Hey, I’m a crime fiction writer, but I don’t expect to have dead bodies under my house. However, it does sometimes happen. No, I not some ghoul, but I live out in the country, where field mice and gophers and woodchucks and possums and all sorts of critters wander around, so it's bound to happen more often with me. This time, it’s a rodent of some sort.
Well, in case you haven't had the olfactory experience, let me tell you—a decomposing rodent has a unique scent. I don't know why, I don't know how, but it does. Maybe it's just me. My wife is a health nut, and she read an article once about people who are called "supertasters". These are people who, by the grace of God, have more than their share of taste and olfactory sensitivity.
My wife says my sense of smell is uncanny. For example, one day she walked into the bedroom. She's standing 10 feet away from me. I looked up and sniffed. "Decided to have a banana before bed, honey?" I inquired. Her jaw dropped, and she stood there quizzing me for at least ten minutes on how I could smell bananas on her breath at ten paces.
Anyway, back to the dead rodent issue. Well, for about three or four days, a strange odor has been wafting into the house from somewhere. It's definitely dead rodent. The scent is strongest in our “library.” (That’s what we call the room where we keep most of our 3,500-plus books.) So, since we have a delightful, generous little dog named Buddy who loves to share his "finds" with us, I thought that perhaps he had stashed a dead rodent somewhere in there. Thus far this winter he has found two discarded deer legs from a hunter’s field-dressed kill, and a couple of rabbits. (No, he didn’t bring them into the house. Just the front yard. Chew toys.)
So, I move things around. Moved and replaced stacks of books. Shifted bookcases. Un-piled boxes. Nada. I've checked elsewhere, too. Behind the television, under the refrigerator and the armoire. Behind the sofa. No traces of rodent genetic material to be found. A CSI investigator, I'm not.
But, when I leave the house for a while and then return, I can still sense that presence—haunting me, laughing at me, thumbing its pointed, whiskered nose at me from the Great Rodent Beyond. So, I've made up my mind. I know what I must do.
Tomorrow I plan to don my "nasty work" coveralls and slither under the house, into the crawl space. There, I hope I can find and easily dispose of the little beggar. Unless, of course, he has snitched on Big Jimmy the Rat, and is wearing small, mouse-sized cement overshoes. Then, I might have to just look the other way.