Roadkill

(A post not for the squeamish.)

When I was around nine years old, I rode bicycles with my cousins every time I visited them. We only rode them on the street they lived on, but it was a long street with lots of obstacles in the way–a road that on both sides sloped downward into a canal, driveways we could pedal up and down on.

The most disgusting obstacles, of course, were the frogs that had been haplessly squished by car wheels. Some of them had been there for more than a few weeks and had been run over repeatedly, leaving behind a flat hide that was nearly indistinguishable from the road around it. I’d be cycling on top of one before I could manage to see and dodge it, and I frequently wondered whether people scraped these off the road with a shovel or just let them disintegrate.

These days, I drive a car on more than one street. I’ve found that there are more than just frogs on the blacktop. Ü

Cats are probably the most common dead animals you see on the roads of the Philippines. We may not have big-antlered deer that freeze in front of oncoming headlights, but cats seem to be fine substitutes. There are whole cats, half cats, pulverized cats, and leather. Yes, sometimes the road cleanup crews don’t get to the carcasses. In time, the heat of the sun and the pressure of wheels mashing into the pavement turn the cat into a lovely piece of hide.

But let’s not forget about dogs. They’re not as prevalent as cats on the roads I travel, but there was this one time I had to swerve around a dog lying paws up. The poor expired canine lay there for two whole weeks before finally being cleaned off the road.

The same day the dog disappeared, I narrowly missed turning a cat carcass into leather.

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