I moved a dead cat today.

We noticed it last night, half-curled and not moving pressed up against our house next to the front porch. Half-uncurled and not living, it lay wedged between the porch’s cement wall and a thick bush composed of disorderly stalks that tried but failed to conceal it.

The Mayor’s Action Center has a form to use when such deaths occur on public property like an alley or street or curb.  However,

If the dead animal is on private property, please call the Mayor’s Action Center (MAC) at 327-4MAC to discuss options for pick up.

When the then closed office opened the next morning, I called. The options, as it turned out, involved my first moving the deceased animal to public property like an alley or street or curb…

I thought I might use a snow shovel, its wide blade perhaps best for sliding under the entire body of the unfortunate creature. However, the tight space of its departure confounded such plans. So I settled on a square shovel with shorter handle that could better insinuate itself between bush and porch.

Even with that more suitable instrument, it took some time to shift the body away from the clutches of the now confrontational stalks and coax it into a position conducive to shoveling.

Time enough to notice its mouth open in final scream and baring exposed teeth so sharp and pointy yet oh so pointless now.

Death has weight, you know. It’s quite heavy. I feared I might cut it in half during my graceless exertions and end up making it twice the burden. But I delivered it safely – an ironic adverb for sure – to the curb.

As I drove to work I thought of the one guy – and there is just one guy in the whole city; that is what the mayor’s office told me – driving around all day to pick up remains from alley or street or curb.

I wondered what goes through his mind as he does what has to be done.

I know what went through my mind as I did what had to be done:

Ah, gee whiz,

may you now rest in peace.