Saturday, June 27, 2009

The tale....

Nobody has to read this... you'll probably be bored to tears.


It all begins on a Sunday drive home from church, the third time passing a particularly pungent piece of roadkill. Sharon comments to Stacey, "You know, skunks don't really smell that bad. They smell kind of sweet, actually."

Stacey just rolls her eyes and laughs and mentally notes reason #53 on her list 'Why my housemate is Weird.'


One peaceful June evening, when Sharon was getting ready for bed and Stacey was out taking in the evening air...

Sharon's windows happen to look out over the south lawn, and she happened to look out them. And she stopped to watch something galumphing like a little black cheetah along the lawn. It was a decent distance from the house and definitely traveling parallel to it, but it also had definite white blurs on it... Sharon felt it would be prudent to go out and warn Stacey.

Goes out, looks around ...

"What are you looking for, Sharon?"

"Well, I thought I saw a skunk..."

Stacey suddenly grabs Sharon and yanks her toward the door. "Aaauugh! It's running right at us!"

Once safely inside the screen door, they peer out to see nothing... Stacey is kind of bummed, as she wanted to get a picture, and soon afterward goes scouting out with her camera. Sharon is kind of bummed, as the close brush with adventure has so rapidly passed; but she doesn't feel any personal need for documentary footage. The photographer successfully gets a couple distant shots of something skunky skulking in the woods near their back porch.


Days go by. There is little sign of a skunk, except for one late-night sighting under a visitor's car. Sharon unluckily comments that she is curious to know what it feels like to get sprayed, and immediately gets a good chewing out for "wanting to get sprayed". A conclusion that deeply pains her linguistic sensitivities, as that is not what she said at all.


It's Sunday again. The girls are coming home from church, walking along the chicken coop to their stoop and door at the back. As they round the corner, Sharon asks Stacey something, and starts getting annoyed when Stacey comes up with an out-of-the-blue, totally irrelevant response. Until it suddenly registers as very extremely relevant.

"A skunk and two babies just went under our porch!"

Keep those Sunday heels from clomping, quietly unlock the door and whisk it open - and tumble inside gasping and laughing from panic! That's what you should do when you have to walk right over skunks.

Well, since having skunks under the porch was looking extremely impractical for everyday exits and entrances, Sharon immediately hunted for a likely window - the one farthest from the door, of course, perfect - and whipped out the screen to create an instant escape route.

Between smart people who used the window, and hapless guests or disinclined individuals who didn't, no one managed to get sprayed.


The next morning... Sharon wakes up to the beautiful 5 a.m. dimness, fresh morning air breezing through her windows. She turns off the alarm, stands up to stretch, ... stands ... stands ... oh my goodness. She's not moving. Did she stop breathing? Or is she breathing harder? Something's terribly wrong.

Come to think of it, maybe it's that thick musky odor floating in through the window...

There are really no words to describe such a scent. Even if there were, who would really want to think of them? You would try not to breathe it, then find yourself inhaling deeply as you tried to verify that it really wasn't that bad and wouldn't make you keel over and die... Then there was the problem of where exactly it was coming from, and how to effectively block any further vapors - besides all the ones undoubtedly seeping through the walls. After scouting out the hall and the rest of the house, Sharon finally concluded that the skunk must have sprayed directly outside her bedroom windows. The only thing she could really do was close her windows to keep more out, close her door to keep it out of the rest of the house, and get busy with fans and Glade.

She was terribly scared that the Smell had stuck to her (and of all the friends and co-workers she might scare off), as she kept hitting unnerving pockets of it here and there. ... even in her car on the way to work. (To get to her car, she definitely exited by way of the window... wild spiders could not have chased her to the door.) But it seemed to vaporize away, except she had never tried so hard to not open her purse or to not even look at it, all day.


At lunchtime, after calls to the landlady and several discussions with the Sherriff's office, she happened upon a helpful guy from the nearest Critter Control, an hour away.

"Do you handle skunks?" (biting her lip for the "anything, but not skunks" reply)

"Well - I try not to... " (deep disappointment gushes up!)

"... I try to just trap them, not actually handle them." (insert much-needed laughter)

It was going to run $170 just for a visit, but Mr. C.C. asked if the smell was really bad. Well yes, it was really pretty awful. Well, he said, skunks don't like the smell themselves, so more than likely if the mom sprayed right near her own home, she would move the babies somewhere else.

Here was some encouraging news! Except Sharon still felt remarkably disinclined to go home. But there are things in life that must be faced, even skunky rooms.


She went home to a nearly de-scented house - inexplicably but miraculously. Stacey seemed to be alive and well. Sharon found she could even sit at her computer - in her room - and work. It was like waking up from a coma to a whole new, sunshiny world.


Moving on did take time. There were still whiffs of skunk around the porch, around the corner of the house. There were also far too many skunk jokes floating around. People wondering what skunk meat tasted like, or asking Sharon if that skunk photo was one of her friends, or subjecting her to interchanges like the following one online:

Sharon: (by 8:30 PM) I'm going to bed at 9:30!
Friend: (by 9:15) Aww, don't you want to go outside and chase some skunks?
Sharon: (at 9:38) There will be NO skunk jokes! Understood??
Friend: (at 9:41) Young lady, it's 9:41. Shouldn't you be in bed?


It's a weekday afternoon. Sharon is driving home from work. She passes some roadkill.

She sniffs, groans, gags, and turns away.

(Turns to the road, not off it, mother.)


Wilson said...

Very effective use of the third person. And a very amusing story.

It might have been worth the wait.

Ma Hoyt said...

You are very brave, ma chère.

And a good storyteller, too.

I'm thinking...perfume, for your Christmas present?

Sharon said...

Mr. Writing Policeman, I really can't express how it warms my heart to get a word of positive feedback from you.

Chère maman, please... I hate to ask or not ask for anything... but please, nothing that gives off a scent, whether good or bad.

Martinez said...

Gotta love a happy ending. But you must remain ever vigilant against the return of the little stinkers!

Also, bonus points for using the word "galumphing." Mr. Carroll would be proud, I think.

Sharon said...

What? Someone else already used my word?

Ma Hoyt said...

Well, I hate to be persnickety, but I have also used the word, "galumphing," though not as early (historically) as Mr. Carroll, being as I am so young and fresh and everything.

In addition, I have noticed that when I click on "comment" for your blog, it now takes one to the ENLARGED screen. Not becoming megalomaniatic, are you?

Wilson said...

Only the biggest and best screens for Ma Hoyt. The rest of us still get the normal small kind.

But really, that story was entirely worth the wait.