Last Man Standing is a series of articles intended to help the average guy prepare for some of life’s oddest events. It’s just advice. It’s better than being clueless.

The moment of truth has come. You’re stuck with a dead body, and you don’t know what to do with it. Of course, you didn’t make this dead body (you’re a good person, after all), but the circumstances look suspicious. The authorities simply won’t believe your very plausible explanation as to why you’re in possession of a corpse to begin with. Here are a few simple rules that might help you survive:

Ask no one for help, and always pay in cash

If you borrow a shovel, a car or a chainsaw from a friend, you now have an accomplice, or at least someone who can tie you to material used in the disposal of a dead body. If you do need tools to get rid of the deceased, use your own, and then sanitize and burn them afterward (including your shoes and the clothes you were wearing). If you absolutely must buy something to aid you in the nefarious deed, like a large suitcase for the body, or sheets of plastic, pay in cash, conceal you face to some degree, and avoid looking into security cameras.

Assess the local environment and the amount of time and privacy you have

A body in the woods at night is a lot easier to deal with than one in downtown Manhattan at lunchtime. The more time and privacy you have, the easier it will be to make your problem disappear. You might have to toss the corpse into the back of your car (sanitize the hell out of that car when finished) in order to get it to a safe place, where you can handle the remains undisturbed. Mountains, woods, isolated fields and marshes and vast stretches of desert are prefect spots. Find someplace far away from civilization. If that’s just not in the cards, try and locate and isolated venue at least, like an abandoned building or down in the sewer channels.

Don’t bury the remains at home

If you're planning on burying the remains in your garden, under the house, or somewhere else on your property, you’ll be in for some trouble when the police come knocking on your door with their cadaver sniffing dogs. You want as much separation as possible between you and the dead. Again, don't involve your friends or family, or use credit cards or any kind of identification when handling the body or the materials you’ll be using to dispose of the body. And not matter what, don’t leave the body someplace people associate with you (your car, house, work place, girlfriend’s house, etc.)

Body disposal

Forensic science is amazingly sophisticated. You can’t just grind up a corpse and feed it to the chickens anymore. Human DNA can still be found in the poultry long after the body is gone. Assuming that you’ve managed to move the body to and isolated place, and you have a little time to deal with the situation, there are several fairly secure methods you can use to handle your predicament:

– Dissolve the body in sulfuric acid. Use a tub or some other type of container that can withstand the acid. When the body has turned to mush, you can wash the sludge down stream if you’re in a forest, or dump it into a river of lake. If you can’t get out of the city, use the sewer system (not your own toilet), or some large body of water, preferably with a current. Be very careful when procuring the materials you need. Don’t buy the goods from a local shop. Go somewhere where people don’t know you, and will have no cause to remember you.

– Dig a deep hole in the woods. Dig a very deep hole, deeper than you have ever dug before, and bury the body. In the movies, lye or other chemicals are often dumped on top of the corpse. While this can dissolve a significant portion of the body, DNA evidence and other physical traces will probably remain.

– Chop the body up into tiny pieces. If you can grind up a cadaver, or turn it into mulch, that’s great. Then you can simply take the pieces to a large body of water and feed the fish. The biggest problem with this method is the incredible mess, and the prep time involved. You’ll need lots of plastic, lots of privacy, and the appropriate tools (wood chipper, bone saws and so on). This would be the ‘Dexter’ method, more or less, but for this article, we’re assuming you’re not a sociopath with an axe to grind (pun intended), so you probably won’t be as well prepared as someone who has done this a few times.

Stay cool

You can burn the body, bury it, chop it up into more manageable pieces (always clean up your mess and use latex gloves), dispose of the chunks in different places or use acid. What you need to keep in mind is your time management, how likely it is that someone will find the remains or see you with the body, as well as any tie, no matter how small, that you and the newly deceased have in common.

Stay sharp, don’t panic, don’t involve others in your project, dispose of and sanitize everything you use with alcohol and fire if possible, and please, for the sake of our species, don't make this a habit forming activity.

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