" “I had to dig up a dead killer whale about two weeks after it was buried: Kandu, the male. The laboratory asked after a sample for one particular part of the brain, which was missed during an exhaustive necropsy,” he says. “The vet asked me, ‘Can you get someone to do this? ’ I could never ask someone else to do that, so I suited up, and I went out there.”
I tried to picture it: Demers in a haz-mat suit or something, perched at the lip of a grave containing a 4.5-metric-ton killer whale that had been interred for two weeks. Demers slip-sliding around a rotting whale carcass—a mountain of putrefying flesh—in the wee hours of the night. By what, lantern light? How the hell did he get the brain out? You can’t pick up a whale and shake him until his brain falls out like a dried pea from a soda can. You ever touched a whale? Its skin is as tough as an inner tube. Was Kandu’s skull sawed apart already? I mean, Christ—try to picture it yourself: Phil Demers’ arm sunk shoulder deep in a killer whale’s head, gloved fingers rummaging through blubber and shattered bone and Valium-steeped blood for that runnelled bowling ball of a brain. "