Friday, February 19, 2010

Things that go bump in the night

Things are very strange around here! The dead live again and the alive just die. Let me explain. . .or at least try.

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.

But that isn’t the end of the story. A mouse, with beady eyes rivaling the possums', took up residence in my kitchen cupboard. Even our cat, Juno, knew it was up there--and she didn't even see the all the droppings. She was on high alert the other night, staring at the cupboard while figuring a way to break through the door to make the catch. (Good kitty!) However, we took the human approach. . .a mousetrap with peanut butter. Risking smashed fingers if we absentmindedly reached for a Pop-tart on the second shelf, we figured the mouse was in the bag (or trap, in this case).

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.

8 comments:

Rick Gray said...

And now we know the rest of the story as to what goes on at the Trittipoe's house. Remind me to call first before I come up to your back door. I would hate to walk up unexpectedly. Would I even have the chance to play possum or would I just be dead! I might be like the mouse and just die from fright.

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

We'll be nice to you...Don;t let you keep from staying with us when you are in the area. WE have plenty of room and would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have you.

Rick Gray said...

Thank you. I will just be sure to call ahead! Have a wonderful and special Sunday.

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Looking forward to having you!

rnorton said...

I saw a possum playing possum once too. It was amazing b/c you are just certain that they are dead. I gave my dad precise directions as to where to locate the body so he could do the dirty work but behold...no possum. I gave even more precise directions. Not believing that dad still couldn't find him, I walked him to the spot and now you know the rest of my story. How can baby possum be so cute?

Rebekah Trittipoe said...

Glad to know it's just not us. Thanks for sharing, Rachel!

Lisa Manning said...

Can I just tell you how glad I am NOT to live at your house? I had a possum encounter one night about midnight. He held me hostage while hissing and showing me his perfectly polished teeth. Good thing I wasn't really being harmed because the neighbors ignored my pleas for help. I am not a big fan of mice either so I guess I will live vicariously (NOT) through you!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a low estimation of life? I think not, but you do seem to have no qualms about killing things without necessity. There are ways to keep them out even with a kitty door. Once evening falls, for instance, fasten it shut. We live in woods with posssum and other critters and have come face to face with possums at our recycling bins, yet somehow we've managed to restrain ourselves from murder.

Once, when we'd been living in the woodsw only a month or two and didn't know better, a possum ended up hiding under our bed. What did we do? We didn't kill it! Yea! Instead I made a maze with walls made of boxes and furniture and then shooed it from under the bed, directly into the maze, which led out the back door, and all was well.

Killing is necessary only when your life is actually threatened, not just when you can rationalize an excuse. Yes, and we are armed as well, so don't try anything with us!

L.P. in Texas