Road Kill

Hold your nose…

My family has a sordid history with road kill. On a recent trip, the hubby swore he saw a dead lion on the side of the road. Then my daughter confessed to also seeing a road kill lioness. Though my daughter added that she’d never actually seen a cougar, she couldn’t rule out that the dead animal wasn’t a cougar. However, the size of the animal led her to believe lioness.

            Lions are sizable creatures. Females ranged from 270 pounds to 400 pounds. Males could top 570 pounds. In comparison, mountain lions weighed 64 pounds for a female to 220 pounds for a male. There was a big difference. Comparing an African lion to a mountain lion was like comparing a T-Rex to a Komodo Dragon. A dead cougar was also questionable since the Eastern Mountain Lion was declared extinct.

            In both the husband’s and the daughter’s cases of road kill lion sightings, it never occurred to either of them that Pennsylvania wasn’t prime habitat to wild African lions. We don’t host lion’s prey species such as antelopes or wildebeests. I couldn’t imagine the drive to Pittsburgh if we also had to contend with herds of zebras and giraffes as well as traffic before the tunnels.

            In the off chance a lion did escape from captivity, the nearest zoo was seventy miles away. A search indicated that a lion’s territory could range up to a hundred square miles. The city surely had enough prey to keep Simba happy and well fed. Unless lions sought quieter suburban surroundings…? Never mind. An escaped lion would’ve made the news.

            If I thought dead lions were crazy, I was so sorry that I didn’t witness the exchange between my husband a daughter over another road kill. (Not really.)

            “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’m not.” My husband said as he drove our daughter to work.

            “That’s not a good way to start a conversation.” She said.

            “I have to stop and pick up something.” He said.

            “It’s road kill. Isn’t it?”

            It was a dead squirrel for which the hubby stopped the truck, tossed the squirrel into the back, and resumed his mission to get the kid to work.

            “I want to give you hand sanitizer.” She said.

            “Why? It’s fresh.”

            “Dead animal bacteria Dad, ew.”

            I may have played a round about part in this instance of keeping our roadways tidy. When a husband retires, you have to keep him busy. If not, he’ll either wreck the house or develop a compulsion where it became impossible to breathe without him freshening the air. A friend’s ultra tidy husband regularly burned up their vacuum cleaners.

            To keep ants and vermin from overtaking our house, I bought my husband a fly tying kit. At first, I missed the irony. If you’re not familiar with the particulars, trout fishermen took great pride in making fake bugs to fool fish. Then, after the fisherman caught the fish, most of them released the fish back into the stream. The bugs were fashioned from yarn, animal hair, feathers, and car washing mitts. I’m not kidding.

            After blowing a sizable amount of money on supplies, my husband scrounged for free materials and raided my box of yarn. I should’ve realized he was out of control at this point. Road kill was the next logical resource in the mind of the monster I created. I thought I was so smart to keep him busy tying flies in the winter and fishing the rest of the year.

            Think of the weirdest thing you’ve seen on the side of the road. I drove past a man without pants or underwear. My girlfriend and I turned around to make sure we saw what we saw. The weirdest thing you may see is a man tossing dead squirrels into the bed of a truck or hacking the tails off of road killed animals.

            Please don’t call the police. It’s probably my husband foraging for materials to make bugs.

            I just pray that he never comes across a fresh killed lion and brings it home. Can you imagine how many real and fake insects the carcass of a lion can hold?

Published in Funny Times-July 2021

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