When Clancy awoke, he didn’t have to get out of bed to know that the mule was still there, rotting in the middle of the road.
It had been there for three days now, bloating up in the summer heat, gathering flies and other foul things to it. But this was the first time the stink had been enough to wake him.
Clancy stood and began to make his morning water in the chamber pot.
He scratched around the edge of his beard as his urine rang against the porcelain.
“Didn’t used to be like this.” He muttered to himself. “Used to be if a mule fell over dead, it got cleaned up.”
Finished, he buttoned himself up and scooped up the bowl.
“Not since them Union boys come, though.”
Clancy stepped out to his stoop where a tuxedo cat was there to great him, holding the decomposing ear of the dead mule in its mouth, purring happily.
“Hsstt! Get!” Clancy shouted, tossing the contents of his chamber pot after the fleeing cat. The waste left a wet streak in the dirt.
“Now everybody thinks the city is like some kind of giant toilet.” He spat. “It’s absolutely despicable.”
When the Union troops took over control of the city, there was period of social service breakdown. No one knew who was still in charge, and more importantly, if those people had the money to pay them at the end of the week. So, problems started to emerge, like the mule that was left to rot for several days in a Memphis neighborhood because no one from the city would clean it up.