Photo by Ken Mayer on Flickr

Photo by Ken Mayer on Flickr

Poking dead things with sticks | COMMENTARY

Dead thing: 1 — Ray: 0

Geez, it’s dark down here.

Oh, and small. They don’t mince words when they call it a “crawl space,” do they?

Welp, OK. Let’s go find this thing.

Why don’t I… oop… nope… OK, I guess I’ll go over this pipe. Why did they put a pipe right in front of the entrance? Who designed this?

Huh. Dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. I’m really not sure what I expected here.

And rocks. Great.

I probably should have worn something more appropriate. Like, almost anything but a T-shirt and jeans.

Good thing I’m wearing a hat. I’ve never seen so many cobwebs.

And I brought along a poking stick just for the occasion. I’ll just knock down a few here… and there… and… OK, now I have the world’s most disgusting cotton candy stick. And I’m only, like, five feet into here.

At least I haven’t seen any — ugh, spiders. Spoke too soon.

Can someone explain to me why spider corpses are creepier than live spiders? That doesn’t make any sense.

Well, I don’t smell anything yet. Must be further along. Yay.

It’s getting hot. Must be near the heater?

Yeah. Definitely near something warm. It was bad enough when I was cold. Now I’m sweating and covered in crawl space stuff. Way worse.

Join the Enumclaw Historical Society, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.

Yeah, and when they need someone to get down and their stomach and crawl under the museum, they’ll just call you. What a blast.

All right, another pipe… I’ll just go over here and — what did I just put my hand in?!

Oh. Awesome.

Well, now I know something is down here. Or… was. And it probably wasn’t a rat, judging by the size of those. Good thing I’m wearing gloves.

No wonder professionals wear Tyvek suits and face masks. The dust is bad enough, but I don’t even want to open my mouth.

Cool, another pipe. Can I go over? Nope, insulation with fiber glass. Let’s try going under.

Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.

Hell, now I know what John McClain feels like. And I even got the hair to match now.

‘Cept I’ve got a Maglight, and he had a lighter.

All the better to spot dead things with, I guess.

Speaking of, I really hope it’s dead. Because I just realized, only one other person knows where I am right now.

And if a opossum jumps out at me, all I’ve got… is my poking stick.

I should probably call someone. Reid? Joani? And say what?

“Hey, I’m under the museum, would you mind swinging by to make sure I’m not getting mauled by a rabid, starved marsupial?”

Yeah, I think I’ll just skip that conversation. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Speaking of pounds… how the heck am I going to drag this thing back out when I find it? A garbage bag is only going to cut down on the smell so much.

And speaking of smell — gawd. Yeah, I’m close. But where is it?

Oh man, it probably just crawled up under the tarp somewhere down here. It could be any one of these lumps.

Or… could it be above me? If it falls on me like the dead facehugger in Alien, I will absolutely lose my mind.

Seriously, why did I think I could do this on my own? This is literally someone else’s job — I just know how to smash my fingers against a keyboard until semi-literate sentences appear.

I blame the patriarchy, as clichéd as that is.

Screw it, I’ve been down here for the better part of an hour, I can’t find the thing, and it’s getting really dusty down —

Oh no.

I have to sneeze.

Don’t sneeze don’t sneeze don’t sneeze don’t sneeze don’t sneeze don’t — oh god it’s in my mouth oh god oh god spit it out I’m so out of here I’m not coming back I’m hiring a professional I don’t care how much it costs just get me out.

At least my co-workers will laugh at my Snapchat story.

Dead thing: 1 — Ray: 0

Ray Still is the editor of the Enumclaw Courier-Herald.

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