maggot fingers

Ridge - Roadkill to shelf

WARNING !! This post contains photos and descriptions of dead animals, skinned animals, decomposition, maggots, and the general gory details involved with cleaning up bones.

I’ve gotten a couple asks about the methods I use to clean bones, so I thought I’d put together a quick summary of the journey of my female Badger, Ridge, from road to shelf. It’s not really a tutorial, but I have almost kind of written it like one - keep in mind this is just Ridge’s personal cleanup journey, and all the steps she went through while being processed (it’s pretty similar for all my roadkill though) It’s a bit garbled and I haven’t really clarified anything… Hm. Maybe I will put together a proper tutorial in the future. For now, this is Ridge~

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the posh boy problem

you are at part one.

part two: the posh boy solution

also available on: AO3

***

Posh boy left his mug on the papers again. It will leave a rim on the sports section.

John goes over to the living room table. Then he stops in his tracks. It’s happened again, hasn’t it? More and more often he finds himself giving Sherlock silly petnames in his head. He was never a friend of those, can hardly explain why he is doing it now – in his own thoughts – but something about it calms and provokes him at the same time. He picks up the half-emptied mug of cold tea and thinks this over on his walk to the kitchen sink.

He likes Sherlock. He knows this, has known this for literally ages. That he likes him, and that he likes him in a way that Sherlock most definitely won’t find appealing. Sexually. There, he said it. In his head, of course, never out loud. But Sherlock, with his many frustrating qualities, of which many where outrageously attractive to John, is practically forcing him to feel provoked. Those feelings then lead to … petnames, apparently. He’s had stranger coping mechanisms before.

In his head greets him with hey, handsome in the morning, those wonderful mornings where Sherlock has actually slept and still looks all soft and not quite awake. He calls him genius when he is being too clever again and doesn’t notice, calls him pretty man and silly git and sweetheart when he’s feeling like it, and, of course, posh boy. He doesn’t even know what it is about that one in particular, but he finds that to be the worst. For his sexual frustration, that is. Every time it comes up in his head, which is more and more often, it fuels his imagination vividly. So much that it has even made it to his bedroom and he has dreams, half-asleep, half-awake, about teaching posh boy a lesson, getting posh boy a little dirty, treating posh boy a little rough. These are all terrible thoughts. Because they will stay just as imaginary and sexually frustrating. Posh boy won’t love him back, after all.

One morning Sherlock sits in front of his microscope on the kitchen table. He hasn’t moved for at least two hours. Nothing unusual. In fact, it was how they spend most of their Sundays now. John doesn’t really date anymore, and even if he did, he would not trade these days for anything. They have fallen into this pattern a while ago, the pattern of staying in on lazy Sundays, waking up later and waiting for the other to have breakfast together. Now Sherlock occupies himself with some experiment on maggots and fingers (John doesn’t even ask) and John is sitting in his chair. He is reading a novel about an incredibly clever and cunning explorer who kind of reminds him of Sherlock (he can’t help it, as much as he would like to). Being absorbed in the book, he is confused at first when Sherlock calls him from the kitchen.

“John?”

“Hmh?”

With Sherlock this is either going to be of highest importance or an absurdly unnecessary request.

“Care to pass me my phone?”

John sighs loudly. The latter. Thought so.

“Where is your phone?”

“Breast pocket.”

With his eyes rolling at the ceiling John puts a bookmark in his book, places it on the table next to him and gets off his chair. Walking into the kitchen, he murmurs under his breath.

“I see posh boy’s being a lazy butthead again…”

He takes the phone out of Sherlock’s breast pocket and holds it out for him. But instead of taking it and paying no more attention to him, Sherlock is suddenly staring at him like his face was on fire. John frowns at him. Sherlock, in turn, raises one brow.

“Posh?”

John’s eyes widen in shock and his heart jumps once in his chest and then stops, he thinks, just stops, and he wants to melt and become one with the floorboards. This is bad.

