Skunk at Midnight – Alona Kaeding Stockman


  by Alona Kaeding  Stockman

    I missed a true photo opportunity at about midnight. Our little Sissy has been barking at the chicken pen every evening for nearly a week and wouldn’t stop barking, wouldn’t come when called; making me go after her time after time. A few hours ago, I was irritated with her for doing the same thing again. I realized there was most likely “something” out there, but there had been no dead chickens so must not be too serious or too big and upon me coming after her and threatening her; Sissy eventually returned to me.

   Walking toward the sound of Sissy’s bark, I walked out to the chicken pen, considering whether or not spanking a little doggie would be helpful, when I saw something very dark and moving around in the chicken pen, and it wasn’t Sissy. I walked closer, and faintly spotted a small amount of white, too. OH, phooey. That’s a skunk! Buzz saw it too and did one small, “Woof” and smartly turned back toward the house. (Buzz has had experience with a skunk.) Phew! The skunk sprayed! Oh, shoot.

   I fussed at Sissy, just on principle, and she ran back toward the house. I quickly went to our back door and found that Bob had just locked it. He’s hard of hearing, so I pounded on the inside back door hard and repeatedly. He called to me that he was coming in about the same tone that he would have called out to the big, bad wolf.

   When he opened the inside door, I shooed the doggies inside as I’m explaining about there being a skunk inside the chicken pen to Bob. I was out of shells for my gun so I expected him to get a gun and come quickly. He had on long underwear bottoms, a t-shirt and was sock footed. I won’t repeat his part of our conversation at that point and onward. He put a shell into a shotgun, slipped on some shoes that he hasn’t REALLY put ON in years. He just walks on the folded down heels and came outside, kind of sliding them along. I bravely led him to the chicken pen explaining that, “If he was that slow, the animal would be GONE!”

   He wanted me to go back to the house and get his flashlight. The flashlight had a faint glow if I shook it just right. Bob waited (for the critter to go away?). I ran back to the house to get another flashlight. The second flashlight was only a shy glow but it had to be good enough. Bob took the light, surveyed the outdoor pen and declared that the animal was gone but had definitely left its scent – GEE! I took the flashlight and stuck my head into the hog-house-now- used-for-a-chicken-house, and saw the skunk inside with the chickens. Won’t quote Bob here either.  I pointed to where it was, but he said, “It had moved somewhere else when I looked.” I stuck my head and upper body inside, and looked around again and spotted a black tail. The skunk had squeezed between a corner piece and siding except for its tail, which it left lying in plain sight. I was acting like an usher, standing to one side and silently inviting Bob to take his proper place with the gun. I noticed that he had put a helmet liner on his head. He wasn’t sure how much damage a shotgun might do to the building at close range. He crouched low and as he managed to get partly inside the old hog house, trying to hold the flashlight and the shotgun. I was imparting knowledge of the type and that if he could only get a shot at a tail there wouldn’t be any vital damage to the critter. By this time though, Bob is committed to shooting something quickly . . . I kept a little distance.

   Bob might have been getting a little chilled too. I managed to hold my ears anticipating the noise and of course our big dog has his head wedged between my knees; scared of guns. Bob shot again. Well of course shooting the tail really didn’t make the animal die, so he felt he had to shoot again. He did. I questioned him about whether the skunk COULD be dead and if he hadn’t gotten a good shot at it?  The smell was terrible and strong breathtaking and awful. Bob assured me that the skunk was now dead. He got a pair of yellow gloves from the back porch and went back out there as I had told him the chickens could surely not breathe if he left that skunk in there overnight with them in that small space and closed them back up. I waited at the back porch. I hadn’t seen what he did with the skunk so I asked him. He said that, “He threw it out into the pasture.”  I reminded him that Sissy would roll in anything smelly and she would have to go outside before tomorrow.

   Bob had removed his yellow gloves. He stood there looking at me like I had just pulled his eye tooth. No quotes possible here either. He put the gloves back on and headed back to the pasture to retrieve the skunk. I suggested that he get an old paper feed sack to lay it on in his truck bed. That qualified for another of his “looks,” as he changed directions and headed out toward the big shed to get a paper sack. Bob soon came back onto the porch telling me that when he went to pick up the skunk it wasn’t dead so he had to kill it with a brick. I didn’t ask about building damage. Some things CAN wait.

   Well, he came inside after midnight, and about that time, my brain is telling me, “Why, oh why did I not have a camera ready to get a picture of BOB going on his midnight hunt?” I’m still asking, “Why?”

PS: Bob’s revenge? I still occasionally smell a faint scent of skunk. I can’t really tell where it’s coming from on ME but I’m suspecting my hair? Is tomato juice or peroxide the best to use?

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