Dead armadillo in a cooler
Durward called me this morning.
He was driving around Florida
With a dead armadillo in the back seat
Looking for a gas station with a Styrofoam cooler and ice
To get his new souvenir stuffed.

I’m sure there will be photographs soon.

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  1. RE: Rick the dead armadillo; the final chapter.

    So I met with a taxidermist who stripped Rick out of his many layers of plastic bags. Yes, the shell was in good condition, surprisingly, but the belly skin was greenish, meaning that Rick’s innards were purtrificating. The inner workings must have gotten pretty mushed up with he was hit. Mr. Taxidermist was not about to open a “opossum on the half shell” knowing that it was going to stink to high heaven. Alas, that was the end of that option.

    I put Rick back in his cooler, now naked and frozen, and tooled up to St. Augustine to see one of our clients. It was about a 2 hour drive. I parked, met the gentleman, we had a great time chatting about St. Augustine, architectural history, preservation issues – way too much fun for a nerd like me. And occasionally I would remember that I had a dead armadillo in the trunk of my rental car, one that was coming back to life internally and may start bloting once thawed. Rolling along I-95 heading back to Orlando I figured I had two options. The first was red-neck taxidermy:

    Get two plastic or metal mild crates.

    Place dead thing inside.

    Wire the two crates together; do so very securely.

    Chain wired crates to a tree.

    Come back in 6 months to collect cleaned bones, shell, whatever.

    I considered a stop at an office superstore for two plastic milk crates, figured out where I could leave the crate/dead armadillo composition while I am here in Orlando, and so on.

    Then, as if whispered by an angel, a voice of reason spoke to me and gave me the second option: “you can just dump the little f#cker on a roadside like you found him.” I had visions of a traditional gangland funeral – speed down road, open door, eject body – but the dead armadillo was in the trunk in a styrafoam cooler and I had somehow developed a sense of responsibility for the rotting remains of the little critter.

    When I got close to my hotel home, I pulled over next to a small wooded site. I unceromoneiously opened the cooler and rolled little Ricky’s cool but not frozen body into the grass. Of course I had to photograph the little guy one last time. I figured he would go back to the food chain I took him out of when I scooped him off the back road where I found him. I put the plastic bag remains in the cooler, the cooler in the trunk, and headed home, hoping that my next dead armadillo would be in better shape

    Durward Potter

  2. Rick’s (post mortem) adventures reminded me of an art professor of mine who collected roadkill and boiled the meat off it so he could use the bones in his jewelry/metalworking. He found a muskrat one weekend and put it on the stove in his basement studio, then went home and forgot about it entirely. When we all showed up for Monday morning’s drawing class the water it had been cooking in was long gone. You can’t imagine the smell.

    This was in a big old, much loved, reputedly haunted building—with huge windows that opened, fortunately. Amazing that he didn’t burn the place down.

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