“I’m not posh,” Sherlock complains.

He must notice how John is only blushing more deeply. How? How did he say that out loud without noticing? How the bloody hell could he?

John clears his throat and decides to go along with it. There is no more turning back from here on anyway.

“You… are, actually. Just look at you, you with your… cheekbones. Your… perfectly tailored suits, your annoying British accent and deep voice-”

“We all have British accents.”

“I know!” John is enormously embarrassed, and he feels that if he doesn’t take a long walk right now, he will punch something to calm his inner unsettlement. “I need air.”

But Sherlock isn’t finished. “If anything, you are the posh one, John.”

“Hah! How so, Sherlock Holmes? Have you looked at yourself?”

“Have you looked around this flat in the past years? There are piles of magazines in the corners of every room, there is a Cluedo board pinned to the wall by me, I leave my things wherever I please, the kitchen is a mess of syringes and human body parts – an organised and well structured mess if you know where to look, but not the point right now – and I am currently examining maggots. In contrast to this you, John Watson, are a doctor, you wear your chequered shirts buttoned up to your chin, you’ve lived a clean life not suffering from a drug addiction, have had girlfriends and relationships and altogether live as part of the middle-class society in Central London. You wish for a wife and children and probably a German Shepard and a house in the suburbs, or at least that’s what you think you want, so tell me, John: How am I the posh one?”

John has a hard time finding a response to this that doesn’t only consist of loose vowels. It takes him a good minute, but Sherlock is oddly patient with him.

“First of all,” he manages then, “ I don’t think I want a wife and children, thank you very much. And maybe… maybe I’m not that serious when I call you things like that.”

“So why do you?”

“What?” John’s heart began beating faster once more. He’s so tense.

“Why do you call me a posh… boy?”

Oh fuck, hearing those two words spoken out loud and together and out of Sherlock’s mouth, for God’s sake!

“I- I don’t. Why- why should I even tell you? You read my mind all the time, can I not be allowed to keep this one thing to myself for once?!”

Sherlock narrows his eyes and observes him from head to toe. Oh please no. “No, that’s not it.”

“Alright, you know what? It’s you. Okay? It’s your fault! You just make me so angry all the time. No, don’t- don’t look at me like that.”

Sherlock’s eyes have gone wide and very blue. He looks genuinely hurt by this. Scared even. Scared at what John would say next, what this would mean for them. John feels and shares his pain, and he hates himself for every word he has ever said that would make Sherlock look like this. He is vulnerable and human, after all. Even if he tries to convince everyone around him that he isn’t, John has to stop falling for Sherlock’s own defence mechanism.

“I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just… what you said. There’s no wife and there is no house in the suburbs for me, Sherlock. I just can’t see it. But I see this.” He means Baker Street, means 221B, means … Sherlock. “This life. With you.”

Sherlock’s eyes are still so very blue. He wants to lose himself in them.

“And that makes you angry?” Sherlock asks.

“What? No. I’m just. Forget it.”

John finally has the courage to turn around and go, or maybe he lacks the courage to face him and stay, but either way he walks back into the sitting room, prepared to put on his jacket and leave the house for at least two hours. Sherlock jumps up and follows him.

“John! Wait. We never say what we want to say.”

John swirls around, his mouth a thin line of held back emotions. He stands close to the door. Ready to flee. “And what do you wanna say?”

Sherlock takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, there is courage in the one and fear in the other.

“Me too.”

“Sorry?”

“Me too. I see this, too. Us. This life we share.”

John bites the insides of his mouth because his whole skin feels hot with disbelief and wonder and hope, oh god, so much hope that he doesn’t let himself own.

“What?” he asks instead, going for a weak smile, “You don’t see yourself with a wife and children?”

Sherlock huffs a laugh. “No. Weirdly I don’t.”

They smile at each other.

“So ‘posh boy’,” Sherlock says after a while, “is actually about…?”

