Once upon a time I worked for a theatre and lived in cast housing two-and-a-half miles away. Two-and-a-half miles may not seem that far to commute to work to you, but when you live in a place with no public transportation, and half the people you live with don’t have cars, getting to work suddenly becomes a big thing.
We had a friend who would ride with the husband and me to work almost every day. We’ll call him M. I love M. He has the sort of sarcasm, wit, and nerve that are hard to resist.
During the heat of July, we drove past a dead raccoon on the side of the road. Naturally, M instantly said, “Oh poor Gerty. Such a terrible death after a hard life.”
We all laughed and assumed that Gerty would be gone by the time we headed home at the end of the day. But Gerty was still there.
M added to her tale. “I think it was her pimp that did her in. Poor Gerty, forced by circumstance into a life of prostitution.”
The next day, she was still there. And the next. Soon, Gerty was bloated, and M railed about how she had turned to food as a vice, and it was because she got so heavy that her pimp killed her.
Then I don’t know if Gerty got re-runover or just deflated. Either way, the story changed to “Gerty’s started starving herself for the approval of her pimp!”
It went on for a disgustingly long time. Gerty seemed to die and come back to life several times along this twice daily narrative. It got to the point where we would all shout “Gerty!” joyfully when we reached her corpse, simply because we wanted to hear what came next in the story.
And then one sad day, we all shouted “Gerty!”, but she wasn’t there. She had moved on to a new life, with a new pimp, in a new town.
Sometimes when I see a dead raccoon on the side of the road, I still add to Gerty’s tale of woe. But hey, it worked out for Julia Roberts, and I think Gerty still has a chance. So here’s to Gerty, the Dead Prostitute Raccoon. May you venture many places, cross many roads, and get away from your pimp.