending the situation was something it wasn't, and that you were something you aren't, displaying qualities you clearly have not yet developed: courage, valor, honor. Every day, in a vain attempt to display courage, to be considered a risk-taker, fools are injured, or worse, doing things that aren't particularly dangerous, in and of themselves, but these fools do them recklessly or carelessly or without skill and get hurt in the process. Then you have another breed, the truly courageous, legitimate risk-takers. They do something actually perilous, but they train diligently and observe closely to understand the risks involved, and to devise strategies to deal successfully with those risks. Then, they go tackle that truly threatening challenge, whether it's climbing Everest, surfing the outer reef of Hawaii's North Shore, performing surgery to save a life, and they minimize the risks through the understanding and skills they've gained. This brings me back to the fact that you stabbed and dismembered a little animal that, as I said, was as innocent, and nearly as harmless, as a human baby. If you're that desperate to prove that you're more than what you currently display, get out of your head and go and actually prepare yourself to do something worthwhile and remarkable...and then do it. Meanwhile, beg God to forgive you for what you did, to guide you in more worthwhile directions, and to help you become much more than what your current words and actions indicate, maybe eventually earning some self-respect in the process, eliminating the need to elevate yourself by causing another to suffer.

EdMcGon said...

Anonymous (if that is your real name), you obviously missed the humor in this. Are you familiar with a concept called "irony"?

You are absolutely correct in stating there is nothing brave in killing a possum. A possum is vermin, much like a rat, hence the irony. I added the "bravery" aspect to this post in order to play up the irony of the situation.

Anonymous said...

I have no sympathy for possums; they are indeed vermin and have killed uncounted numbers of chickens for me. I killed a possum this morning and six within the past three weeks.

However; Anon was right when he said that you, Ed, went about it the wrong way. When we inflict show death, pain, suffering on a living creature we diminish our own humanity. You could very easily have taken the possum by the tail with your gardening gloves, pulled it from the hole and dispatched it quickly.

I do not even have anything against the use of the sword, but you have to know how to use it efficiently. Imagine how you would have suffered had you taken a gut thrust and been left on the field.

Unfortunately there are millions of people who know so little about wildlife that they cannot do what our ancestors did as a matter of routine.

EdMcGon said...

My gardening gloves wouldn't have worked. This was an adult possum, whose body alone was longer than the gloves. He could have swung up and bit me. If it had been a baby possum, I might have risked it.

Admittedly, I'm not a swordsman, nor am I a nature expert. For what it's worth, my intent was to kill the possum quickly. I failed.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you didn't just wait till the possum left, which she would've soon enough to go out and find food, and then blocked the dryer vent hole with a screen. If she got in there, she could get out. But even if I'm wrong about that, there are just OTHER ways of ridding an animal such as this from your home/laundry room. Ya know. what brought me to google possums like this is that the same thing happened to me with a possum in my laundry room this morning. It did scare the heck out of me seeing it in there; curled up in a ball in my small lint trashcan, trying to nap. I heard her in there, which is what made me go look to check it out. I'm a female, I live alone. I was a little freaked out, but I never would've dreamed of hurting it. I have a gun too; didn't enter my mind to shoot a sleeping, young possum. But I'd seen it out and about in my neighborhood before; I live in apts and we have several wild critters around here that we treat humane and would never imagine doing what you did. They never hurt anyone. They are just hungry! We have moved into their territory and they have lost ground, literally - we are stealing their homes. Maybe if I were a farmer and they were killing some of my animals or something, then I would possibly have to take another approach; but that's not my case so I I can't say. But I would never do it in the fashion that you did!!! Jeez, what a stupid.

I called animal control, who came and and humanely got her, put her in a cage, then took her to another location away from humans and set her free.

I wonder why the first thought that came to you was to stab it with a sword as if it were a horrible, man-eating creature that was sure to come out and kill you and your other half before the night was up? Did no other thoughts come to your mind of how to go about this differently? It's extremely sad how you went about your cruel killing binge on a creature who had absolutely no defense. That's the most cowardly thing I've ever, ever heard of. I'm surprised you even had the balls to post your stupidity online for the world to read. And the way you described it in such detail as though you were getting OFF on it. And you did.....I'm sure. Shame on you! SHAME! And shame on your [girl/wife whatever] for not having the good sense to stop you or talk some friggin sense into your screwed up head. There are alternatives, idiot. My name is NOT anonymous either, but Mandy - an animal lover. I had to post anonymous bc otherwise it kept doing an error and not sending. I'm not scare to let you know my name at all.

Anonymous said...

wow. what a human. all i can say is i hope the same fate presents itself to you someday. the sooner the better. next time something really horrible, really cruel, really weird and not understood by you - i hope you know that the circle of karma has made its way back

please dont reproduce. dont spread your genes any further. do the world a favor. if you will do something like this, youll do anything anytime anywhere for any reason without using brains. ooooooo. we dont need any more losers on this earth. you make a lot of people puke. a lot. you are such a waste of space.

EdMcGon said...

Ok folks. This is a possum. Not a dog, cat, or any other useful mammal.

On the animal scale, possums rank with rodents. They're vermin.

I do hope all you people who decide to criticize me have NEVER used a mouse trap in your lives. Otherwise, you're a bunch of hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Say dude when is the last time you were seriously evaluated for your mental health? you have major issues dude, and frankly you probably shouldn't be allowed out without an adult supervising you. wow.

Anonymous said...

Hey McGon, uh yeah I can honestly say I'm not a hyprocrite, cause I've never used a mouse trap. I think even that is disgusting. I have caught mice in small, "live traps" that doesn't splatter their brains and guts all over the place. It traps them in a box so that i can pick up the box and set the creature free, far away from my home, out in the field, where it belongs. No hypocrite here.

Yes it's JUST a possum. But it was still the WAY you went about doing it! And it's a warm-blooded, air-breathing animal that has feelings and hurts. Jesus can't you understand that it's the WAY you went about your cruel extinguishment of its life. Just cuz it's a possum don't mean it deserved any less humane treatment than a dog or cat or any other warm blooded pain-feeling animal deserves!

EdMcGon said...

Lovely. Greenpeace rejects.

It's vermin folks. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

A little late but... Having faced a possum myself tonight, these others' comments are full of bull. You made your wife happy, killed the thing (although what a mess!). These things suck, they're loud, cause damage, and carry disease. My possum on the other hand was in our wall, I had to stab it with a fillet knife as shooting it is unfortunately out of the question in our apartment complex :( And yes to all you animal lovers, I have a lot of guns that would have certainly done the trick.

EdMcGon said...

A filet knife? And you think mine was messy...