Friday, May 25, 2007

Little Criminals

Last night, three A.M. My sister in law awoke to the distinct sound of a door opening and closing in the kitchen. She reached over to her husband’s side of the bed, where she felt Magnus sleeping. It wasn't him, she thought. They don’t have kids, and they didn’t have company that night, either. At least, they hadn’t invited any. Who was in the house? It was a chilling moment.

As she lay there, she heard a crash. Something in the kitchen had fallen. A drawer opened and closed. She knew the knives in the drawer were sharp. Was someone creeping down the hall to get her at that very moment? She lay perfectly still.

There was another noise, one she didn’t recognize, and silence. She lay in the dark, waiting for the bedroom doorknob to turn. But she was lucky. The intruders had other plans that night.

The last thing she heard was the sound of something being dragged across the floor.

Five long minutes passed, during which Annie made no noise at all. Through it all, Magnus slept peacefully.

Finally, she could not wait any longer. She got up, and carefully opened the door and walked down the hall to meet her fate.

Snap!

The lights came on to reveal . . . an empty kitchen. A cake pan lay on the floor, empty. Annie knew the pan had contained brownies when she’d gone to bed. Was the killer eating them right now, before pouncing? She wondered. Quickly, she looked through the rest of the house, but there was no one there.

Just then, she heard rustling. Out back, in the yard. Were they coming back? Feeling brave, she switched on the outside lights. And that’s when she saw them.

Two raccoons. Sitting on the patio. Eating her food.

She opened the door and shouted at them, but they didn’t move. They just looked at her, then wordlessly returned to their dinner. She went to wake Magnus. Something’s outside! The two of them gazed at the raccoons from the kitchen door. Suddenly, it hit Magnus.

“That raccoon has my brownies!”

It was time for action. Magnus stepped to the fireplace, grabbed a log, and threw it at the larger raccoon. It hit him in the rear, and he turned around for a moment.

His gaze at Magnus said it all. I am not a beaver, nitwit! I do not eat logs. Throw me a cake! And then he turned and devoured Magnus’s brownies.

At that moment, their cat Taz walked up, tired from a long night hunting woodland animals. Taz and coons gazed at one another. There was no question whose patio those coons were sitting on. Without a word, they got up and left. Annie and Magnus went out and retrieved what was left of the cat food bag they’d dragged from the kitchen cabinet. Taz went inside, and went to sleep.

The raccoons sauntered across the lawn, to the next house. After all, there were two more hours till dawn, and a whole neighborhood to raid. And best of all, most of the houses have pet doors. And no locks on the cabinets. At least, they did that night.

18 comments:

Chumplet said...

Reminds me of the racoon mom that took up residence in our attic, ripping a massive hole in the roof. She decided to make a vent her exit, and got stuck halfway out. For a day and a half, she hung upside down by her hips while we tried to pull her out by her forelegs, or to push her out from the attic. It took a while, but just like Winnie The Pooh, she budged. After she took her babies out for a stroll, we blocked up the holes, had the roof repaired, and she never came back.

Kim said...

You, my friend, are a writer.

ORION said...

I love racoons! We had the same problem with their raiding at our old house. I was so dissapointed Hawaii had no racoons.

Holly Kennedy said...

What a funny story!
It reminded me of the time my neighbor phoned screaming last summer, hysterical and barely able to speak.

She woke to find a skunk in her kitchen, eating the cat foot. It had come in through the cat door. Yes, btw, it sprayed *gag, gasp* and the cat door was covered up for good the next day with hammer and nails. :)

So you see? Your sister-in-law could have gotten a lot worse. At least raccoons don't leave odors behind imbedded into the paint of your every wall -- whew!

Trish Ryan said...

When I was a kid we had a wild racoon that lived in our garage. Somehow, I don't think I'd find that as fabulous now as I did back then :)

Sorry to hear about Magnus' brownies. The food chain can be rough!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Oh my gosh. So funny. I too, would defend my brownies to the death.

appletini said...

WOW! What a story! I was relieved to read that it was racoons :)

John Elder Robison said...

Well, it certainly sounds like many of you have racoon experiences of your own to share.

Meanwhile, it's a sunny day and I'm going for a boat ride. And tonight, our son is going to the prom with his girlfriend. She's a senior, and he's in 11th grade so he's a year early and I guess he'll get to go twice.

Our town is overfull of people this weekend because the colleges are all graduating and the parents have swarmed in.

Kanani said...

Hey John,
We gave you a shout out at The Writerly Pause. Thought you'd like to know.

I LOVE this story about the racoons.
One time I heard this racket outside my window. I looked and there were 2 baby skunks and their mama.

I got so excited, I said, "Wow!"
At this, they exited by blasting the entire side of the house with their scent, leaving the evidence of their visit.

And that's the last time I said, "Wow!" at a skunk.

kario said...

They are bold little buggers! I'm surprised they didn't take the cat on just for fun, after their sugar rush.

Bernita said...

One of our cherished family artifacts is a breadboard, heaved - like the firplace log - at a racoon.

mcewen said...

Gosh I've heard that lots of people dislike raccoons, but they're just too cheeky to resist.
Cheers

mcewen said...

Dear john [no email] Kim has a link to your book site - but on your book site the links don't work - just wondered if you knew?
Cheers

Kim Stagliano said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kim Stagliano said...

Oh! To John's muscular trainer: John ate healthy. Honestly! I did not ply him with cake. He had salad and fish! Healthy I tell you! (phew!)

Kim Stagliano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Oh, that's so sad! Perfectly good brownies being devoured by animals who will eat garbage.

No, really, what a funny story! Glad we don't have a pet door for our darling beasts now. It's bad enough that the rodents still come in uninvited - and we have a cat!

Matty said...

Likely story Kim....YOU are on the 'to be watched list'. ;-) I haven't seen him in 2 weeks so I am one to talk.