I used a razor-blade to slice open the material that was covering the hole... BINGO!
The smell that came out was such a distinctly concentrated essence of decomposition, that my suspicions were immediately confirmed. What I didn't know, was that this extraction would prove incredibly difficult. That damned rat had made a nest in there, that was nothing short of an elaborate man-cave... Leaves, bits of insulation, pecan shells, dried droppings, hair, etc... It was like a rodent's version of Hoarders. I went at the task with a ShopVac initially and managed to suck out a ton of the debris but not everything. After all that was painstakingly removed, what was left was the fallen beast himself. I dunno how long the son of a bitch had been dead in there but I was able to just about completely de-fur the little bastard's corpse as if the lil fella was a perfectly preserved piece of the Donner party... but unfortunately stuck as stuck can be.
There's a hole that is located between the "death chamber" and the body panel and unfortunately, the late Mr. Nibbles wasn't willing or able to pull his fat hairy dying ass completely inside the portal. So what we have here now, is a "half in/ half out" situation. It's not yet apparent how much of the little vagabond's body is on the other side of the round hole but at least for now, he is stuck like a square peg. My Rodent Extraction Team that consists of myself, my best friend, and my fiance has determined that there's some hind legs, stellar large testicles, and/ or shifted innards causing one hell of an hour-glass shape... and THAT is what's hindering the removal. The dearly departed simply will not come out. The majority of the body is accessible but unless the carcass deforms a bit more, that varmint isn't going anywhere. We contemplated at this point, possibly trying to break or saw in half the balding jerky-like remains, but I'm afraid that at that point, the remaining ass end might wind up inaccessible since that particular portion will be out of reach between the outer and inner sheet-metal. I've opened up the fender-liner on the outside and tried to get a view of the rodent's ass-end but I can't see it at the moment and I'm thinking that without actually removing the entire quarter-panel, that I never will. Long story-short... I want to get ALL of this thing... not just part of it.
To end this segment of the story, I have to give props to my fiance... a girly-girl that is clean and proper in almost every regard. My hands and my buddy's hands are just too large to be able to access the rat-mummy's Mausoleum so we had tried to use everything from channel-locks to bbq tongs... with no luck. Well... after watching us for a while, my fiance finally decided that she would suit-up with neoprene gloves and give it a go. My buddy and I were a bit taken back with her decision. You see... She has small hands and she was able to get one of them into the main death-chamber and take a very direct approach to the extraction. She grabbed a-hold of the bastard and worked it like a hungry lad with his arm up inside a vending machine that refused to give up the Skittles. No matter how she wriggled and manipulated that thing, she just could not get it out. Still... my buddy whispered to me several times as we watched her take charge of the situation "... you need to marry her...". Haha.
So the saga continues. I'm going to give it another couple weeks and then go back in and see if we can't break or manipulate the remains to the point of being able to pull it the rest of the way through the hole and finally extract it fully in-tact. We shall see. I will say that the smell is considerably less pungent than it was when we started this whole process.... no maggots and no moisture content whatsoever although I'm guessing that the aromatic contents of the ShopVac will not likely be making it into the Chanel Spring Collection line-up of fresh new scents.
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