Friday, February 19, 2010
Things that go bump in the night
We’ve had a rash of huge possums visit our recycling bins right outside our back door. With their long pointy snouts, beady eyes, and razor-sharp teeth, it's unsettling to have an unexpected encounter. And these are not babies. They are huge animals much larger than our cats. Just last week, I opened the door to toss out a plastic bottle and came face to face with the creature. I was obviously more scared than him. He chose to bare his teeth and then continue with his rummaging. “Gary,” I called out. “A beast is out here. Come quick.”
“Well, we sure don’t want that thing coming in the kitty door. I’ll get the .22 and take care of it.” Country living at it's best.
With gun in hand, he shot it in the head. Did it die? One would thing so but. . . A couple more shots did him in but not before it thrashed around in dramatic fashion. Finally, his body stilled. The following morning I took his frozen carcass and threw it into the woods; a lovely meal if you're a scavenger.
Two nights ago it happened again. Opening the door to make another re-cycling deposit, possum's brother perched on the rim of the can just inches from my hand. Teeth bared and looking very menacing, I slammed the door so hard the glass rattled. Out came the gun again, Gary taking care to shoot it in the vitals. Blood spewed and the animal convulsed before keeling over. That was the end of him. Whew. I hate possums.
Or was it? The possum was gone when I went out the next morning with more bottles. “Oh, good. Gary must have thrown him out” I thought, before moving on to my next task. At supper, I asked my husband what he did with it.
"Nothing. What are you talking about?”
"The possum. He’s not out there and I didn’t move him.”
In a flash, Gary was up and outside, perplexed. “Seriously. I didn’t move him. He was so dead. . .at least he looked dead! How did he manage to get out of that deep barrel?!?!?!” I guess we know why they call it “playing possum.” He sure fooled us. But still, I can't imagine he'll come back.
Sure enough. The mouse was dead as a doorknob by the next nightfall and he sure wasn't playing possum. Funny thing is, that trap never tripped. The mouse's hairy little body was draped unceremoniously over the cup tray's edge on the first shelf. Did it have a heart attack? Did is die of old age? Was the Pop-Tart poisonous? Who knows?
Strange happenings. . .you might want to keep that in mind if you come around here.