Monday, November 16, 2009
An Unwelcome Guest
Ben Franklin once said that fish and house guests both start to stink after three days. In my opinion, some start to stink sooner than that.
The other evening Flannery and I had settled into the lodge. I poked around on the computer and she read an engaging book from the library. We enjoyed each other's company in the way married couples do by being together, but doing our own thing. We held a rustle under the desk in the far corner of the room. I just assumed it was the cat climbing around and thought nothing about it. I had left the back door to the lodge open all evening so that the cat could come and go as she pleased, but when bed time came, I made sure that the cat was in and locked the door.
I wish I hadn't.
While I never saw the raccoon that I locked in my lodge, I did find his tell-tale black and grey fur in the opening he chewed around our brass mail slot to make his exit. Thanks to Rocky the raccoon, you can now slide something the size of a bread box through our mail slot, so please feel free to mail us that bread box you've been meaning to send.
One afternoon last week, I'm sitting in the lodge trying to come up with some story for Flash Fiction Friday and drinking beer like it was my job. Again, the backdoor is open to allow entrance and egress for the cat and the breeze. It never occurred to me that it would also allow entrance for a hawk the size of my five year old little girl!
We have a mated pair of hawks that live in our neighborhood and they fly over all the time. Franklinton's son has taken to calling them Fred & Ethel for reasons known only to him. I don't know if it was Fred or Ethel that flew in that day as the opportunity to check for gender didn't present itself, but for the sake of argument, I'm guessing it was Fred. No respectable woman, hawk or human, would be caught dead in my lodge.
Fred flew in and settled on the track of the garage door and looked at me with a "What's up?" glare and extended his wings like a weightlifter flexing on Muscle Beach. The cat, driven by a fierce sense of loyalty, tried to protect her master and bravely hid under a blanket. I sat very still and looked Fred over, because when am I going to see a wild predator this close again? Fred made a few aborted attempts at leaving the way he had come in but he just couldn't seem to drop low enough to clear the door, so he would swing around and settle on the track of the garage door right above my head until he decided that he had figured out the logistics and would try again. This went on for fifteen minutes until Fred finally settled on the top of the back door. He raised one wing in salute as if to say "Rock on!" or "Black Power!" or something then left with a swooshing noise as those enormous wings carried him away.
After these two incidents, you would have thought that I would have learned my lesson and keep the back door shut, but I still leave it open like I always do.
You never know who will drop by.