somewhere, a skunk and his buddy are sitting in a coffee shop, contemplating the events of the previous evening. citing Divine Intervention, one will become ambivalent toward his life of crime. and when two other varmints try to rob the joint, maybe a bunny — a honey bunny?– the skunks will start down the path of redemption.
what the heck am i talking about, you ask?
let me explain.
tonight, i came home just after dark, and i pulled up to the chicken coop and left the headlights on so i could put the girls to bed. the chickens were asleep for the night, so i tiptoed in to grab the eggs from their nest.
lo, and behold, someone else had the same idea.
a skunk was in the chicken coop with me, peering out from the nest box–broken egg shells all around him.
pop quiz, hot shot. you walk into your chicken coop and there’s a skunk in your hen house. what do you do?
first, i tenderly stepped out of the coop. gotta look out for No. 1. as the skunk ate my precious eggs (bastard!) i called the chickens with our “i have a piece of bread in my hands” noise. it’s kind of like a whistle.
the chickens woke up immediately, and three of them flew out to investigate.
the fourth was less confident, and needed some coaxing. she was sitting there, inches from her predator, clucking like a dumbass. suddenly, as i remembered Balls’s half-eaten face, i wondered how far i would go to save a chicken. if he reached up there and grabbed my hen, would i run in there and kick him? is it worth one chicken’s life to be sprayed by a skunk? do skunks bite? these are all questions i never really thought i’d ask myself.
i quickly decided i didn’t have time for this shit, so i tiptoed in and grabbed her ass and yanked her out of there. with the chickens out of harm’s way, i shut the coop door. i was so proud of myself. but there wasn’t much time to celebrate.
now we had a pissed off skunk in our chicken coop.
everything started to feel very familiar for a minute.
not wanting to leave seth out of the fun this time, i ran in the house, told him to load the gun, and stood guard outside to make sure the skunk did not escape from under the coop. (i had no real plan as to how i would prevent him from leaving if he wanted to, fyi, but i was never tested.)
the skunk was hiding in the chicken’s nest box.
we sat and waited for him to finish his egg snack, his “last meal,” we said. we had grown cocky. but were disappointed when he decided to take an after-dinner nap inside the coop. (i have no idea why he would not want to come out when the headlights of two cars and one barrel of a gun was staring down on him…)
again, i felt like i didn’t have time for this shit, so i started rattling the coop and moving it back and forth a bit until the skunk emerged from the nest.
seth shot once, twice. and the skunk slunk back in the nest box. we had missed!
so i rattled the cage again, and he emerged. seth shot once, twice, and the skunk retreated.
the third time, bullet crossed flesh*, but it was mine. a piece of shrapnel graced my leg and a big spark flew in the air. i guess this is what occasionally happens when you’re shooting into a structure. i don’t even know how this is possible with a .22-rifle.
frustrated, seth handed the gun to me.
you have a penchant for killing god’s creatures, he said.
i took the gun, began reciting the Lord’s prayer, (i’m completely serious) as seth rattled the coop.
i shot once, twice. nothing. the skunk stood there. he did not retreat.
and then the skunk, growing tired of this shit, walked calmly up to the door of the cage, presented his bare chest and head for destruction, and waited. i shot a third time from what could have been no more than 4 feet upwind.
as the skunk flurried away into the night, i began to care less about whether i had a clean face-area shot. i unloaded toward his furry body, and he disappeared into the dark.
you know that scene in Pulp Fiction where the dude comes running out of the bathroom blasting away at point blank and he misses ever time?
it was like that.
only i lost all my eggs.
we are terrible farmers.
*CORRECTION: Seth says that it was not a piece of the bullet that hit my leg, but rather, it was a mosquito that bit me simultaneously as the gun went off. the spark was unrelated, he said. Lacking any recognizable bullet wounds on my leg this morning, I am forced to believe him.
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