August 15, 2005

Terror In Point Richmond
By Fred H. Arm
RodneyAA.JPG Many of you think that nothing much of anything happens in Point Richmond. Largely, that is true. However, the last two weeks has been an extraordinary journey that is something that you country boys and girls would probably snicker about.

It all began some weeks when I discovered an invading and troublesome raccoon that would enter my house to scavenge for food. He would enter through the cat door from my back yard to come into the kitchen and wreak holy havoc and destruction. Every night, about 9:45 pm, he would enter the kitchen and drag the large pail of cat food to the cat door to try to run away with it, he found a smaller container of cat food and hauled it out in the yard and proceeded to surgically invade the food by gnawing a hole through the side. He would open and throw things from the cabinet shelves, leave filthy footprints across my floor after bathing in the cat’s drinking water, and his ominous presence during the night would terrorize my cats.

I knew I had to do something about it, so I ordered a raccoon trap online with the idea of evicting his nasty ass to another area of town. Finally, the trap arrived all the way from Georgia. I baited the trap with cat food. Later that night, I heard this loud ruckus in the back yard. The trap had apparently sprung and the cage was being bounced around the yard. I cautiously peeked outside and saw that the raccoon had taken the trap and dumped it upside down, thus spilling out the food and then proceeding to enjoy his nightly snack.

I could not simply let this creature outwit me. The next night, I lashed down the trap with bungee cord against the stairway. I again baited the trap and waited. At last, the telltale sound of the trap clanging shut echoed into the house. I joyfully went outside and guess what I first captured? No, not a raccoon, but instead a possum. I cautiously decided to grant him his freedom by opening the trap. Then I re-baited the trap.
Later that night I finally captured the bugger. I had heard many tales of raccoons destroying the trap, having rabies, biting people, killing cats and the like. It was a very stressful experience. I swiftly and gingerly carried him in the trap, all the while he was scratching and clawing to get out. I transported him in my car about five miles north near the landfill, rationalizing that he would now have gourmet delights that were abandoned by hundreds of Richmond citizens totally at his disposal. Still, I was very anxious and excited, yet very pleased with myself.

Surprisingly, the following night, Rocky seems to have made his way back home and once more destroyed the kitchen. The next time I reasoned, I would take him across the bay far enough away so he would never return. My anxiety began building. For the next couple of days, I suffered through two unsuccessful nights attempting to trap him. Apparently, he would simply stretch and reach over the activator plate and steal the bait in the trap without activating the trap door. I finally demurred to my masculine ego and called the trap dealer for advice. I was given a tip to take a two by four and set it on end, which he would then have to reach over, thus knocking it down and springing the trap.

All day long, I could not get the raccoon out of my mind. That night I again breathlessly re-baited the trap. Finally, at about 9:15 pm, I heard the loud spring of the trap closing once more. As you might imagine, I was very thrilled hearing that my trap had at last sprung. I ran outside with my flashlight breathless with anticipation that I had finally snared that wily nemesis of mine, Rocky the Raccoon. I shined my light on him and I saw the hulky shadow busily still eating from the tray; however, the shape seemed much too small for my formidable Raccoon. Upon closer examination, the beast turned around in the revealing glare of my flashlight and lo and behold, I had instead snared Sidney the Skunk! Oh my God, what do I do now? I frantically called the animal shelter and found they were closed, although the recording machine referred me to the sheriff in the event of emergencies. Logically this must certainly be an emergency, since I would not know how to release Sidney without first encountering a hefty squirt of skunk perfume. What a dilemma. Skunk.jpg
The animal control guy at long last arrived and said that since skunks were such a high rabies risk, he would have to shoot him. What could I do? He retrieved his rifle from his truck and quickly shot Sidney dead in the cage. He then removed the body and hauled it down to his truck. Adding insult to injury, I had to pay $30.00 for that little inconvenience. I felt very remorseful about causing the death of the skunk. Whew! Film at 11:00

I called my wife in Canada and she was very upset with me for disturbing nature, for causing the skunk's death, that I was just a city boy and should never have undertaken such a formidable task. Now I felt both anxious and guilty for the skunk's death. I had also received a royal ass chewing for attempting this eviction debacle in the first instance.

Later that evening as I lied down on my bed, I slowly mulled the whole incident over in my mind. I could rationalize some anxiety about trapping the raccoon since I was just a novice. Even though I was instructed by my wife not to proceed further, I just could not simply just give up.
So once more late Saturday night I prepared the next ambush. Within one hour, I finally captured him, now for the second time. I quickly grabbed the trap, now wearing heavy leather gloves for protection, and transported him across the bridge to the wild hills around San Rafael. I felt good about myself even though I was terrified all during the ride over bridge. I fantasized that the raccoon might escape inside the car, have rabies and bite me, that he would decimate the inside of my car, or worse in my panic cause a car wreck. Finally, when I ultimately turned him loose, the anxiety abated and I quickly allowed myself to relax and recover.

I drove home significantly relieved, however I have yet to tell my wife Katie about the final deportation adventure, still fearing more judgment and retribution when she returns home. In any event, Rocky now hopefully lives in an upscale neighborhood in Marin County probably dining on Beluga caviar and truffles, living the good life.

Posted by fredarm at 05:43 PM