Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Encounter*

My eyes opened with a snap. I listened... there it was again! That noise. I looked at the red LED numbers next to my bed. 3:30 a.m. My entire body became alert. ("Man, I have to pee!" was one of my alert body thoughts. Coffee before bed. What was I thinking?)

The noise... again. I slithered off the bed like a ninja (go with it) and crawled over to a bedroom window. Slowly, I raised my head over the bottom of the window thingie (I forget what you call that) and I saw him... her... it.

"Honey!" (I whispered... loudly)

"Wha...*mumble, mumble*"



"Honey, there's a raccoon in the garbage outside! Someone forget to bring it inside from the cookout!" (Of course, I wasn't that someone. Protesting my innocence in all things before mankind at any hour of the night, that's me!)

"Can you throw a blanket over Cullen? I think he's cold." (Why do mothers always think that when they're cold, everyone else is?)

"But, honey! There's a raccoon outside in the garbage!"

"OK, but throw a blanket over Cullen."

"I'm going to take care of him... that raccoon. Out there."


I went downstairs, strode to the patio door and threw on the patio light. There he was, caught in the very act! I unlocked the sliding door and then slid it open. I left the screen door just where it was (I like a screen door between me and nature) and I confronted the beast with...

"Hey, shoo! GO! Scat!"

He regarded me with complete nonchalance, put
his head back into the garbage pail (garbage was strewn about the patio) and continued with his activities therein.

(not my raccoon pictured, not my garbage either)

I opened the screen door now and stuck my head out.

"Scat! Shoo!"

He looked at me the way you should look at an almost-50-year-old-adult-human-male standing in his briefs (sorry for the mental, but it's a necessary part of the story) whispering "shoo!" and "scat!" out of his porch door at 3:30 am in the morning.

"OK, buster, I guess you want to play the hard way." (Men always say things like this in these situations. I think I say the same thing to my kids when they aren't obeying me. I probably learned it from my dad or some movie.)

I walked to the laundry room and grabbed my Daisy 880 10 pump pellet gun. I pumped it three times just to put some sting into the beast and went back to the door. I slid it open, aimed at his considerable rump, slowly squeezed the trigger.... wait a minute! I stared in disbelief.

What. is. that? Lying there? Why, it looks like an... Oreo! A whole and complete Oreo! Who? WHO? Who threw away a complete and whole Oreo??? They didn't even untwist it to lick out the frosting in the middle! Why, that's criminal! A punishable offense! Hmmmm, I wonder if the raccoon licked it? I wonder... I wonder, is it, you know, salvageable? I'll check that after I am rid of him.

With new determination, I got back to business. Without taking my eye off of the oreo, I pumped a pellet flechet round into his butt. He pulled his head out of the garbage and backed off a step or two. Then he walked forward and put his head back into the garbage. This was really too much for a man to stomach. Aren't wild animals supposed to be afraid of homo sapien? Where did this guy come off being nonchalant in MY garbage. He should fear and respect me! Even in my briefs with a pellet gun in my hand at 3:30 am in the morning!

I walked back to the laundry room, pumped the gun FOUR times, loaded another pellet, put a handful in my pocket, and walked back to the door. His head was in the garbage again. I nailed him in the rump. This produced the effect I was looking for. His head shot up out of the garbage and he scurried over into the neighbor's lawn.

I walked to the pantry and grabbed a flashlight. I shined the light across the lawn. He was standing there with a half eaten burger lying at his feet... paws... whatever. Oreos and burgers. This guy was really getting his money's worth. Oreos and burgers... It was at that moment I felt a sort of kinship with the creature. How many times had I gone down to the kitchen in the middle of the night to grab a burger or brat and some oreos? I could relate. You see, we weren't really that much different, that raccoon and I.

In the meantime, while I was musing thus, the raccoon had come back onto my patio and was in the garbage again. He was really making a mess. All I could think was "and I am the one who will have to clean all of this up." I pumped the gun four times again and put another one in his gluteus. That one must have really stung because he shot out of the garbage pail and headed off into the darkness.

I put on some shorts (out of respect for my female neighbors lest they be scarred for life if they caught sight of me in my "pajamas"), I pumped the gun nine times (just in case) and walked out onto the porch. I flashed the light around to foil any attempted ambush. Nothing out there. With grim satisfaction I set about picking up the paper plates and other garbage and then I remembered the Oreo. There it was. I walked over to it. It looked untouched. Maybe it had rolled out of the garbage unnoticed by the raccoon. I bent down and picked it up. It looked OK. No drool on it that I could see. Should I?

I grabbed my gun, the flashlight and the Oreo and stared up at my house where my family slept. I found myself smiling as I thought of my wife and children sleeping peacefully through the night completely unaware of their father who protected them from the ravaging beasts of the prairie. Reflectively, I looked down at the Oreo in my hand and another thought occurred to me.

"I wonder if there's any milk in the fridge."

(*some parts of this story have received considerable embellishment. I'll leave you, my reader, to figure out which ones they are.)


  1. Really, you should write a book. Great story. You are truly a brave man, but are you "the man"? What would Cullen say!!

  2. A story well told. Keep up the good work

  3. Almost Lewis & Clark-esque. It felt as if I was on the prairie about to be attacked by a Grizzly! Good stuff.