There is a dead rat at the end of the driveway of our new house. It is so badly decomposed that I thought it was a big brown leaf but Audrey looked at it one day and saw what it really was.
Much screaming ensued, I can assure you. From her dramatic performance you would have thought she had uncovered a mass grave in our front yard.
Anyway no one has moved the carcass so it just sits there. One day when we made a family trip to the mailbox (I don't know why the kids have to go with me to check the mail but they do, every time) Audrey took a moment to visit with the dead rat.
"Let's name him," she suggested. "Mr. Henry. His name should be Mr. Henry."
I was engrossed in a packet of coupons and Grant just shrugged. Audrey continued.
"Mr. Henry, we want to say something to you. We want to say that we're so sorry."
Grant was jolted from ambivalence - his reaction was lightning-fast and assured. He kicked the gravel at Mr. Henry and Audrey. "Sorry?! What am I sorry for? I didn't do anything to him? I'm not sorry for anything!"
You have to understand that Grant is busy enough taking responsibility for the crimes that he really did commit. He has no time to accept blame for things he didn't do.
Audrey kept her eyes on Mr. Henry, unfazed by the rocky disturbance her brother was causing. "Mr. Henry, we are sorry. We're sorry that..." Her eyes were cast downward but I could see that she was searching the ground for some way to complete the sentence she had just started. It's a poor dead rat. Surely there is something we should be sorry about here...
"We're sorry that, that you died."
Grant scoffed. I put a coupon for Disney on Ice (4 for $44) under my arm and threw the rest of them in the recycling bin. Audrey took one last look at Mr. Henry and started a solemn retreat back to the house.
And sadly, no one made any attempt to dispose of Mr. Henry.