HUMOR: A dead raccoon named Gerry with a fanciful tale | Lifestyles

When a dead raccoon showed up in our yard a couple of weeks ago, I pondered a way to tell the tale that would take it from revolting to slightly less revolting. I decided to go with the style of hardboiled detective fiction for this true (though slightly embellished) story I call …

the Dead Raccoon’I was in my office, looking forward to that bottle of hooch that waited at the end of the day for a down-and-out PI That’s when she burst through the door.

She was tall, with gams that wouldn’t quit and a look in her eye that said she had been there, done that and won the pony. She was the kind of dame a gumshoe like me wouldn’t mind getting to know a little better.

“Say, what is the meaning of this?” I said, glaring from under the brim of my fedora.

“Why are you talking like that?” she shot back.

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“Like you’ve been watching ’30s gangster movies on Turner Classic all day instead of writing a column.”

“Hey, I ask the questions around here. Now, what is it I can do for you, lady?”

“There is a dead raccoon in our yard.”

“I’ll take the case. I get a hundred a day plus expenses.”

“You’ll get your %$# out there and get that dead raccoon out of our yard.”

Yeah, she was a feisty one alright. Cross her and a man could end up dead. Dead like a… raccoon.

The body was in a ditch at the end of the yard, stuck halfway in the opening of a culvert partially covered by chicken wire some hapless homeowner had put up in a futile attempt to keep groundhogs out of his garden.

“Somebody sure had it in for you, buddy,” I said.

He was long past answering back.

For now, he would go down as a John Doe, which I found confusing since he was a raccoon and not a female deer with a masculine first name. I decided to call him Gerry RaCooney, as a tribute to former heavyweight boxer Gerry Cooney, who wore a similar dazed expression when Michael Spinks knocked him out in June of 1987.

“Don’t worry, Gerry,” I said as I used posthole diggers to load the body into a cardboard box for disposal. “I’m on the case.”

Suspects weren’t hard to come by on this side of town. There was Ma Groundhog and her boys, a produce theft ring most active from May to September, stealing from the rubes who were dumb enough to plant a garden and think they could get away with it. Did Gerry run afoul of her brood and pay the ultimate price?

Then there was the Feral Street Cats, a gang of neighborhood toughs led by Mr. Orange.

Had Mr. Orange ordered a hit on Gerry, a whack carried out by the vicious Earl Gray Jr. and Whiskers Billy?

And just how did that poor bastard Gerry die in the yard? I guess that was for the raccoroner to figure out.

In the end, I did the job I was hired to do. I removed Gerry, poor, dead Gerry from the yard. I wasn’t hired to crack the case. I was hired to clean up the mess.

“Is the dead raccoon gone?” she asked when I went back inside.

I looked into those eyes, those eyes that could drive a man to do the unthinkable.

“Yeah, the dead raccoon is gone,” I said. “I did your dirty work, lady. But he was not just a dead raccoon to me. He was Gerry. Gerry! And don’t you ever forget it.”

I closed the door to my office and took the bottle of hooch down off the shelf.

“Here’s to you, Gerry,” I said, “the best dead raccoon a private dick like me could ever dispose of. May you rest in peace.”

Hollifield is editor of The McDowell News in Marion, North Carolina, and a humor columnist. Contact him at


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