All is not well in the Carlson household today; last night, the dogs cornered a skunk outside our bedroom door.
At midnight, the telltale odor of the disturbed creature, and the bark of the dogs, alerted us from our slumber that all was not calm outside. After sleep walking through the process of shutting all of the windows, I was able to drift back to sleep, content in the knowledge that our fortress of wood, stucco and fiberglass would hold up to whatever artillery barrage the animal could deliver, confident in the tactics of our canine infantry to drive him off.
But, with a crash we came awake at 2 AM! Chairs and all manner of outdoor patio paraphernalia were tossed and clobbered. The battle was no longer out there, in some unknowable distant darkness, but immediately outside of our bedroom. Groggy still, I flipped on the light, and pulled back the curtains.
The creature was right outside our door — with it’s tail raised and it’s glands exposed right against the window! I screamed like a girl. My wife did too, but she could be excused on account of her gender.
Our house came alive like a firehouse full of untrained recruits during their first three alarm fire. Thankfully after much coaxing and screaming, I was able to command the dogs (through the living room window) to move away from the animal. No matter how much their nature might have wanted to bark and give chase, their domesticity cried out for someone to take control and relieve them of the torment of the noxious assaults to their noses, and the blindings to their eyes.
The immature little skunk found himself “trapped” between a sliding glass door, two chairs, and a pair of Franklin’s swim trunks. He was repeatedly startled by his own reflection in the glass, and the chairs, though still spaced far enough apart that he could have departed in a march, continuously brushed against his tail and turned him back. The swim trunks, well, their gaudy designed both frightened and enticed him enough that he dared not approach them too closely, and yet they continued to beckon to him in a way that only an adolescent would understand.
After an hour of trying our best to convince him that rationally it was in his best interest to depart, we were rewarded with only a skunk stained slider and the lingering smell of insanity in our mouthes. The glass door obviously muffled the logic of our arguments.
Thankfully, one of our boys was on an overnight visit with his grandmother, and so my wife and the other two boys made a cautious retreat and fell down together into the three boys’ beds. Lumpy, cold and narrow, they allowed us a fitful sleep, and by morning, the creature had departed into the dawn’s early light. Was it real, we asked? The camera showed only a white stripe in the darkness, but the lingering taste in our mouthes, and smell on everything, convinced us that it was, and that we had lost the battle.
If only there wasn’t a week’s harvest of tomatoes ripening in the kitchen. Would they go to salsa, or to the bathtub?