I am sick to death of L’homme Theroux and ready for a break. And yet, I’m not. It came out Sunday to as much fanfare as I could muster, and so far, has been a bigger disappointment than a virgin on her wedding night. Was Victor Frankenstein this disappointed by his monster? Sure, it was a monster from the beginning, but it did a wicked Vaudeville routine.
One of my many faults is that I’m impatient. But more to the point, I’m demanding; especially of myself. I realize this whole novel thing takes time and the proverbial runaway bestsellers are notable precisely because they are so infrequent. As it sits right now, I am not pleased with Thomas Theroux, but he’s going to have another adventure whether he likes it or not. I’m taking a few days away from him, so he has the chance to make me proud. In the meantime, I’m going to tell a story…
I consider myself a bit of hippie. I love the outdoors. Out in the fields and woods is where I like to spend my time. Being cooped up inside makes me surly. My ultimate goal is to have a refrigerator, freezer, and panty full of foodstuffs I created myself. If you want to see Carlos at his best, toss me an ax and say that we need firewood. You’ll be up to your ass in cordwood by sundown. In a similar vein, hand me a rifle and mention the freezer is near empty. It will be full of protein quickly. And that horrifies a lot of people.
Depending on your personal feelings, I am either a barbaric, illiterate redneck or an enlightened steward of the environment because my most recently discovered way to spend time outdoors is trapping. Yes, the evil steel trap in one of its many forms and sizes is my best friend when I square off with my nemesis, Procyon lotor. The North American Raccoon, or as we call them in the South “coon.”
I hate coons.
If you’ve ever had them get into your trash cans, you probably hate them, too. I wouldn’t mind so much if they didn’t make the world’s biggest mess in the process, but they throw trash all over the place and then poop in your flower bed to add insult to injury. Coons are also wasteful. They will kill a chicken seemingly for fun and not eat it. The body is just left on the ground with its head missing.
I’m undecided whether they are geniuses in fur coats or voracious thieves driven to stupidity. I wonder because sometimes I outsmart them, and sometimes they outsmart me. The expression goes that we only catch the dumb ones, but if that were the case, shouldn’t coons be attending college by now?
These sneaky little nocturnal ominous are nature’s con artists. They have that mask everyone seems to love and have behavior we humans anthropomorphize. That is how coons trick us. They pretend to be friendly and docile in exchange for handouts. They are the animal equivalent of welfare recipients. Try feeding a family of coons for a few weeks and see how angry they get when you stop the freebies.
They’ll run riot across your property like Obama supporters.
Don’t let the cute act fool you. A snarling, snapping coon charging toward you will get your heart racing. An angry opossum is more menacing, but they waddle along slow enough that they can be pretty easily outrun. On a side note, my wife recently chaperoned a field trip to a zoo that had opossums and fell in love with the feel of their fur, so I guess I will have to get over my disdain for the nasty little creatures and skin out a few for her. The things I will do for my woman.
So one day, I spot my neighbor loading a live-trap into his truck. Pacing back and forth inside the trap was the biggest boar coon I’ve ever seen. From three houses down, this thing looked enormous, so I knew it was a big one. As I drew closer, I began to understand how this monster was kept penned up. My neighbor had reinforced the trap to keep Mr. Coon from pushing his way out. Note to self: Good idea because I lose more coons than I keep in a live-trap.
I complimented him on the catch and started in with the small talk hoping to ease my way into a free coon. I figured if this guy was in it for the pelt, Mr. Coon would be pretty close to room temperature by now. Just as I was about to ask the Sixty-Four Dollar Question, my neighbor dropped a bomb.
“There’s some sick bastard mutilating cats in the neighborhood. We found one on the back porch with a bear trap on its leg. I’ve still got the trap as evidence, and we’ve called the police. That guy belongs in prison.”
At that point, I knew I was dealing with a moron. If you trap, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I was also pretty sure that I wasn’t getting my trap back. My 1 1/2 double long spring had gone missing a few weeks prior. It had upset me because it was my favorite, and I don’t have many traps, since I only nuisance trap on my own property. I purposely bait and set my traps to avoid by-catch, so assuming the story is accurate, that cat just had bad luck.
My activity was perfectly within the law of that jurisdiction, but since dealing with the authorities is a pain in the ass I would rather avoid (even when I’ve completely in the clear), I didn’t push the issue over a trap that was free in the first place. Not surprising, my neighbor, Perry Mason that he was, knew with absolute certainly the illegality of my trapping, but failed to understand his plan to relocate his nuisance coon to a public park was illegal as well. I love people who know exactly what everyone else is doing wrong, but let their stuff slide. If you want to be Johnny Law, you should keep your nose clean, too. It’s that whole throwing glass houses thing.
The point of my neighbor being an ignorant idiot was driven home a second time when he repeated himself a minute later and the cat was now missing a leg from said bear trap that was drug to his porch. He wasn’t clear on the mechanics of exactly how a device has the ability to both completely amputate a limb and remain attached to be drug somewhere. Many people (me included) have caught their fingers in traps, both accidentally and on purpose to prove a point. It won’t even break the skin, much less amputate an appendage. I began to think I was dealing with someone mentally unbalanced. Looking back, I think he was.