Our fingers typed a question we could barely believe as they hit the keys: how to get blood off cement.
That was the Google search.
It could’ve been worse, right? It could’ve been, How to put anti-freeze in someone’s drink without them smelling it, or, How to bake arsenic into cookies so it goes undetected. How do we know about anti-freeze and arsenic, you might ask? We have a not-so secret love of late night murder mystery elfows — so much so that we spent half of our Hawaii honeymoon doing three things at the same time:
1. Eating bags of Lays potato chips (because restaurants are expensive on the islands and, as newlyweds without a credit card, we didn’t even qualify to sit through a timeshare presentation!)
2. Eating boxes of Mauna Loa chocolate-covered macadamia nuts (seriously, a box a night).
3. Watching Keith Morrison, the white-haired mystery show host who looks half skeleton and half angel (coincidence? we think not!), who would start every episode with these epically ominous words in his low, mysterious drawl, “It was a smaaaaall town. A quiet town. A place where everyone knew everyone and never locked their doors at night. Why? Because they didn’t need to. Until… they had a very good reason to.” Cue creepy music! Dun, dun, dun… So, needless to say, we’re no strangers to stories with a little intrigue to them. We just never thought we’d be in one. Until we were! Cue creepy music again! Dun, dun, dun!
Let’s start at the beginning. It wasn’t a small town, and it wasn’t a quiet place. In fact, no one knew each other at all. It was the Denver airport. Gate 9. Or maybe 19. Our flight had been delayed enough times to have a few grumpy passengers bullying the nice woman at the airline counter (who obviously had control over the mechanical failure of the plane in Dallas and clearly would’ve put us all on a plane without workable brakes if things like “company policy,” “industry standard,” and “the safety of humans” weren’t, ya know, standing in her way).
We looked down and what we saw is a sight we’ll never, ever forget for as long as we live
Unsuspecting, we opened our one-car garage. It lifted slowly, one painful creak and rugged jolt at a time. Once it was clear, we started to pull the car forward. But stopped. Fast. With a gasp and a cringe. We looked down and what we saw is a sight we’ll never, ever forget for as long as we live. We think our car was even too scared to pull inside. So, we parked it, just outside, the headlights illuminating the deepest depths of the dark garage, revealing a sight we couldn’t believe we were seeing. Amy stayed in the car. Jordan stepped out. Slowly. Before the door slammed shut, the pungent, putrid smell invaded his nostrils, almost making him sick. He covered his face with his left hand and left his right free in case he needed it. One inch at a time, he shuffled toward the fresh pool of blood in the back of the garage as its tributaries slowly inched toward him…
It was a dead animal. A DEAD animal. A DEAD FURRY ANIMAL. What kind? We couldn’t tell you. Its back half was wedged in-between two plastic storage bins. Its front half was swollen. At first, we thought it was a baby javelina. (If you’re not a desert-dweller, like us, that’s kind of like a furry Poomba, a desert pig.) There just aren’t very many furry things that live here in Arizona. After more thought, we imagined it might be squirrel or a rabbit or a really big rodent. But we just couldn’t tell.
It was late, we were exhausted, and there was no possible way our brains were functioning at anything close to resembling full capacity. They were laptops with just a few percent battery left. Moving. So. Slow. Ly. The best we could muster from our eyes was a squint — which was probably a good thing, because the full sight of what we were seeing would’ve been something that might’ve caused us never to see again. But that smell. Ohhh, that smell. How people on Dateline leave dead bodies in their trunks/closets/sheds is beyond us. So, bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived, and not knowing what else to do (or maybe not wanting to know what else to do), we did what anyone (or maybe just us) would do: we pulled the car into the driveway, and left it there. We left it there. Overnight. All night. We left the dead furry animal there all night. We’d just been on the road for an entire month, and remember, we’d just endured the longest day of flight delays, which resulted in slow reflexes and mushy brains.
That’s when we Googled it: how to get blood off cement
Jordan opened the garage door, pulled the car out, and it was still there, in all its (insert English accent) gory bloody glory. Fortunately, a maintenance crew member walked by at the same time. Jordan flagged him down and asked for help removing it from the garage. The man in the neon green long-sleeved shirt approached with a flat-head shovel and a white bucket, scraped the metal against the cement floor underneath the belly of the beast, and lifted him into his (almost) final resting place. Trying not to gag from the odor, the man walked out, but the blood stain remained. Since it was still wet — and our only experience with blood-stained cement is from Dateline — Jordan left it for the time-being and went back inside.
That’s when we Googled it: how to get blood off cement.
Six words we never thought we’d Google. At least not in that order.
Scratch that. In any order.
With each stroke of the keyboard, we felt guiltier and guiltier. Like any second we’d set off an alarm. Or trigger a flag. Or get added to a government watch list. But there was blood on our garage floor, people! What else is a millennial supposed to do?! Google it. That’s what. And we did. Then, we did what every criminal on Dateline always does: we went to Wal-Mart… and bought an industrial-strength scrub brush… and a big bottle of bleach. At checkout, we felt shady, you guys. Real shady. So, we did what we do whenever we have to buy murder cleanup materials (or other personal products): we went to self-checkout. Aww yeah! On the drive home, Amy reminded Jordan how big and strong he was. How much she trusted him. And how she’d always admired his cleanliness and attention to detail. And then she handed him the scrub brush.
After a few days of pouring puddles of bleach on the puddles of blood, letting it sit, scrubbing it out, repeating, and singing Taylor Swift the entire time — because you know we got baaad blood! — the bloodstain was (mostly) gone. But that was only half the problem. How’d a dead animal get into a closed garage in the first place?! That answer came a few days later.
And that’s why we couldn’t help but write these words on a Pink Slip File
“Stop him!” the repairman shouted.
“David!” Jordan belted out.
David turned around and walked back.
“Do that again,” the repairman requested.
He did. David clicked his garage door opener and not one, but two garages opened simultaneously. His. And ours. AND OURS! This whole time. Months and months of wondering. Of questioning. Of thinking we were Looney Toons. The garage up. The garage down. Did it shut? Did it not? That night. The dead animal. That smell. The Googling. The bleaching. The scrubbing. We feel like we’re having a butterfly effect moment right now! It ALL finally made sense. All of it. We could hear Keith Morrison narrating the whole thing. And it was all because our garage doors had accidentally gotten on the same radio frequency. How it happened, we don’t know. It just, as the repairman explained, happens.
And that’s why we couldn’t help but write these words on a Pink Slip File: We’ll never forget why we Googled “how to get blood off cement.” Because for as much as a story like that isn’t one you really want to remember. It’s also one you don’t really want to forget.
(Photos by Melissa Jill)
Want to catch up on The Pink Slip Files? You can read them all right here:
Intro: What Are the Pink Slip Files?
No. 1: Failing Pre-Marital Class & Otter DNA
No. 2: Sink or Swim
No. 3: Turning Off the Lights
No. 4: Leave a Message at the Tone
No. 5: Chocolates, Mystery Shows & Honeymooning
No. 6: Cutting Coupons & Wal-Mart Jeans
No. 7: Paper Chains of Memories
No. 8: Dancing on Bar Tops
No. 9: Man’s Best (Feline) Friend
No. 10: Confessions of a Waffle Fry
No. 11: What’s So Important About Shoelaces?
No. 12: Breaking Records… Like It’s 1924
No. 13: Why We’re Not as Classy as We Thought
No. 14: A Letter to My Only Starbucks Lover
No. 15: The Night We Killed Someone (Kind Of)
No. 16: Lord, It’s a Fire!
No. 17: 6 Words We Thought We’d Never Google