too many words by laura lemay

Evil bushy-tailed invaders from mars

The other day I was awakened in the middle of the night to a banging and clanging noise. I rolled over. All the lights were on. The living room lights, the outside lights. Eric was out of bed. Then, a shouting from the kitchen: “Hey! You! What are you doing! Get out of there!” More banging and rattling, doors slamming, glass breaking.

I lay quietly in bed. Was I going to be murdered in my bed if I stayed here? Were we being invaded my martians? What was going on? Should I get up?

A scraping noise. More doors slamming. Eric stomped back into the room. “What’s going on?” I asked.

“We have raccoons,” Said Eric, visibly fuming. “Big, fat, ARROGANT raccoons.”

We store birdseed in a big plastic container on the porch right by the kitchen door. We’re not dumb, the birdseed is in an airtight, latched container. But the raccoons are smarter than we are; they managed to get the latches open and crawl inside the container. But this time they made enough noise to wake Eric up. Eric went over, turned on the lights, and caught one raccoon butt-outward in the container and the other raccoon guiltily waiting his turn. He rapped on the door. The raccoons just casually stared at him. He opened the door. The raccoons just moved back a few feet and waited for Eric to go away, looking totally unthreatened. Raccoons are not like deer; they don’t scare easily.

It was then Eric got mad. You realize, of course, this means war. He went back into the kitchen, picked up the recycling, went back outside and lobbed an empty can of black beans right at the nearest sneering black-masked bushy-tailed seed-eater.

I should have gotten up and investigated the noise: I missed the spectacle of a naked man chasing raccoons across the lawn at three in the morning and pelting them with beer bottles.

And they say life in the country is boring.

The birdseed was moved inside for the night. It was my job that next day to put the birdseed into the closet on the porch. “But the closet isn’t locked,” I said, dubiously.

“If raccoons can open doorknobs,” said Eric, “We’re going to have much bigger problems than losing a little birdseed.”

No sign of the raccoons since putting away their immediate source of goodies. But sometimes when I go out into the garden I get the feeling I’m being…watched.