Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is it a dead body?

Today, is my son's birthday. I've put my feet up, had a cup of tea and reflected on the little boy I raised. Not the man he has become, rather the child who made every day an adventure.

Like the afternoon I came home from work and found Raymond and Ken (his best friend) waiting for me in the driveway. They swarmed the car before I could get my door open. They were talking over each other and so fast the only words I could make out were "dead body."

"Alright," I raised my voice. "Slow down. I can't understand a thing you're saying." I herded the excitement into the house and attempted to get to the bottom of what looked as if two twelve year olds were about to have a coronary.

They tried to sit still, but for the most part it didn't work. The story was punctuated by the two of them popping up and down like that annoying game at Chuck E. Cheese. The story, as they told it, was that they had found a dead body in a green garbage bag just over the hill. They wanted me to come look in the bag before we called the police. Just in case. To all mothers of sons I'm sure you know why I went to look in the bag before calling the police.

I changed into my best investigative jeans and loaded the car with the two not quite under control twelve year olds. We lived at the top of the mountain. The bag with the dead body was apparently hanging off the mountain just below our house on a dirt road. The boys directed me to the spot.

I parked the car at the side of the road, got out and walked to the edge. I leaned over and looked down. It was quite a drop, but there was the green garbage bag. Just where the boys had said it would be. A tree was jutting out from the side of the mountain and the bag was under one of the branches.

I told the boys to stay put while I slid down the hill to the tree. I climbed out on the tree branch and hung upside down over the bag. The smell was disgusting, disgusting! The boys and I were going to have a conversation when we got home as to what they were doing down the mountain and up that tree in the first place.

I ripped a hole in the bag and looked inside. There was a body in there. A decomposing body. I could see a section of the skull and other bones. But I couldn't tell if it was a human body, never having seen a decomposing human body before. And I was not going to take anything out of that bag. I was not going to touch the body or drag part of it out of the bag. This was long before CSI and the knowledge by the general public of destroying evidence. I wasn't going to touch it because it was disgusting not because I might destroy evidence!

I shinnied back down the branch, up the tree, and climbed the mountain to the waiting boys.

"Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body?" greeted me. "Yes, it's dead." I answered. "I just don't know what kind of body it is. We'll call Dad. He'll know a dead human body when he sees one. If it is one."

As this was BCP, before cell phones, we drove back to the house to get in touch with my husband. He was highly skeptical. While I was talking with Mr. Maven the boys had gotten two mixing spoons from the dishwasher and were practicing interviewing each other for the TV cameras.

Disappointment soon quelled the excitement when it was determined the dead body was a deer that had probably been poached, the carcass shoved in a green garbage bag, and the bag dumped over the little used dirt road down the mountain. (Only a twelve year old boy could be disappointed the dead body wasn't human.) This was followed by the appropriate discussions and admonitions regarding the boys' conduct.

To my son, I hope you are lucky enough to have a child just like you. Every day will be an adventure and I can picture you sliding down the mountain, up the tree, out on the branch, and opening the bag. Even when you don't quite buy the story. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!!