June 8th, 2006

Ew! Gross!

Renegades of Skunk

My uncle opened the garage door upon pulling into the driveway, and the door had already risen past the necessary threshold before he noticed the small black-and-white ball of fur sitting in wait right in front of it. As we watched in horror, the skunk dashed inside and hid underneath the Mercedes.

We approached with caution, not wanting to scare it into resorting to biological warfare. It was hiding next to the front right tire. My uncle stamped on the floor and yelled, and I barked at it, hoping this particular skunk had the brain of a turnip. It was a small bugger, not even a foot long, and it quickly slipped away toward the entrance to the house. It knew where shelter was.

I rang the doorbell in the front and warned everyone not to open the door to the garage. I grabbed the keys to the Mercedes and tossed them to my uncle, who got the vehicle out of the garage, out of danger. The skunk persisted in its attempt to gain access to the house, perched on the step to the door.

I was given a long stake and told to play Animal Control. My first move was to close the garage door, leaving only enough room for our visitor to scurry away, enough room so that the door could close before it regrouped and planned another attack.

My second move was to poke the skunk with the blunt end of the stake and yell profanities at it. This went on for several minutes, during which we built up a rapport. At this point in the story, I believe he deserves a name, and that name shall be Jacques Preppernau, cousin to Pepe Le Pew.

Now, I had to be careful with Jacques, as I didn't want him to stink up the place. Although, deep down in the masochistic recesses of my lack of human experience, I was curious to discover what the famed odor smelled like. I banged the wood on the step, signaling to him that he was unwelcome. He did not seem to care.

I tried nudging him off the step, but my timidity combined with his clawed grip made that particular gambit ineffectual.

Then, seeing some small boxes lying around, I seized upon a brilliant plan. I slid the stake through the two holes for handgrips, and, with the open end on the bottom, I now had a makeshift capture device. I maneuvered the box above Jacques and tried to ensnare him. The device was clearly imperfect because of the box flaps hanging out and keeping the box from properly making contact with the ground, but I did manage to get Jacques off the step. He was not trapped in the box, however, and before I could say, "Get in the box!" more than twice, he had already scrambled onto the step again. Now he was clawing the corner, a tactically advantageous place to be when your adversary is coming at you with a cumbersome box.

The box was not staying on the stake anyway, so I returned to my initial poking. He had become more and more feisty and elusive, however. And suddenly I heard groans and moans from inside, seconds before I caught whiff of the stench myself.

Here, here was the infamous Eau de Skunk! I was disappointed, to be honest. It was rather dull, reminiscent of rotten eggs but not particularly memorable otherwise. I didn't even find it that nauseous. The infamy, I believe, is derived from the fact that the scent is lingering, like melted lead or boiling oil.

It took a couple minutes of the same-old, same-old before it occurred to me that Jacques Preppernau had shown his hand and was now defenseless. The game was up, Jacques. There were no more bullets left in that gun. Did I think Jacques was gonna fall for that old trick? It wasn't a trick: one plus ew plus ew plus none.

Taking the blunt end of the stake (I threatened him with Mr. Pointy, but he called my bluff), I pushed him off the step, and once I got him on the floor, I pushed him along like a hockey puck. The poor guy didn't even try to run, not even when I accidentally turned him on his side. He was resigned to his fate.

I shoved Jacques outside and hit the garage door opener. My brilliant plan failed in execution, as the door...began to open, since its last trajectory had been a closing one. I frantically stopped it and hit the button again in order to close the door before the skunk made another play, but Mr. Preppernau had ceded the win to me today.

He had achieved a small victory, however, in leaving his mark upon the garage, most of the downstairs area, and me. Pine-Sol could only mask the scent for so long. Was ours a Pyrrhic victory after all?

As they say in Bel Air: smell ya later.