One night at dusk, my husband Dan and I were watching the evening news from the living room, relaxing in our comfy chairs.
Suddenly, something bread-box-sized bolted across the front yard.
It was bigger than a cat – well, not bigger than our Maine Coon cat, which made me think he had found his way outside.
I got up quickly and went to the window; our puss is massive, but completely naive when it comes to wide-open spaces and everything out there.
I witnessed the silhouette of a raccoon-like thing humping back and forth across lawn – or possibly something else large, feral and furry - maybe bear-cubby (I haven’t seen one for real) - but definitely coon-like.
Chicken-killing, bunker-wrecking, disease-carrying coonies!
I’d never seen one during the daytime, unless it was caged in a catch-m-alive trap or smushed flat on the road - and certainly never running back and forth between the maples and the lilacs over and over again.
It can’t be a healthy sign– that sort of behavior.
“What’s that”, Dan asked, disinterestedly.
“A coon,” I said.
A second later he was on his feet and running, yelling, “What’s the number? What’s the number!”
“One.” There was only one raccoon.
“The safe! The safe!”
I realized then, that he’s going to be of no help at all come the zombie apocalypse if he can’t access a locked-away firearm in time to save either of us.
On the positive side, I think I’ve found a relevant item for him to turn into a tattoo.
Pistol in hand, I thought he was headed out to stealthily sneak around the building like a navy seal, peg it, and sort everything out later.
He opened a window and started firing.
The cats and I just about peed our pants.
The creature booked faster than I would consider natural, out of sight and into the back yard, unscathed.
Dan ran to the back porch, shot again, and then went running out into the evening after it.
In his boxers. Barefoot.
He was shaking the firs of the perimeter windbreak and searching underneath them on his stomach, disregarding the extreme likelihood that the Gremlin, Richford Awful, chimpanzee, or whatever it was - could drop down on him, mess him up, and warrant another trip to the emergency room for rabies shots.
Yes, I said, “another trip”.
He gave up only as the last of the daylight faded away, and returned to the house to conclude his daily assessment of storm damage and weather reports.
The following morning, I heard a commotion outside. Dan was beating the fir trees with a log wooden pole, trying to dislodge any expired varmint that might be caught up in the branches.
He was certain he had shot it - but then again, it had been dark.
Was he thinking of beaning it with a stick, just in case?
He looked at me (taking a photo of him) and said, “What?”
I replied, “You might be a redneck if…”