Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trapper Ron and the Unwanted Possum

To readers who were upset with me trapping squirrels, splitting up their families, and relocating them, let me spell out some details. The little fur balls are not an endangered species nor are they protected by a hunting season. They gnawing destructive rodents damage trees and homes. The final cost to repair the damage to my home was over $500. No matter how cute they look, squirrels are vermin.

But I diverge from this week's tale of my close encounters with wild things. 

I set my live animal trap on the back deck which was about twelve feet off the ground and below the area where the beasts damaged the roof overhang. On average I caught 3 to 5 vermin a week while setting them loose in a number of wooded areas five miles or more from my house.  I always wondered if they would find their way.  Some day I'd drive past a squirrel on the roadside with it's thumb out, hitching a ride back.

About three months into my trapping, my wife called me at work. "You caught something in the trap and it's not a squirrel."

My brain screamed, please, please, don't be a skunk. "What is it?"

She hesitated and replied, "I don't know. It has a pointy snoot, hisses, bares it teeth and has a long skinny tail. The thing fills the entire trap."

Hmmm? A very big rat. No, it was an opossum. What perturbed me was why something like that would climb up twelve feet of stairs, coming up onto our deck. Possums stayed clear of people, unless it had...rabies. 

I told my wife to call the police or animal control and see what they say. She called me back at work. "The police won't come out unless it had bitten someone. Animal control won't come out unless its a cat or dog. Nothing wild."

The vision of a Bengal tiger strolling down the center of our street entered my thought and no one will come out. Not my job, man!

"Let's try this. Call the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. They'll know what to do."

My wife called me back about a half hour later.  "They didn't care about an animal with rabies.  But they did want to know if you had a license to trap in the state." Of course, not! Good news was she gave them all the necessary information and ten days later, I got a certificate in the mail licensing me to trap squirrels. Soon  after I became affectionately known at work as Trapper Ron.

With no one caring about the unhappy, possibly sick, possum, I drove him out to heavily forested area, popped the cage door open and waved my hands. "Go and tell your friends no one cares about you."

He waddled off, paused and looked back. I knew the look in his eyes.

"You loose, sucker!"

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Squirrel from Hell

Could one little squirrel frighten a big guy! You betcha!

We purchased a house many years ago on a heavily wooded lot. Along with the beauty of living in a forest came squirrels. Within the first year of living in the new house, the squirrel population managed to gnaw a hole in the soffit and make the attic their playground. Around 5 am every morning they'd run across the rafters and sound like a herd of elephants stampeding through the bedroom. Patching their holes did little good as the tiny creatures would chew their way back in again. Finally I said, "Enough!"

Wanting to stop them in the most humane way, I borrowed a live animal trap from a friend.  The cage had a single opening on one end and a food tray on the other. When an animal disturbed the tray, the door sprung shut. The plan was to catch the little beasts and move them far away where they could attack someone else's house. The plan worked well and I delivered the furry monsters to nearby woods, small patches of forest along the roadside and open fields where they could play with other squirrels.

One evening I caught a rather energetic fur ball who banged around inside and chewed frantically at the cage bars. Having to be somewhere later that evening, I decided to make a quick trip to our church parking lot that had a heavily wooded lot next door. I arrived, sprung open the door of the cage and banged it on the pavement to make him drop out. Only problem was he wouldn't leave. The harder I banged, the harder he hung on, refusing to be evicted. Soon people started showing up for the meetings at church. After no success, I popped the cage back in the trunk and called the wife on my cell phone.

"He won't leave," I explained.

"What do you mean, he won't leave? Just bang it harder on the ground. He'll fall out," she said.

"No, he won't.  And people are coming to the church and watching me.  Probably think I am some whack job."

After more discussion, I decided to take  the caged beast to the middle school which would be empty this time of the evening. They too had a lot of trees.  Once there in the quiet of the night, I could work at setting him free.

Arriving at the school parking lot, I tried again. More aggressive this time, I banged and shook the cage. I coaxed, pleaded and screamed at the fur ball who hung with a fervor to never leave. Finally he fell out, crouching on the asphalt, panting. I popped the cage back in the trunk and called the wife again.

"He's out of the cage finally."

"What's he doing?" she asked.

"Just staring at me." Then I saw it. A glimmer in his eyes. Something evil.

He ran straight at me.

"Oh, crap!" I cried on the phone, only it wasn't "crap" what I really said. "He's after me."

The monster from hell chased me around the car, leaving me no time to open a door and escape inside.

"He's only a little animal," my wife said.

"With very sharp teeth," I  shouted back.

"What does he want?" she asked.

"To kill me." 

On the second pass around the car, I managed to open the door. Leaping inside, I slammed it shut.

The devil animal stopped and glared at me.  He took shallows breaths. His eyes dared me to come back out.

I turned the car around and peeled out of the parking lot. In the rearview mirror I saw the little brown fur ball in the parking lot, watching me leave.

I knew he'd planned something bad for me. He'd be waiting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Not afraind of "Fear The Walking Dead"

Okay, I probably expected a lot. I am a die hard "The Walking Dead" fan.  I have a t-shirt with the logo "Fight or Die," a ball cap with "Fight the Dead, Fear the Living," and "The Walking Dead" PJ bottoms. Yeah, I'm grown up.

**Spoiler alert**
Don't read on if you have not seen but plan to see the pilot of FTWD

I watched the pilot last night and was not impressed. It was a basic horror movie plot. No surprises. Nothing unexpected. Just same old-same old.

The basic plot goes like this: the least credible person in the plot witnesses something bad and supernatural. No one believes him. Even after the obvious, no one buys into the the bad thing. Finally when everyone is confronted by the bad thing,  they finally believe.

FTWD goes like this: doper kid witnesses zombie chowing down on a body in an old church. Of course, no one  believes him, including police, mom and mom's boyfriend.  Boyfriend goes to the church. No zombies, but blood covered walls and puddles of blood on floors.  He admits something bad happened, but gallons of blood does warrant calling police, I guess. Only at end when confronted by a zombie do they believe.

Now does this mean I won't watch. Not at all.  Let's see what the next few episodes bring.

Here are first three minutes of the pilot.