Raining Maggots

My least favorite job involved some sort of dead animal in a chimney, and a crap-ton of maggots. I’ve worked with Allstate Animal Control for a number of years now, and I’ve had a few weird jobs, one that scared me half to death, and then there are the ones you will never forget. This was a job I still see in my nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen dead animals before – more times than I can count – and it wasn’t my first run in with maggots, but something about the combination and the atmosphere just made it spooky.
It was a gloomy Tuesday afternoon, a storm was rolling in and I remember because we could hear the faint sound of thunder in the distance, but it was our last job for the day (we had inspected the home the day before and were ready to finish up and clean too, if possible). I had just finished lunch when we pulled up to this old, straight out of a Stephen King book, cabin. We grabbed our gear, and headed to the door ready to pull the dead animal out of the chimney and get it over with. After talking with the owners and setting up our stuff, we pulled on our hazmat suits and prepared ourselves for the unavoidable stench of death. As we did that, thunder shook the house and the already dim lights flickered. I gave my buddy John the ‘if it gets too bad outside we’ll have to finish this tomorrow’ nod, and he returned it; and then, we brazened up and started to scrape the chimney.
Not long after I started, I made the mistake of laying down and looking up the chimney to get a better look, to which a torrent of maggots responded, hitting me like a tsunami (one got in my mouth!). This was followed up by another clap of thunder, and the release of the dead animal. In shock from the attack of maggots and trying to spit out whatever dust and bugs were in my mouth, I didn’t think to pull out of the fireplace and avoid, whatever it was dead in the chimney, coming down and landing on me as well. As I took in the stench of rot, decay, and smoke, I let out a scream that Edvard Munch would have been proud of, and every piece of food I ate that day left its place in my stomach, and covered the chimney. To this day, I have bad dreams about that job, but I did learn that when dealing with a dead animal in a chimney, don’t stick your head in the fireplace!

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