Posted in Stories

Dead or alive?

“If you ever see a dead possum on your front doorstep…”

Yeah, like that’s going to happen. I see them in the road, just a step too slow to avoid traffic. I’ve seen their eyes aglow on the side of the road, staring down my headlights. According to some, it’s a good omen. Others say it’s a threat.

There is no way this possum had a heart attack or succumbed to COVID-19 or cashed in his chips right here outside my office door. Is this some kind of joke? Is someone trying to send me a message?

A dead fish on your doorstep means you will be killed. In the Godfather, a dead horse’s head in the bed was an offer you couldn’t refuse. A dead squirrel means you need more balance in your life. A dead bird is a sign of change and renewal. If you dream about a dead mouse, supposedly someone close to you is experiencing difficulty.

Or maybe he’s “playing possum.” He should be good at it. Pretending to be dead. A defense strategy to deter a predator. He saw me coming. He panicked. Instinct kicked in. He keeled over. Dead.

I grabbed a broom and swept him into the yard. Never saw him again.

Dead. Or alive?

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