Roadkill Toys: Cuddly, European-style gore!

A few years back, in the hazy, mythical days of 2004, my wife and I took a trip to Eastern Europe. The dollar was strong then, and an underpaid English instructor and his bookstore-staffer girlfriend could travel like royalty on the other side of the former Iron curtain.

We wandered all over, reveling in the grotesque history of the area and its rich, potato-based cuisine. Finally, we drifted into Brno, eager to see the city's famed freeze-dried Capuchin monks. Unfortunately, the monastery was closed for the winter, but we vowed that someday, somehow, we would venture back and revel in the wonder of dead, shriveled monks.

About a year after we came back to the U.S., Gelitin, a Vienna-based art collective, unveiled what may be the coolest public art project since England's Cerne Abbas chalk sculpture. Gelitin's "Rabbit" is a 200-foot long pink bunny that is sprawled across a hill in Italy's Piedmont region. Filled with straw, the stuffed animal is made of soft cloth and features "guts" that are artfully strewn around it. Visitors are encouraged to crawl all over the bunny, reveling in its weird texture and grotesque design.

"Rabbit" is scheduled to stay in place until 2025; presumably, the dollar will deflate sometime between now and then. In the meantime, however, I've got another source for my dead stuffed animal fixation. An English company, Roadkill Toys, has unveiled "Grind," a bunny doll that is designed to look and feel like a piece of street pizza. Filled with "micro-bead" stuffing, its guts are designed to have realistic weight and "squidgyness." It comes complete with a recycled-paper "toe tag," a plastic "body bag," and a handy zipper across its belly, in case you want to stow the guts inside the carcass. If you don't care for rabbits, there's also "Twitch," a squashed raccoon.

At £25 a pop, Roadkill's toys aren't cheap, but they're still a lot less expensive than a plane ticket to Italy. As for the Capuchin monks, I guess I'll just have to make do with staring at beef jerky.

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's tried hanging out in New York graveyards, but it just isn't the same. Bring on the Capuchin monks!
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