Trust me. I didn't know there would be a part II either but my parents' backyard seems determined to be a toxic wasteland of death or some sort of bird graveyard. I really don't understand why this keeps happening here. I've always thought of my parents' yard as a birds' paradise: trees everywhere surrounding the immaculately clean bird feeders. Why don't the birds come here to live and then go three houses down to die where the neighbors seem absolutely determined to kill their grass this summer by taking the "Slow the flow save H2O" slogan a bit too seriously.

But I discovered the continuing trend of days-old-dead-birds this morning when I walked out into my parents' backyard and came tragically close to kissing a rotting dead bird lying face up, its beak opened wide, when I bent down to pick something up inches away from its body. I suddenly had flashbacks to the Dead Bird Massacre of July 26th (although today'sspecimen looked much worse) and I quickly fled into the house. I use the word "fled" because that's the word they always use in the scriptures when groups of people get freaked out and run for their lives.

I didn't think about it again until tonight when my mom came rushing through the back door, almost inaudibly ranting about some dead bird "with slugs coming out of its mouth!" (Cathie McCann: tellin' like it is) asking me to go out and get it. I must admit she handled the experience better than I did on July 26th which may have something to do with her experience with such situations; her brothers frequently put coiled rattlesnakes in the refrigerator growing up and I'm pretty sure she also had ring worm at some point when she was five although that may have been a made up story to get me to take a bath one night when I was seven.

Anyway, I told mom about July 26th and said as forcefully as I could that I took care of the last one and I was not willing to take the bullet again for these people. She laughed and 10 minutes later my dad walked outside with a thin garbage bag pulled over his bare hand (he had at least 10 fewer tools with loooooong sticks than I used to dispose of the previous bird) muttering something under his breath that was probably a curse to the heavens for only giving him one son and then making that son a pansy. On a side note I stopped feeling guilty for this about 8 years ago when I realized that Micalyne was the son he never had when she almost beat me in an arm-wrestle despite being my little sister, 2 years younger and about 70 pounds lighter.

But gone are the days when children could safely run barefoot through the grass without worrying about a decaying beak slicing their toe open.

And yes, I am in my mid-20s, and I do still live with my parents.