It’s my birthday and I’m going to talk about critters.
We’ve got critters in our yard and I’m on a mission to keep them out.
A skunk was chilling underneath our deck. Linky knew something was up ’cause of those good old canine instincts.
One evening, he went to our porch door to tell me he wants to nap on the deck. Instead, he ran full speed to the back corner. I saw something run across and jump behind some cacti. Linky ran around in hot pursuit. He was barking like crazy, unsure of what to do. I was calling him back because I’d just given him a bath and didn’t want him to get sprayed. Plus, I didn’t want Linky to become a murderer. It’s bad enough he lost his balls before he was able to “lay with a bitch.” Maybe I should’ve given him a skunk kill because of his lack of balls, but he sleeps in my bed and I’d never sleep again if I witnessed his animal kill instinct.
I grabbed Linky by the collar and put him inside. He’d only been sprayed minimally (which lasts like weeeekkkkksssss). I came back out and threw a lemon peel at the skunk. That’s supposed to be unpleasant. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t messing around. He quickly walked around the perimeter of the yard and slid under the gate to God only knows where.
I’d seen this skunk two other times before this incident. He gives zero fucks. He glances at me and keeps going. He’s not scared. He’s nonplussed. This needs to change because giving Lincoln a bath is less pleasant than running a marathon.
I threw on a gross t-shirt, sweatpants, a Yankee hat (for domination) and old sunglasses because this is what one wears when they’re seriously huntin’ critters (I learned things from Swamp People). I blocked some of the holes in the yard, including the hole from which he came. I went to the hardware store and asked for an effective solution. The man laughed at my outfit and handed me Critter Ritter. Supposedly the smell is repulsive to critters (it’s not. At least not my resilient creatures.)
The next night, the skunk seemed to be gone. A possum appeared. He looks like a horror movie on four legs. I went onto the deck and he ran the same escape route of the skunk. These guys know their way around. This. Will. Change.
I blocked the holes. I patrolled at night. I scanned the yard with my mini-flashlight. The warden ain’t letting anyone in.
A few days later, I heard some leaves rustling outside my window and I saw my skunk in the planters in the driveway. I flashed my light at him through the window. He glared back. He moved over and continued his quest. I followed him with my light. Finally, he sighed and retreated to the garage that serves as a storage unit. I knew what I had to do. The next day, I blocked the openings left by the curved edges and did it with gusto.
On another evening, I saw the possum in a tree. I flashed my light. He stopped. He stared and turned his head. I said, “Listen, possum, I hear you’re the best critter option. But really, I don’t want you here. I’ll move my light if you never come back, kay?” He seemed to agree. But he’s a possum, so he was probably playing me.
There is part of me that says, “Well this is the critters’ land. Their world is outside.” And then there’s the other part of me that wants Linky to be safe and for us to be able to use the yard without worrying about getting sprayed or clawed or scared by horror movie hissing faces.
Meanwhile, a woman who lives a few streets over told me a story. A coyote jumped her five-foot fence a few in the middle of the day and tried to run off with her Maltese. I met the Maltese a week later and she looked like one of those people in a horror movie who’s faces are frozen in permanent fear.
I live in the middle of Los Angeles, which is a critter zoo. I just thought it was exclusive to party animals who just pee on things after leaving bars in the middle of the night.
Not in my backyard.
UPDATE: Since I originally wrote this post, I think the skunk is now dead (not by me). I think a coyote snatched him from our yard. I heard a scuffle and then smelled a big ole skunk bomb and there’s been no trace of him for three weeks. For a video of my feelings about this place, go here.