Sunday, July 05, 2009
Ready to Commit Murder
by Libby Hellmann
Ah, the joys of summer: bright sunshine, soft breezes, flowers, steaks on the grill...
Some of you already know about my ongoing trials with these creatures. Well, at this point, they’re winning. And I’ve had it. It’s war.
I live on the North Shore of Chicago not far from the forest preserve. I’ve gotten used to the deer eating my day lilies (and pooping on the lawn), the raccoons tipping over the garbage cans, even the occasional fox strolling across the yard. Live and let live, right?
It started about three years ago when our wonderful Beagle, Shiloh, was still with us. Unfortunately, Shiloh thought everyone was his friend, and that included rodents and varmints. The upshot was that he got skunked in our back yard, not once but three times. The first time I rushed him to the vet, but they wouldn’t take him. Instead, they told me about the peroxide-baking soda-dishwashing liquid mix (tomato juice definitely does NOT work), and I raced to the drug store to take care of the poor guy. Shiloh hates baths, but he had a good one that night. Of course, the stench stayed in my car for days – even a once-over with the mixture and at least two bottles of Febreze didn’t do much.
About a month later, it happened again. This time I was ready. I locked Shiloh in the garage, had the solution ready in a jiffy, and we went through the process again. It happened a third time before the end of that summer (I never said Beagles were smart). I remember being thankful when cold weather came.
Fast forward to the following spring. It’s about five in the morning, and I’m having a nightmare about a disgusting odor that just won’t go away. I wake up to discover it’s no dream. The odor is in my house, and it’s skunk spray. I jump out of bed, tear through the house, and find out that skunks are mating under my deck, and one of them just had to spray into the window-well where the stink penetrated into the basement.
This time it took two weeks and several trips to the store get a special enzyme-y thing that was supposed to break up the skunk-spray molecules but didn’t really work. Not to mention the traps that Animal Control set. Naturally, they didn’t catch the skunk -- Turns out they’re pretty smart, at least smart enough not to crawl into a cage for bait. But I did catch two lovely raccoons.
The last straw came a couple of nights ago. A skunk came to my front door, sprayed, and then pranced off into the night. The stench penetrated inside in a minute. I swear it was a deliberate provocation. That skunk was singling me out. I know it.
I’m convinced that there’s a skunk population explosion on the North Shore and the authorities are covering it up, because they know the citizenry would rise up in arms if they knew how many of these creatures are actually roaming around. It’s clearly a conspiracy. And what the authorities aren’t covering up, the skunks themselves are perpetrating. Because they can. They’re trying to take over the world, one forest preserve at a time.
But I won’t let them. I’m done playing defense. It’s war. I have my Illinois FOID card and I’m going to the gun range for target practice. Before I do, though, I’ll open it up for one last round of suggestions.
How do you stop a skunk dead in its tracks?