Over the holidays I had the opportunity to briefly act as some kind of malevolent overlord. During my time occupying the demographic of a 8-12 male, I was ridiculed for my ravenous interest in books and unfortunate stutter, because lets be honest here, young children have the monopoly on cruelty. So this new situation would obviously seem like a nice turn of events. Turning the proverbial tables, I could be the bully for once. Except it wasn't uplifting. It was terrible. I had some weak link to power, and it petrified me. I was starring into darkness, and it reminded me how mortal we all are.
I caught a raccoon.
Everyone can see the signs. Torn up grass, disheveled lawn, and a drop in the insect population, these are the bane of every gardener's existence. Oh, the smell is also quite foul. So you set a trap. Yet, the raccoon is crafty, never simply lured by the scent of a turkey leg. Instead, the infamous trickster takes great pleasure in outwitting his human opponents by using his skillful touch to move the food past the lever of doom.
The humans regroup, formulate strategies, and then try again the following night. This time making plans, variations of plans, plans of plans. The morning is met with failure. Again, outwitted by an animal that never completed an SAT, went to college, or landed a stereotypical successful job.
On the third day, someone had the ingenious idea of of making a trail of food leading into the trap. It proved successful. We caught the bastard. He was ours.
The foul beast could chew the bars all night for all I cared. We had caught him. We were superor.
The morning came.
Strolling into the backyard, we were confident, basking in out apparent success, our hubris knew no bounds. Then the little guy looked at us. His eyes, consumed in feelings of despair and fear. Scared to die. In that instant I personified the critter. His name was Billy, his best friend was named Steve, and by being captured he would miss Christmas Day, and by product of association the exchange of gifts with the animal league of secret Santa. The conversations began of how we were going to transport the little guy.
We tried trash bags, dollies, and bicycles, all ineffective. Finally we put a bag over the cage, loaded it into our car, and drove. Twisting and turning as we head up to the coast of California to what the Internet claimed to be a natural habitat. The cage stunk of food, dead fish, and other odors associated with a wild animal. I didn't mind. We were saving this animal from the fears it had already assumed. Sitting in the back of our car, Billy feared death just as much as he feared life.
Reaching a suitably rural environment, my mother and I opened the cage, and the raccoon ran into the wild. However, during his hustle back into the wilderness, Billy climbed a tree and looked back at us. In my mind this was his way of saying thank you. In reality, Billy was probably cursing us out for now forcing him to get a present for the cow. That bitch.