Friend: Stickhead (she does actually call me that, always has done, long story).
Friend: Before you head on, could you do me a favour?
Me: Erm, yes (already wary).
Friend: There's something in the end barn that needs moving. You'd better bring a barrow and a pitchfork.
Me: Righty ho (even more wary).
(We pick our way through knee deep mud to the aforementioned barn).
Friend: Ok, at the weekend I was in here and I noticed a badger curled up in the straw.
Me: A BADGER!
Friend: Errr yeah. And it looks well fierce so I didn't get too close. And I'm worried because I can't get the door closed as it's too swollen.
Me: WHAT!? The badger is so swollen you can't shut the barn door!?
Friend: No you idiot. The barn door is swollen, not the badger. Anyway I need the badger out of there.
Me: Right. Can you not just shoo it out!?
Friend: Well I think it might be dead.
Me: And you reasoning for that is?
Friend: Well, it hasn't moved since Sunday.
Me: Point taken.
Friend: It gives me the fear.
Me: Seriously? (This girl grew up on a farm and I've seen her with my own eyes plucking geese and chopping up dead chickens).
Friend: Yeah. Could you have a closer look? Just in case it's not dead like.
Me: Well I'd say it's defiantly dead (it's lying there all stiff with a glazed look in it's eyes). I don't need to get any closer.
Friend: What if it's hibernating?
Me: Badgers do not hibernate.
Friend: Are you SURE? I don't want it to burst into life.
Me: It's not about to burst anywhere. I can assure you (although I have a small surge of fear that it might defy the odds and come back to life the minute I get near. If you aren't overly au fait with badgers then they are the largest carnivorous mammal in the UK. They have very sharp teeth, VERY sharp claws, are very strong and not pleasant if threatened).
Me: Anyway can you help me get it in the barrow. If you hold shovel, I can move it with the pitchfork.
Friend: I CAN'T EVEN LOOK AT IT!
Me: Oh for gods sake. Give me the pitchfork and I'll get it in the barrow myself (clearly 5 years of changing nappies has totally desensitised me to horrible sights).
Friend: Do you think we should work out why it died first? I think you're meant to report it.
Me: Are YOU volunteering to conduct an autopsy?
Friend: Err, no.
Me: Well then. We shall just dispose of it and no one will ever know (I have many years experience of disposing of dead pets in illegal fashions).
With that I start trying to lift it up with a pitchfork.
It weighs about 4 stone, is much too large to fit on the end of the pitchfork, is rock solid and awfully stiff.
Friend: I CAN'T EVEN LOOK!
Me: Gah - it's too heavy, I can't hold it, hang on, I'm going to have to toss it......
Me: URRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH (inhuman strength surges through my arms. At the end of the day I do not want the bugger coming back on top of me).
With that I lever it up with the pitchfork and with an almighty heave-ho fire catapult it across the barn. It hits the bottom of the wheelbarrow with an almighty thwack and comes to rest.
Friend: What the f**k did you do that for!?
Me: As opposed to what? Caress it's disease ridden body with both arms and give it a full State Funeral?
(Actually by this point a kind of grim black humour had overtaken us and we couldn't stand upright for laughing so hard. Sorry badger - God rest your rather stiff soul and all that).
At this point my phone bleeps with a text.
Husband: Do you want lunch? Where are you?
Me: I'm just tossing a dead badger. I think I'll give lunch a miss.
Husband: Erm, Ok.
Friend: Can you move the barrow for me and empty it.
Friend: I just can't be TOTALLY sure it's dead.
Me: (In disbelief) What else do you need me to do to demonstrate it's dead?
Friend: I get your point, but all the same, it could be hibernating........