Saturday, May 10, 2008

Luke and the local fauna

The first time Luke caught a mouse was when my parents were visiting. We were all sitting in the living room, and Luke came bounding into the front hall with a new toy. Except the new toy was a mouse which had not fully survived the experience of being turned into a toy. We didn’t even know yet that we had mice in the house, though the next few months were quite the adventure for us, for Luke, and for the mice. Luke was better than glue traps, though not as efficient (or clean) as the RatZapper.

Luke also caught at least one blackbird. He trotted into the house with it, saw us, realized that we weren’t going to let him keep it (you could see the thought bubble), and went right back outside in a hurry. He dropped the bird in one far corner of the back yard, ran over to another corner of the back yard, and stood there pretending that he had no idea what we were looking for. That was almost as classic as the time that he found the steaks unguarded in the kitchen, snagged one, and went out to the back deck to eat it. Except that we were already sitting on the back deck.

And then there was the morning of the oppossum, which I think of as a Luke story even though it isn’t. Lisa got up to go to church one Sunday morning, went to the top of the stairs, looked down to the front hall, and exclaimed “Oh, my God!” An enormous possum was chilling out blocking the front door, around where Luke would normally be. We carefully went downstairs (towards the possum, which thankfully was playing, well, possum), grabbed a phone and a couple of other things, and found Luke happily chasing squirrels in the back yard. No indication that he realized his home had been usurped by a far larger rodent. I took Luke around the side of the house and put him in the car, out of harm’s way, while Lisa called the police to see if they could offer any assistance. They sent over an officer, and we took him around through the back door to see our possum. He then spent several minutes talking to dispatch, explaining repeatedly “No, it’s inside their house!” He told dispatch to send over a firefighter with a noose-on-a-stick or net or other animal control device, and shortly a full ladder truck arrived, sirens and lights and much excitement. Dispatch hadn’t bothered to tell the fire department why they were coming to our house. By this point Lisa, the cop, a neighbor, me, and several firefighters are all taking turns peering in at the possum from the back door, and the possum is still quietly blocking the front door. One of the firefighters saved the day by grabbing a 45-gallon trash barrel from our driveway, scooping up the possum (which immediately changed from a funny-looking stuffed animal into a possessed ball of rage), and carting it down to the river. Lisa made it to church on time, while Luke and I took a nice long walk not by the river.

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