Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eau de Pepe le Pew

On a nightly basis Eau de Pepe le Pew waifs through every crack and pore of our old house. We have humanely trapped and relocated scads of odoriferous creatures from under the house, in the barn, and at the cat food bowls right out the back door. There appears to be a never ending supply of Pepe le Pew look-a-likes. The problem, as I see it, is a lack of natural predators. Country people are scared to death of predators.

In Mississippi, hunters, scared farmers, and rednecks have extinguished the black bear, the wolf, and are trying their durnest to extinct all snakes, bobcats, coyotes, and anything else that scares the pants off them. The result of diminished bobcat populations is an increase of perfumed air and smashed Pepes in the highway. We have a problem, a big problem here. If you remember our nearest neighbor has earned the nickname, The Shoot Family. I know you are dying for the real story, so I will quit pontificating and explaining.

The other night everyone in our family forgot to close the door behind the chickens. At bedtime I shouted, "Did anyone shut the chicken door?" I was the only one standing so I went out to take care of the neglected chore. I quickly came back inside because I couldn't see a thing and I was scared I would fall through the cattle gap. The only available lighting utensil was a wind up flashlight - you know the ones you turn franticly for a few minutes for a few seconds of non-turning light. This was fine since I really only needed it to cross the gap.

I crossed the gap without incident, but as the last fading beams of the wind-up were turned toward the door of the coop, I saw that scoundrel, Pepe le Pew, entering the hen house. Of course, I wound furiously hoping better light would show that what entered the coop was just one of our puffy, black, skunk-looking cats. The extra light failed me. It proved that instead of a cat it was indeed the cute, but foul smelling creature that invokes dread in the heart of all stench fearing Southerners.

Big deal, you say. It wouldn't be except that skunks eat eggs and baby chicks. Though I don't mind if that cute little Pepe gets one or two eggs, I don't want to encourage him so that he will go fetch his Odorable Kitty family, including cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents, and step-uncles once removed. Action had to be taken.

With my wind-up flashlight as my only weapon, I try to maneuver a very uncooperative Pepe out the door. I made noise, shined the light (while furiously winding so it would be on high beam), and poked him with a stick. He was scared to scent, but thankfully held his glands. He instead tried to dig his way out. Impossible. We trenched a four foot ditch to submerge the wire for this very reason, only we were counting on the intruders being outside the coop rather than inside. I needed more of me, so I went for reinforcements.

Everyone poured out of the house full of excitement and in various states of undress. We banged, shook, shined lights, poked, and prodded to no avail. The cats came to investigate, which helped a lot. NOT! The Yellow Dog came to protect us, barking like a maniac but never getting close enough for Pepe to see him. The skunk seemed unable to find the entrance, seemed unable to reason in his assaulted state, seemed unable to do anything but dig and hold his tail in that scary, threatening, "I'll spray, I'll spray!!!" position. His posturing separated the brave from the fearful, the animal lovers from the natural shooters, and the patient from the quick fix crowd.

"How?; What happened?," you say. The children started squealing and running the first time the tail was raised. Though we were all cautious, quickly stepping back anytime Pepe approached our stations, the real fraidy cats were shown. After 20 minutes of patience, Mr. W. suggested going to get a rifle. I couldn't stand the thought of it, so we waited. I suggested we fully open the door and prop it that way, turn off the lights and sound, then wait. We waited, occasionally flitting the wind-up beam inside to see if Pepe was going inside the hut to eat anything important. We waited, sweat dripping in pools. We waited, losing Mr. W. to his cool bed, because of lack of tangible progress. We waited, until the children took the wind up flashlight and found their way back to their beds. I waited. Finally, sensing abandonment, Pepe casually moseyed out and away. Defeated. I sort of felt bad, until. . . .

Later that night Pepe came back to the house. I think he is courting one of the puffy, black cats. Unfortunately, they are no more receptive than Penelope Pussycat and attack the intruder who is seeking to share a romantic meal. The ferocious protector of cats, The Yellow Dog, comes to the rescue. And we are treated to a whiff of Eau de Pepe le Pew for the seventh night in a row.


ZBTzahBTzoo said...

Eau de NO!

Did you can any tomato juice? (Don't use it! Go get a case of Campbell's, on sale!)

That was so much fun to read, but I feel mildly guilty for laughing at your expense.

I had no idea how much noise and disruption a skunk would tolerate without defending itself. We were trained to hush up, turn on a dime, and get the heck away as quickly as possible! You country folk are BRAVE!

Kate in NJ said...

We can smell when they have been hit by a car around here, but rarely see one "in person"....sorry to hear you
did see one.

mull-berry said...

Better than TV!!! LOL

Susan said...

Thank you - I couldn't sleep and got up early... I am afraid my laughing will wake the entire family.

Wisteria said...

Amazingly enough (seeing as everyone is so scared of being sprayed), skunks seem to be slow to spray. I have seen The Yellow Dog chase one around the orchard without being scented, though he has had his share of perfumed moments. I was amazed, but after the other night, I won't be so fearful. I probably could have scooped it into a box and removed it. Unfortunately, adrenaline sometimes mires thinking.

If needed, rest assured Z, I won't use my tomato sauce.

Susan and mull-berry, I'm glad I could provide a few laughs.

Melora said...

I would have been in the cowards group. Does he really have a romantic interest in cats, or is it just the cat food he fancies?