There were two raccoons fucking next to the recycling bin when I took out the trash. But they weren’t fucking each other: they appeared to be tag-teaming a dead possum. Or at least the possum appeared to be dead. He could have been acting. Playing possum is an especially appropriate behavior if one is a possum and one is being violated by multiple members of an entirely different species.
I wasn’t expecting them when I came around the corner, and they clearly weren’t expecting me. But what I was expecting even less was their reaction to my sudden presence. Rather than scamper away like a fuzzy little woodland creature should, these arrogant little bastards squared off, assume aggressive fight postures, and hissed contemptuously.
“You little fucker.” I actually spoke out loud, which, though totally natural and spontaneous when I did it, seemed like a strange thing to be doing, talking to a raccoon. The larger one hissed again and took two quick steps toward me. “How dare you! I’m not gonna take any shit off of some goddamn raccoon in my own goddamn alley,” and I reflexively kicked the shit out of him. The kick launched him solidly into the liquor store’s big blue dumpster. He sat there, sort of stunned, and his little friend suddenly understood the gravity of the situation. He knew better than to try to fight, but didn’t want to run away and abandon his postmortem-possum-poking partner, so he froze.
“My God. How did it come to this, Mr. Raccoon?” Since I’d already spoken to him, I figured what the hell, we might as well have a conversation. “How is it that you, a nocturnal garbage eater, possess the unmitigated gall, testicular wherewithal, and general chutzpah to get sassy with and show teeth to an apex predator? I have to blame my fellow humans for being soft and falling for the cute masked bandit act and letting you get away with this nonsense. I guess most people just run away when you hiss at them…”
The raccoon got to his paws unsteadily, his companion ran to him. They cautiously started backing out of the alley. I contemplated capturing them, putting them in them in a cage with a sign that says, “We violate the dead,” and leaving them in front of the liquor store to be shamed by the good people of Fecal Creek and their fellow raccoons. But once they were halfway down the alley, they turned and ran. I decided to let them go.
The moral of this story is to avoid messing with apex predators who are several times your size and I.Q. And also stay the hell out of my alley when I’m taking out the trash. And also don’t violate the dead, whatever species you may be. It will always be unseemly across the entirely of the animal kingdom.
“Lightning Man” – Nitzer Ebb