BY WILLIAM THOMAS
It began innocently enough, a board across the bottom of my shed with bite marks on one corner had been ripped off. Inside the shed, garbage everywhere.
Two nights later at 3:30 in the morning, I awoke to noise in the kitchen and flipped on the lights in time to spot the ample ass of a raccoon scurrying out the screen door. The garbage had been ripped open, banana peels tossed to the floor, pawprints on the counter and tomatoes had been punctured but not eaten. Omnivorous except for tomatoes. That ballsy little son-of-a-coon. I may not have latched it but I know I hadn’t left the door open.
So that night I make sure the screen door is hooked and the next morning he’s been into the kitchen again and left a mess of peels, garbage and wet paw prints on the counter. The new bananas have been eaten, the new tomatoes punctured and the latch broken. I want to drown this chubby little varmint in a vat of ketchup.
So the next night, Friday, I go over to the golf course for a fish fry with my buddy Wheats and when we come back we sit out by the lake bruising a bottle of Balvenie and solving the world’s problems. But not all of them because that would require our meeting to last past dawn and into breakfast and we don’t do that anymore.
I tell him the story of the ring-tailed, break and enter artist and he finds it funny. He does not believe me when I tell him I am going to kill procyon lotor because now’s it personal. Tonight I’m going to remove the screen door, then seal and lock the whole house up.
At 11:30 Wheats says he’s going home and as I walk him up to the house we see the fat grey back end of a raccoon scurrying out of the kitchen screen door which is … wide open. Now as we stand by the door, Wheats with a walking stick in hand and me with a baseball bat, one of us finds all this highly comical while the other goes into roadkill rage. That thieving little bugger broke into my house yet again with two of us sitting fifty feet away! Oh, and he also ate my haddock and chips leftovers which I thought was a nice touch.
I’ve had it. I remove the screen door, lock the place up and go to bed. And of course I sleep badly because I’m sweating in an airless oven of a room all night. In the morning as I’m cleaning up the kitchen I notice blood on the floor. Mine. The raccoon besides ransacking the kitchen has broken an expensive Scotch glass and I have cut my bare right foot. Now I’m tracking blood behind me as I try to mop up.
Not only will I kill Rocky – no, not the one who lived somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota, the Beatles young boy named Rocky Raccoon. Not him. No I’ve named him Rocky after Rocky Balboa the boxer who beat people up for a living because frankly I am afraid of this guy. I think if he fails to break into my house again, he’ll probably steal my car.
So not only will I kill this banana-loving tomato-hating, nocturnal mammal with the burglar mask, I am going to have him stuffed by a taxidermist and mounted over my fireplace. Inscription: “His name was Rocky and he called himself Cocky but everyone knew him as Evil.”
So that night, I sleep badly again in a sweat box but stay ever alert for the noise of a trap springing in front of my kitchen door because I have two of them baited and set.
At two in the morning I hear something and rush out to discover that although both traps are still set, the pieces of barbecued chicken are gone. I put more chicken in the traps and go back to bed. In the morning, the bait is gone and the traps again have not sprung. Rocky – and the movie will be a sequel to Catch Me If You Can – got in and out of two cages twice without tripping the trap.
I will not only kill this animal, I will mount his stuffed body on my wall and I will toast his demise with a smash of Scotch from an expensive glass, the one he did not break. Yet.
So I set the traps again that night by sewing the pieces of chicken into the steel rods at the back of the cages so that if he succeeds in stripping the bait yet again … he’ll need scissors. At about five in the morning I hear metal clash and I race outside and well … guess who? Rocky didn’t look all that menacing with his furry little frame jammed into a cage barely bigger than himself.
I said: “Rocky you’ve met your match.”
He said: “Bill, I’m sorry about the latch.”
I said: “Rocky you’ll be dead, real dead as soon as I am able.”
Rocky was wrong to stalk me but Wheats was right to doubt me. I couldn’t kill that crafty little bastard; in fact, when it was all over I begrudgingly admired his audacity and work ethic. Rocky has been relocated to a wooded area on the outskirts of Niagara Falls. I’ll give him a few days and then Google ‘Niagara Falls home invasions.’ See how the little fella’s doin’.
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