“Me being an ungrateful moron? Me never saying what I should say before it’s too late? Me trying to get my anger at all of this under control? Yes. Yes, I suppose it is.”

Sherlock looks down at the spot between his feet. He’s thinking. But not as he usually is, not fast and calculating and mechanical. He’s thinking about the right thing to do. The things he has always wanted to do, but never thought it to be right or appropriate or good for them.

“I can wait for you to figure this out.”

“Wait for me?”

“As long as you need, John. We both agreed, didn’t we? Both of us don’t plan on leaving or getting married and reproduce anytime soon, so.”

“You don’t like waiting,” John points out, but he is already incredibly relieved and impressed by Sherlock’s words.

“No, I don’t. But I like you.”

John doesn’t flee to take an hour-long walk that day. He would never trade a lazy Sunday with Sherlock Holmes, after all. Sherlock continues with his experiment, and John reads. Later they watch telly together and Sherlock yells at the incompetent game show host on BBC One. He said he could wait till John figures this out, whatever this is. But maybe they both don’t have to wait that long. Maybe, just maybe, posh boy could actually love him back.

…to be continued…

@just–elope

The baby isn’t really sleeping anymore...

I’ve work primarily as a nanny for the last decade. This winter, I took a job as an infant nanny in a suburb of Boston. I began this job at the end of January. Baby Catherine was only 2 months old, and my responsibilities consisted mainly of washing her laundry, feeding her, diapering, and putting her down for naps. She was very easy - slept well, ate well, was developing well and growing at a good pace. She seemed to like me more and more each day.

Although it was January, I took her out in the stroller when the wind wasn’t too cold. The neighborhood where the baby lived was pretty nice. Tree lined streets, large yards, the houses well spaced apart. A fair mix of older, Victorian homes and newer constructions. The baby’s house sat at the end of a dead-end street. It was fairly isolated, with a wooded area across the street and at the end of the road. The house next door was very old and in a state of disrepair. I never saw any signs of life when we passed by. Walking past gave me the willies.

I asked Catherine’s parents about the property. What her dad said to me has stuck with me.

“No, it isn’t abandoned, although it ought to be condemned. An old woman lives there, alone. She seems to be one of those hoarder people, but if you ask me, she looks more like a witch.” I laughed, but he had a serious look on his face. “She frightens my wife,” he continued. “She had an.. encounter with her one time, with the baby. We stay away from her.” He wouldn’t elaborate on his wife’s encounter.

February brought us epic snow storms, and our stroller outings ceased until mid-March, when sidewalks were clear of snow and the Siberian winds had more or less abated. I’d been feeling stir-crazy, and so had Catherine, and so I was excited to bundle her into her stroller on the first warm-ish day and go for a walk.

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Mutter

Mutter – back when we had this conversation
you were a Mami, with your 80s perm and all this
love for me sputtering from your irises. “Frost

was my midwife”, you said, when over and over
I asked you to tell me how I was born [not why].
I told you my first memory – The yolk-yellow

comfort of your womb, the only nearness ever
to be lost, the surgeon’s maggot fingers clasping
my torso like a second ribcage, ripping, pulling,

pulling me into the harshness of vision: Sunlight
on a mantle of powdersnow, tears, my own and
those of strangers I had kept a close, inchoate

eye on. When my shriek ate through the blizzard
to huddle up to your eardrum I caught a glimpse
of my miscarried brother – his anthracite body

like chewing gum covered in road grit, his eyes
that would never reveal their color we imagined
to be malachite. In my mind we wept hydrogen

cyanide when we decided to name him Daniel
and sent him off into a blank more desolate than
space, a bald freighter with a gouged starboard.

Mami, now I can tell you’re alive by your world’s
constant diminishment and it’s been thirty years
since I was your child instead of your daughter –

let me unteach you to reap pests when it was idle
wishes you sowed, and I’ll be the first to depart
and widen the sac that will contain us as sisters.