html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Please no opossums.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Please no opossums.

As a special bonus treat today, I get to go up into my attic to see whether I am right that the raccoons have moved in above my bedroom. You are so jealous.

I made merciless fun of Chris when he had two separate beehives in the walls of his house. But his bees never woke him with scrabbly feet and the sounds of eating above his head. And dropping loud things. What the fuck were they doing for two hours last night? Redecorating? I am afraid the raccoons are past the catfood stage. I'm scared the next time the raccoons wake me at 2:00am, they will be whipping up a stirfry and drinking the beer I keep for guests. God knows they're smart enough to open the fridge.

I can't think which I want more. A frenzied, frantic mother raccoon trapped in a Havaheart, desperate kits clinging to the outside, or a desperate kit trapped in a Havaheart, with a furious mother raccoon sitting on top, screeching, telling me to come get a piece of her. I'm the luckiest girl alive.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a wee lad my brother and I took the notion of having a raccoon as a pet. As these are not readily available at pet stores the logical step was to borrow our neighbor's humane trap and capture one, name it, domesticate it, and then train it to do tricks. For reasons unknown our mother agreed to this plan.

We borrowed Frank's trap. It was rectangular with both ends open. You place bait in the middle and the presence of a Varmint(tm) causes both ends to slam shut. At which point you are expected to humanely dispose of the trapped animal on some Orwellian animal farm. Or domesticate it. Your choice.

The dawn of the first morning presented us with an empty trap, alluring bait untouched by ring-eyed hands. We persevered. The second day was no more successful. We maintained hope. The third repeated the failures of the first two. We staged a sit in and wrote letters to Santa Claus and George Bush. Then came the third day's night.

Our family was awoken by a terrible screeching long after midnight. From the safety of our bedroom window we espied a gleaming pair of eyes. Presented with reality, our plans for domestication were quickly defenestrated: our mom called the local animal control agency who suggested we shoot the varmint. Lacking a gun we waited for daybreak and pondered our options.

The sun showed we had captured a raccoon. I love it when a plan comes together. However, we had not planned on capturing TWO varmints in a single trap. It is the kind of ridiculous happenstance that would be unacceptable in a Rob Schneider movie. Somehow, though the trap was barely large enough for a single animal, we had corralled a raccoon AND a skunk. It was like a Disney movie gone terribly awry. The skunk had spent the entire night spraying the raccoon; poor thing.

A pet raccoon is one thing. They are cute and clever and easily outwitted by putting a shiny object in a jar. Even a ten year old realizes that a skunk is not fit for domestication. But who was brave enough to venture close enough to the trap to open it? Who would risk almost certain spraying by the skunk? Who would count coup?

Our mother decided this was our problem. I decided I was the older brother and it wasn't my problem. My brother wished he were a middle child rather than the youngest child. Thus a volunteer was found.

A long -- but not long enough -- stick was pressed into duty. The raccoon hissed, the skunk sprayed. I watched from the safety of the bedroom window.

The backyard smelled of skunk for days afterward.

10:27 PM  

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