Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cadaverine. Putrescine. Tomato. Tomato.

Have a look at these two molecules. Their structure is subtly different, but both cause one's nose to feel the sensation of STINK.


First hand experience came in the form of a late Possum, spread out across some of the bark chips covering part of the area beside our driveway. Underneath and inside said former Possum—protected in Australia, while in NZ it's open season on the blighters!—was a sea of maggots that would have interested 'Grissom', a character from the original CSI series. In fact, even as I held my breath while wrapping the reeking corpse into several layers of plastic, rubbish bags, I was thinking that maybe I should know more about maggots. Everybody should because, unless you, after your certain demise, are cremated or hermetically sealed into some enclosure inaccessible to blowflies, you'll be consumed in a similar manner to the putrescine-leaking corpse.

This stuff is serious, I tell you! I picked up the flaccid furry gross-out maggot riddled using a plastic bag, which I then inverted around it, plus inserting it into three more, before it went into the rubbish, to be collected on the following day and integrated into the great Equalizer, that being the municipal rubbish tip of Pine Rivers Shire—because we actually live just outside the official City of Brisbane.

Having disposed of the thing I the realized that there was still some lingering stench, and not just whatever remained on the bark-chips. Actually it was on the fingers of my right hand, with some juice or maybe just clingy stench having seeped right through the, not very thick, plastic of the bag and onto me. Took me some serious soaping and rinsing to get it off.

Ahh, yes, that's molecules for you. Sneaky little buggers.

And death, too, because I'm watching far too much Dead Like Me right now, ploughing through Season 2. It's the kind of show to make you ultimately paranoid—even more than the Final Destination movies were prone to induce. All of a sudden you look at the world around you as filled with creative means to kill you with what would otherwise be quite un-scary objects. I find myself very careful at the moment, paying close attention to objects that qualify as 'everyday', especially if they're pointed, sharp, have high centers of gravity and not much of a base, loose objects on the ground that might trip you up, head-height items sticking out from...well, wherever. Stuff like that. When I see someone doing something fraught with potential for lethal disaster I have to fight back an urge to tell them off, with maybe an afterthought of "What kind of a stupid pillock are you anyway? Haven't you seen Dead Like Me?"

And I wonder what had befallen that Possum. It was pretty large, and not just because it was getting 'runny' and spreading out over the ground. So I suppose it may just have been old. Pretty gray it was, too, but then again all of them are, so it's hard to tell.

So, did it fall out of the top of that tall gum tree underneath which it lay? Heart attack? Old age? A careless slip? Just dumb shit out of luck?

The things we'll never know...

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