Four years ago, I became convinced we had a dead body in our backyard.
Four years and two months ago, we moved into this house.
It's August of 2009. In the short time since we've moved into our house, we've been doing normal cleaning and moving in-type stuff, mostly focused on the interior of our home.
One day I venture into the backyard to investigate the compost heap the previous owners so kindly left behind for us (<---- I've tried typing that statement several different ways and it always sounds sarcastic, but it's not- I really was happy that this was a feature of our new yard), digging through it a bit to see what they've been piling on there.
Then I notice the giant black trash bags.
There were at least a dozen of them, and they were piled high in the small space between the fencing of the compost heap and the corner of the fence that surrounds our yard. They all seemed to be hugely full. I tentatively grabbed the drawstring of one, pulled to test the weight, and discovered that it was absurdly heavy.
Obviously there was a dead body in there.
In my mind, there was no other possible explanation. Yes, those were the huge black yard waste-style trash bags (big enough for a body), but why on earth would you put grass clippings and such in bags when you have a two compost bins, a fire pit, and miles of flower beds that need to be mulched?
I poked at the top layer of bags a bit with a stick, and while it didn't feel like poking a dead body (because I have so much experience in the "poking corpses with sticks" field), it was more than conceivable to me that they filled the top bags with leaves or whatever and buried the body somewhere in the morass of supposed yard waste. It was quite brilliant, really. The compost pile would help disguise the smell of decomposition (or so I'm led to believe based on my considerable knowledge gleaned from murder mystery books), and after a few years it would all be more organic nutrients for the garden, anyway!
This is really not where I meant to go with this post.
I decided a dead body was way more than I was willing to deal with and, thanks to my possibly unhealthy ability to compartmentalize, willfully ignored those trash bags for four years.
Until a few weeks ago.
I finally decided it was time for me to grow up and find out exactly what was hiding in there. Astonishingly (to no one but me), there were no humans anywhere in that mess, dead or otherwise, although I did have a bad moment when one of the bags broke open when I was dragging it into the open, it burst open, and thousands of roly polies came swarming out.
I got the corner cleaned out. The bags contained grass clippings, leaves, and pine cones. And the roly poly family reunion. And an earthworm that was so big I thought it was a snake at first.
Maybe in another four years I'll have screwed up enough courage to clear away the cinder blocks piled out side the back of our fence (why would they have left a pile of those things in such a strange, out-of-the-way location? CLEARLY something is afoot here).